Lance Fraser has won his first ever race in the Argo Gold Cup this morning when he defeated Jakub Pawluk from Poland in the Hamilton Harbor.
Fraser in his second to last race on day two got a good start against Pawluk and never looked back winning by some three boat lenghts even after completing their penalty turn.
Torvar Mirsky, currently 3rd in the points on the World Match Racing Tour, sits in the catbird seat in Group 3 of the Argo Group Gold Cup after the second day of racing. At 5 wins and 0 losses, the young Australian match racing ace is still unscathed through six of seven flights in the Qualifying round robin series.
Mirsky has one more flight to sail today, and that against Great Britain’s Ian Williams, Gold Cup champ in 2006, and one of his nearest competitor in Group 3. Now at 4-1, Williams can tie Mirsky at 5 wins and 1 loss. Also at 4-1 starting the day is Jonnie Berntsson from Sweden winner the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2008.
He faces Alvaro Marinho now 3-2. If Berntssen wins, he is also at 5-1. Two of the top four will automatically move up to the quarters and two will move into the repechage round-robin later in the day for a second chance to be in the quarter-finals. Who hits the second chance club may all be decided on a tie-breaker.
Over in Group 1, Gold Cup and World Match Race Tour newcomer, Taylor Canfield started Tuesday at 2-1. The US Virgin Islander sailed unbeaten to end the day at the top of his group at 5-1. Jesper Radich of Denmark shares the top spot with an identical 5-1 score. Radich also started yesterday at 2-1. They will move into the quarter-finals on the 5 wins they have now.
Group 1 Kiwi Phil Robertson finished yesterday with a 3-3 score and can move on with the second chance crowd on a win today. Robertson faces Tour veteran Bjorn Hansen who at 2-4 can play the spoiler. With a win over Robertson he will put the decision into a tiebreaker. Mike Buckley, Lucy Macgregor and Terry Mclaughlin all have 2-4 scores like Hansen. Stay tuned. This one is too close to call.
Tour points leader Mathieu Richard, who had such a disappointing performance, loosing two matches on Tuesday, came back to finish through Flight 6 at 3 wins and 3 losses. Building on his bad luck yesterday, Richard was assessed a 1/2 point penalty in his match with Taylor Canfield for causing boat damage in a collision in a penalty manoeuvre that earned a black flag. His score moved down to 2 1/2 wins. If Richard, can win the final qualifying flight today, he has a mathematical chance to make the repechage and get another chance another chance at moving into the Quarters.
Group 2 is just as tight with reigning Tour Champion and 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup runner-up Adam Minoprio from New Zealand, 2009 Argo Group Gold Cup semi-finalist Eric Monnin and Kiwi Reuben Corbett all have 4-1 records. Olympic medalist and reigning Gold Cup champion Ben Ainslie from Great Britain is next in line with 3 wins and 2 losses. Minoprio and Ainslie meet in Flight 7 today.
Ihel, Fraser and Pawluk from Group 2 are already out of contention for a place in the Quarter-Finals, while Monnin is currently looking best placed to go straight to the next stage. Corbett is also looking well placed, however Minoprio must win his race against Ainslie tomorrow to pick up a guaranteed ticket to the Quarter-Finals. Ainslie, however, is already consigned to the repechage play off.
The top two teams in each group following Flight 7 today will move automatically into the quarter-finals tomorrow, They will have the afternoon off while the 3rd and 4th place finishers get their second chance to make the quarters.