Russell Coutts Grabs Top Honors - SailNet Community
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Russell Coutts Grabs Top Honors

In the heat of the action, Chris Dickson chases Russell Coutts off the starting line.
The Colorcraft Gold Cup in Bermuda had a big final day, with semifinals and finals all held on Sunday due to Saturday's inclement weather. New Zealander Russell Coutts won the event for an unprecedented sixth time, defeating fellow Kiwi Chris Dickson 3-0 in the finals.

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.

Race Three saw conditions steady out and the racing really get going. Dickson showed Spithill that he really knew how to start, and very quickly ended their best-of-five series at 3-1.

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
luffing us.

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:
1. Russell Coutts (Switzerland) - $20,000
2. Chris Dickson (USA.) - $12,000
3. Ed Baird (USA.) - $7,000
4. James Spithill (Australia) - $5,800
5. Peter Gilmour (Australia) - $4,500
6. Murray Jones (Switzerland) - $4,100
7. Magnus Holmberg (Sweden) - $3,475 (tie)
7. Peter Holmberg (US Virgin Islands) - $3,475 (tie)

Swedish Match Grand Prix Tour 2000 (not including the Colorcraft prize money):
1. Bertrand Pace (France) $50,000
2. Dean Barker (New Zealand) $35,000
3. Magnus Holmberg (Sweden) $20,000
4. Peter Gilmour (Australia) $15,000
5. Sten Mohr (Denmark) $11,000
6. Peter Holmberg (US Virgin Islands) $8,000
7. Luc Pillot (France) $6,000
8. Ed Baird (USA) $5,000

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