Argo Group Gold Cup - Mirsky defeats Berntsson in final

2011 Argo Group Gold Cup - Match Racing Championship - Bermuda. Mirsky leads Berntsson in finals to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup Photo: Talbot Wilson/RBYC/PPL
Talbot Wilson - Copyright
The new name on the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy is Australia's Torvar Mirsky. Mirsky and his team The Wave Muscat won the 2011 Argo Group Gold Cup three races to two over 2006 Gold Cup champion Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team. Entering the Gold Cup, Mirsky was #3 on the World Match Racing Tour.

His position will improve going into the Monsoon Cup, the final event on the tour.

In the Bermuda finals, Mirsky won the first and third flights and Berntsson won the second and fourth. Then in the sudden death, final flight that would bring one of the teams to three points and a win, Mirsky took the start. In spite of constant pressure from Berntsson, his lead was never threatened.

'It is over the moon to win over Johnie today,' Mirsky said following the match. He sailed so fast in both boats used in the match. He kept putting on the pressure.'

This is Mirsky’s second Tour win in a row. ' Winning two events in a row is a great feeling,' he said, and the $50,000 first place prize doesn’t hurt either.' This is Mirsky’s first Gold Cup finals in his third try. He quipped, 'This prize helps pay for all the times we tried to win the Gold Cup.'

Berntsson won $20,000 for his second place performance. He remarked, 'Maybe next time we will get more points than flags.' He was referring to the large number of penalties he got during the week.

In the first race, Berntsson copped a penalty at the first weather mark for failing to keep clear of Mirtsky. He got another penalty on the subsequent downwind leg in a luffing duel. When he made the required immediate turn, the umpires ruled that he hadn’t lowered his spinnaker below the level of the boom. So it was turn again for Berntsson. He never recovered from that and Mirsky took that contest going away.

The second race was all Berntsson. He had great speed off the line and a lead to windward. He took control in a tacking duel up the first beat and rounded ahead. He extended that lead down wind and kept control for the whole race.

Race number three was back to the penalty box for Berntsson. He got a penalty in the dial-up for the start, but took the lead upwind off the line. He extended the lead twenty seconds at the last weather mark. Earlier in the week he had executed perfect turns around the pin end of the finish line against Francesco Bruni to win races. The third time wasn’t a charm… He completed his turn but came out on port tack and forced the starbord tack Mirsky to alter course, Bernstsson got another penalty and lost the race.

Race number four was all Berntsson again but when race number five came around Mirsky was back in the groove and took the start and the finish for a clear win.

2011 Argo Group Gold Cup - Match Racing Championship - Bermuda. Mirsky leads Berntsson to win King Edward VII Gold Cup Photo: Charles Anderson/RBYC/PPL
Bermuda Gold Cup/ Charles Anderson ©

Earlier in the day the Petite Finals were sailed to determine third and fourth places. Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing showed why he is the #2 ranked skipper on the WMRT and defeated Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 2-0.
Bruni takes a $10,000 check and Robertson takes $7,000.

Robertson also won the new Jordy Walker Trophy awarded by the Match Racing Association as the most improved young match race sailor who competes in World Match Racing Tour events or other events that automaticlly qualify a skipper for a Tour event.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is followed on the World Match Racing Tour by their prestigious season ending finale, The Monsoon Cup, sailed in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

WMRT website
Argo Group Gold Cup website