By Talbot Wilson
Hamilton, BERMUDA: Oct. 10, 2012 – Taylor Canfield not only led his Chicago Match Racing Center team to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup at the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup, but he also won the second annual Jordy Walker Trophy as well. The Jordy Walker Trophy recognizes the most improved young match race sailor who competes in Alpari World Match Racing Tour events or other events that automatically qualify a skipper for a Tour event.
The Match Racing Association (MRA), formerly known as the World Match Racing Association (WMRA), donated the Jordy Walker Trophy in 2011. Mary Walker presented the trophy to Canfield in memory of her late husband B.W “Jordy” Walker.
“Taylor Canfield,” said Brian Billings, President of the MRA and Chairman of the Argo Group Gold Cup, “has earned this recognition through his performance in match race events like the Chicago Match Cup, the automatic qualifier events in the Grand Slam Series and his victory here at the Argo Group Gold Cup. With his 18-3 record over the world’s best match race sailors in the Gold Cup, Taylor is the clear winner of the Jordy Walker Trophy for 2012.”
“Winning the Jordy Walker Trophy is a highlight for me,” Canfield said, “and I’d like to thank the Match Racing Association for the award. Jordy has had a huge impact on youth development of sailing in Bermuda but also throughout the Caribbean.”
“One of the biggest examples of this,” Canfield added, “was his role in changing the Bermuda Gold Cup to the modern day format. [The Gold Cup has a 24-team format rather than 12 like many other events] This has allowed young match racers like myself the opportunity to compete against not only some of the best match racers in the world but also some of the greatest sailors of all time.”
“The passion of people like Jordy,” he concluded, “has raised the bar for modern day match racing. It is an honor to receive this award in Jordy’s memory.”
At 23, Taylor Canfield is one of the brightest stars to recently come out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club. He follows in the wake of Peter Holmberg who won the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2001. Canfield came to Bermuda for the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup with Holmberg in 2003 and got his inspiration for match racing then.
Canfield led the Boston College sailing team to many collegiate championships and has now has devoted himself to match race sailing. He is the current sailing director at the Chicago Match Race Center. He was ranked 11th in the open ISAF rankings going into the Gold Cup.
He has recently won the four-event 2012 Grand Slam Match Race Series, winning the Chicago August Grade 2, coming second in the Detroit Cup, finishing seventh in the Knickerbocker Cup and taking second place in the Oakcliff International Grade 2 event.
Taylor has made his presence known on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) and is now ranked 9th. He finished 12th at the 2011 Gold Cup. This year he finished 4th at the AWMRT’s new event, the 2012 Chicago Match Cup, and 3rd at the 2012 Congressional Cup. Taylor looks to continue climbing the rankings. He is hoping for an invitation to the AWMRT championship at the Monsoon Cup in December and will bid for a 2013 AWMRT Tour Card.
The namesake of the trophy, Jordy Walker, was a man who gave his heart and soul to sailing and the sport of sailboat racing. He used his time, money and talent to promote the sport he loved, to introduce the modern format of match racing to Bermuda. And, in fact, he brought match racing to the world in 1988 through the establishment of the WMRA (now the MRA) and its match racing championship events he helped establish around the globe.
The Jordy Walker Trophy is on permanent display in the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy display case in the entrance foyer of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
This year marked the 62nd staging of the King Edward VII Gold Cup, with previous winners including some of the greatest names ever to match race. Since the event was reformatted to be an event under the Match Racing Association in 1985, multiple winners include Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Peter Gilmour (AUS), and Ben Ainslie (GBR).
The 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup began October 2nd and ended with the Finals on October 7th. Spectator friendly racing was held in Hamilton Harbour, adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Marina, a spectacular attraction for tourists and Bermuda residents alike.
The Argo Group Gold Cup was the penultimate seventh stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, in which the teams compete for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship. Match racing for The King Edward VII Gold Cup is recognized as one of the classic heritage events on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Taylor Canfield won the Match Racing Association’s 2nd annual Jordy Walker Trophy as the most improved young match race sailor who competes in Alpari World Match Racing Tour events or other events that automatically qualify a skipper for a Tour event. Mary Walker made the presentation at the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup prizegiving at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.
With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.
Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.
For more Key West Race Week photos by Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography