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Patrick Cooper retains Bermuda International Invitational title

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The International One Design racing fleet in action during this week’s Bermuda International Invitational Race Week regatta in the Great Sound (Photograph supplied)

Patrick Cooper and his crew completed an impressive hat-trick after lifting the Vrengen Gold Cup at the 72nd Bermuda International Invitational Race Week regatta in the Great Sound on Thursday.

The local team held a five-point advantage at the top of the standings heading into the final two races and crossed the line second in both races on the final day to maintain their vice-like grip on the trophy.

“We were very happy with how we were going and all round it was a good day for us,” team tactician and former helmsman Martin Siese told The Royal Gazette.

“The boat was good and crew work was good. Fortunately for us we got two seconds and had a big enough lead overall to finish two points ahead of Kelsey, who sailed really well. He won the start on both races and sailed from the front to control both races the whole time.

“We had a little bit of work to do and started okay, but we were always around third or fourth and managed to get up to second for both races, which allowed us to win the overall.”

Patrick Cooper (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Cooper’s team flirted with disaster after damaging their rigging in the day’s first race but quickly shrugged off the setback to remain at the front of the pack and keep their title hopes alive.

“We had a block blow out on the mainsheet halfway through the race and had to take some remedial action,” Siese added.

“The crew work from Bill and Andrew was just fantastic that we managed to do an on-the-spot repair and get going to hold on to that second place and that could have been bad news for us. We got on top of it quickly, made a repair, kept sailing and held on to second.

“It was a dicey situation and it was a little tricky, but fortunately we had just enough of a gap on the third-place boat.”

Patrick Cooper and crew in action in the Great Sound on Thursday (Photograph supplied)

Cooper finished two points clear of compatriot Kelsey Durham in the overall series.

The experienced helmsman’s team won the ‘A’ series earlier in the week but were denied the sweep after being pipped by Durham for ‘B’ series honours by a solitary point.

Durham and crew Michael Richold, Roger Beach, Ahzai Smith and Heath Foggo completed an impressive treble of their own after winning the last three races of the ‘B’ series, including back-to-back victories in the final two on Thursday.

“It was a good last two days and crew work was fantastic given the strong breeze,” Durham, 30, said.

“This is a good practice event for the worlds [International One Design World Championship] in June in Norway.

“I am happy, the crew is happy and we just need to fine tune some things as a team together for the worlds.”

Rounding off the podium finishers in third was multiple regatta winner Giles Peckham, whose team finished first of the overseas teams at this year’s regatta.

“We had a lot of fun this week and it’s a great event run by wonderful people in a beautiful location,” said Peckham, who represented the Cowes Daring fleet.

“We are very pleased to be on the podium for the whole week but hats off to the local guys for showing us how it should be done.

“We thought we might qualify for the sustainability prize as we sailed here to do the regatta from the UK via the Caribbean and will be sailing back to the UK over the next few weeks.”

The American team led by joint helmsmen Courtney Jenkins and Tom Price, finished fourth and Swedish helmsman Bjorn Wahlstrom and his crew fifth to round off the top-five teams among the 12-boat fleet.

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Published May 09, 2024 at 4:47 pm (Updated May 09, 2024 at 8:04 pm)

Patrick Cooper retains Bermuda International Invitational title

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