Detroit Cup - Three of four semi-finalists now decided

Steven NZL - Detroit Cup 2011
Isao Toyoma
The Detroit Cup has experienced a day that began with a whimper and ended with a bang, as light air postponements transformed into enough pre-frontal breeze and squalls to conclude the Round Robin and almost all the Quarter-Finals at Bayview YC's ISAF Grade 2 Detroit Cup.

In some exciting racing that went to three for all but one match, three of four Semi-Finalists have now been determined, and all are Kiwis: Laurie Jury, Reuben Corbett, and Matthew Steven. The one remaining spot will be determined tomorrow between Jordan Reece from Australia and Brad Funk from the USA. Funk is all who remains to prevent an all-Down Under Semi-Final and Final, but he has to win both of tomorrow's remaining matches.

In a violent squall that shut down the day's racing, Funk's desperate attempt to catch Reece on the final run resulted in him capsizing once and broaching again on the final run to the finish.

'We had to try something, and wanted to set the kite,' said Funk. 'But as soon as Anna came off the rail, the bow went down and we broached again.' The comments brought peels of laughter at the day's press conference, because the breeze topped 25 knots and was strong enough to have been a clear disaster had the team been able to set their kite, as his rival Reece was already planing to the finish with just the main and jib.

Funk, an aspiring Olympic Laser sailor, is sailing this week with his wife, Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe, as bowman and tactician, along with Hamish Mathew.

Another outstanding feature of today was the promotional fleet race for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Detroit, who put 15 of their members out on the race course as crew with the match race skippers to get a taste of sailing on the Detroit River. Many had never been on a boat before, and none had ever been sailing.

'This was an awesome experience for me,' said Little Brother Brandon after sailing with skipper Taylor Canfield and crew Anna Tunnicliffe. 'Sailing is amazing, I never thought how easy it was in some ways and really hard in other ways. But having the chance to be with an Olympic medalist was like nothing I've ever done.'

The conclusion of Quarter-Final match racing continues tomorrow morning one hour earlier at 9:00 AM local time, with the next stage being the Semi-Final round combined with the Consolation Round for fifth-eighth place.

The Detroit Cup is the second stop on the four-stage US Grand Slam Series, a series of four consecutive ISAF Grade 2 match race events composed of last week's Chicago Grade 2 Invitational, this week's Detroit Cup, next week's Knickerbocker Cup, and the following week's concluding Oakcliff International. Winner of the series will get an invitation to next year's ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup in Long Beach.

Detroit Cup website