Adam Minoprio is a past ISAF Match Racing World Champion on the 2009 World Match Racing Tour but hasn’t sailed a regatta this year. Today he made an emphatic statement on his return to the helm.

Minoprio’s BlackMatch team from New Zealand defeated Keith Swinton’s Black Swan Racing from Australia, 3-2, in the final of the 67th annual Argo Group Gold Cup.

Minoprio and crew of Nick Blackmon, Andrew Burgess and Tom Powrie won $35,000 of the $100,000 prize purse. Swinton and crew Ted Hackney, Henry Kernot and Björn Lundgren won $16,000.

“I’m ecstatic. It’s amazing. I’ve been trying to win this event for a long time and to do so feels wonderful,” said the 30-year-old Minoprio from Auckland, New Zealand, who was competing for the sixth time. “Some of my crew talked me into coming back here and we were able to get some good results and have a good time.”

Minoprio has previously finished runner-up twice (2008, ’09) and today he had to work hard for the victory. With a southerly wind blowing around 10 knots the crews were racing the width of Hamilton Harbour. That placed the windward mark under the southern shore and in very shifty and patchy winds.

No lead was safe coming out of the windward mark and there were frequent lead changes, including the fourth race when it appeared Minoprio would seal the victory. He led by about four boat lengths beginning the run to the finish line but Swinton overcame his rival with a series of gybes and a final luff to force the final, winner-take-all race.

“We thought we might’ve broken their spirit on that one,” said the 29-year-old Swinton from Perth, Western Australia. “We’re disappointed to lose but happy with our performance. Adam kept improving throughout the day, especially his starts, while our performance stayed the same.”

In the fifth and final race Minoprio forced Swinton into a poor start that saw the Aussie put in a gybe at the committee boat end as the start gun sounded while Minoprio sailed onto the course with speed. Swinton trailed all the way around and although it appeared he might have one final chance after rounding the windward mark for the final time, it never materialised.

“We were in a bad spot there,” Swinton said of the start. “It couldn’t have been much worse.”

Minoprio and Swinton made the final after winning their Semi Final matches against Taylor Canfield’s US One and Björn Hansen’s Nautiska Racing, respectively.

Canfield entered the final day of racing with an undefeated record (10-0) and seemingly on a course to the championship. He chose to race Minoprio because he thought that the Kiwi was rustier than the other sailors since he hadn’t match raced all year. But that decision backfired in the fifth and deciding race.

Minoprio was over the start line early in the final race, which gave Canfield a large early lead. Canfield maintained that advantage around the course and led by about 30 seconds at the final windward mark. After rounding he gybed to starboard while Minoprio held on port after rounding. Moments later it was apparent that Canfield was in trouble as his spinnaker hung from the rigging. Minoprio, however, was sailing down in a nice streak of pressure that he used to cross the finish line about two lengths ahead of Canfield and into the final.

“We got nervous about halfway down that leg,” said Canfield, 26, from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “It was a tricky balance of boat-on-boat sailing versus tactical sailing. We were manoeuvring in between the puffs and trying to cover. It was the worst case scenario.”

Swinton, meanwhile, watched that race from the dock as he advanced to the Final after defeating Hansen, 3-1. Swinton seemed to attack Hansen in the pre-starts, but the Swede said he was happy with his starting. Swinton just found better pressure on the racecourse to pull out the victory.

“It was a minefield out there,” said Hansen, 47, from Mariehamm, Sweden. “When you’re ahead you have to choose which mark to round and you don’t always have time to see where the puffs are. Or if you see them, sometimes they’re gone when you get there. We took the wrong leeward mark a couple of times. You need to have luck. But we were happy to beat Taylor in the Petite Final.”

Hansen beat Canfield, 2-1, in the Petite Final to win $12,000 while Canfield’s US One crew earned $11,000 for fourth place.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is the penultimate event on the World Match Racing Tour. The final event is the Monsoon Cup Malaysia, scheduled for late January 2016. Based on the final results Hansen, Canfield and Ian Williams, the overall tour leader who placed seventh in the Argo Group Gold Cup, will have the best shot at winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championship. The three skippers are separated by just 5 points.

2015 World Match Racing Tour
World Championship Event – Argo Group Gold Cup

1. Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch
2. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
3. Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing
4. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
5. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
6. Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox
7. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
8. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing
9. Dean Barker (JPN) SoftBank Team Japan
10. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
11. Francesco Bruni (SWE) Artemis Racing
12. Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing
13. Blythe Walker (BER) Team RenRe
14. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing
15. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing
16. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing

Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch bt Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 3-2

Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing bt Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 2-1

Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch bt Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 3-2
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing bt Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 3-1

Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One bt Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 3-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch bt Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 3-2
Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing bt Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox 3-1
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing bt Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-2

1. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 6-1
2. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 5-2
3. Dean Barker (JPN) SoftBank Team Japan 4-3
4. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 3-4
5. Francesco Bruni (SWE) Artemis Racing 3-4
6. Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing 3-4
7. Blythe Walker (BER) Team RenRe 2-5
8. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing 2-5


1. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 5-2
2. Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox 5-2
3. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 4.5-2
4. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 4-3
5. Dean Barker (JPN) SoftBank Team Japan 3-4
6. Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing 3-4
7. Blythe Walker (BER) Team RenRe 2-5
8. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing 1-6

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 7-0
2. Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 5-2
3. Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch 4.5-2
4. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 4-3
5. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 3-4
6. Francesco Bruni (SWE) Artemis Racing 2-5
7. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing 2-5
8. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 0-8

2015/16 World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard Standings
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 90pts
2 Björn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 88pts
3 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 85pts
4 Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 75pts
5 Phil Robertson (NZL) Team TREFOR 73pts
6 Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox 59pts
7 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing 59pts
8 Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing 58pts
9 Matthew Jerwood (AUS) Redline Racing 53pts
10 Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 52pts

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