The day started out with semifinal matches as Dickson went against James Spithill, and Coutts took on me and my team. For the first four hours it seemed like we might not get much racing in. A cold front was passing through slowly and the race committee was challenged with 180-degree wind shifts, driving rain, and very light air. By one 1:00 p.m., we had only accomplished two races for each pair, and both groups were deadlocked wth 1-1 scores.
The steadier 8 to12 knot breeze was a lot more fun to sail in, but our enjoyment was dampened when Coutts defeated us 3-1 as well. In our last race, we sailed the first lap behind, but managed to even things out by the last windward mark. As we approached the two-boatlength zone, we had an inside overlap, but we were outside the zone on the right-hand side, with Coutts to leeward and
We slowly rolled him and turned down to the mark. Coutts tried to follow us, then turned inside (with no rights) at the mark. We were ready to fend off when I stopped turning to avoid a collision in the borrowed boats. Coutts just eked through the gap and we asked the umpires to penalize him.
In what many spectators felt was a controversial call, the umps said there was no foul and green-flagged the incident. Coutts then defended his new lead all the way to the finish.
The finals were actually anticlimactic after the action of the semis. Coutts led at every mark and defeated Dickson 3-0. In the petit final, we were able to take Spithill's team, 3-1 to finish third.
So concludes the toughest Gold Cup in history. In fact the buzz around the press room was that there had never been a tougher field in any match race event. It seems the match-racing circuit has become the place to be for the best pros, and Coutts' team has once again shown that they are the best of even this elite field. See you on the water!
Show Me the Money
Russell Coutts and his talented team walked away with the bulk of the $75,000 prize money at stake in Bermuda. What follows is a breakdown of the prize money distribution from that season-ending event, as well as the additional $165,000 distributed for combined points from the eight events on the Swedish Match Grand Prix Tour:
Colorcraft Gold Cup Overall:
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