by Talbot Wilson
Hamilton BERMUDA, October 23, 2014 - Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One, top seed in Group 2, is the first skipper to qualify for the Quarter Finals in the 2014 Argo Group Cup. Canfield lost his first match in Day 1 racing against Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing. Since then the #2 skipper on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour has sailed to seven straight points. He will sail Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets in the final flight Friday.
Second to qualify is Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar, top seed in Group 1. By press deadline he reached a score of 7.5 points with 8 wins, but a half point deduction for the collision on Wednesday. The first pick for the Quarter Final automatically goes to the top qualifier from Group 1. Williams could face a challenge from Hansen when they meet in the final flight of Group 1 on Friday.
Canfield speculated on Ian Williams' choice if Williams continues to lead and tops Group 1. "I think Williams will pick me," he said. "It is a matter of the standings on the Tour and he wants to solidify his position."
Earlier in the week Williams had said, "If Canfield is sailing badly I'll would pick him." He then said he would pick the lowest ranking Quarter finalist. We'll get to see how it all goes down on Friday when the choice is made.
Three of the next 4 skippers in Group 1 may also qualify for the Quarters… Pierre Morvan (FRA) Vannes Aggio Sailing Team, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team, Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team.
Group 1 teams who will not make the cup include RBYC Commodore Somers Kempe's team Raymarine/Ocean Electronics, David Storrs (USA) Pequot Racing Team, Arthur Herreman (FRA) Match the World.
Group 2 has finished sailing their Thursday flights and none of the teams except Canfield in Group 2 is safely out of the Qualifying session and into the Quarter Finals yet. Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team is in 2nd place after 10 of 11 full Flights with 5 points. He along with 5 skippers sitting on 4 points can go through or go home.
Skippers on 4 points with one flight left in Qualifying include David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour, Eric Monnin (SWI) Swiss Match Racing Team, Nathan Outteridge (SWE) Artemis Racing.
Skippers on 4 points, but with two flights left to sail, are Mathieu Richard and Marek Stanczyk (POL) Henri Lloyd Rainmaker Racing. He has sailed one less race after a crewman was injured in flight 8 and they missed their flight 10 match.
Lance Fraser (BER) Digicel Bermuda, Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing and Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing have already missed the cut but can play the role of spoiler on Friday. Fraser sails Richard, Poole sails Monnin and Robertson sails Lindberg. We will probably see some tiebreakers and count-backs for Group 2 on Friday when the Quarter Final skippers are confirmed.
Sailing in the Group 1 Qualifying Session matches continues Thursday afternoon. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar had a nearly perfect first day in the Argo Group gold Cup. He won all four of his matches but stands on 3.5 points. A half point was deducted following a collision with Francesco Bruni (ITA) Lunna Rossa. Williams leads Group 1 going into flight 6 on Wednesday.
Current results are posted at http://www.wmrt.com/result/current-results.html
Sailing starts again on Friday at 9:00 ADT with the remaining Qualifying matches.
2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour Standings coming into the Argo Group gold Cup:
1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 94pts
2. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 88pts
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 76pts
4. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing 63pts
5. Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 58pts
6. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 56pts
7. David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 39pts
8. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 20pts