When the Quarter-Final Round of the 68th Argo Group Gold Cup gets underway Friday morning the eight teams will bring an array of experience to the storied regatta.
Crews led by Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) and Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) all qualified for the Quarter-Finals on Wednesday by placing in the top four of the Round Robin stage.
They’re joined by Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Lucy Macgregor (GBR), Ettore Botticini (ITA) and Charlie Lalumiere (USA). The four skippers led their crews to the next round after placing in the top four, respectively, of the Repechage Round.
The Quarter-Final pairings pit Canfield versus Botticini, Berntsson against Lalumiere, Aschenbrenner against Macgregor and Dackhammar versus Mirsky. The winner of each match will be the first crew to score three points.
The octet represents a mix of experience and youth. Botticini (22) is the youngest skipper in the fleet and Berntsson (47) the oldest. Mirsky and Macgregor are the reigning Open and Women’s match racing world champions, respectively. Botticini, Dackhammar and Lalumiere each are competing in their first Gold Cup, while Aschenbrenner is in his second Gold Cup. Berntsson, Canfield and Mirsky have four Gold Cup titles to their credit, and Berntsson and Canfield have nine top four finishes in the past 10 years among them.
Mirsky, the champion in 2011, won the Repechage Round with a 5-1 record. Mirsky said racing in the Repechage Round was cut throat, but since he hasn’t raced monohulls in seven years he was happy to have the extra practice.
Mirsky’s only loss in the Repechage was to Lalumiere in Flight 2. Sailing in his first Gold Cup, Lalumiere has quickly learned the vagaries of Hamilton Harbour.
Macgregor finished second in the Round Robin after winning a three-way tiebreak with Botticini and Lalumiere. The two-time women’s match racing world champion said that qualifying for the quarterfinals was always the goal. Echoing a sentiment from all the skippers, she said that she’s been shifting on the fly from covering tactics to sailing to the breeze.
Botticini qualified by winning his final two matches, which raised his record to 3-3. He also spoke of the shifty conditions and likened them to Lake Ledro in Italy where the Youth Match Racing World Championship will be held in July. He finished second in the same regatta last year and feels the Gold Cup is good preparation for this year.
ARGO GROUP GOLD CUP REPECHAGE ROUND FINAL STANDINGS
1. Torvar Mirsky (Perth, Western Australia) – 5-1 Crew: Lachy Gilmour (tactics), Cameron Seagreen (trimmer), Graeme Spence (bow) 2. Lucy Macgregor (Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom) – 3-3 Crew: Bethan Cardin, Hannah Diamond, Annie Lush, Kate MacGregor 3. Ettore Botticini (Porto Santo Stefano, Italy) – 3-3 Crew: Simone Busonero, Andrea Fornaro, Lorenzo Gennari 4. Charlie Lalumiere (New York, NY, USA) – 3-3 Crew: Scott Ewing, Bleddon Mon, Ian Storck 5. Sam Gilmour (Perth, Western Australia) – 3-3 Crew: Adam Negri, Keith Swinton, Pat Voss 6. Chris Poole (Falmouth, Maine, USA) – 2-4 Crew: Brian McMarton, Trent Turigliatto, Ryan Zupon 7. Marek Stanczyk (Gizycko, Poland) – 2-4 Crew: Stefaniuk Jedrzej, Jakob Pawluk, Michal Szmul
ARGO GROUP GOLD CUP QUARTERFINAL PAIRINGS
Match 1: Nicklas Dackhammar vs. Torvar Mirsky Match 2: Joachim Aschenbrenner vs. Lucy Macgregor Match 3: Johnie Berntsson vs. Charlie Lalumiere Match 4: Taylor Canfield vs. Ettore Botticini