It was a battle of America’s Cup tacticians on Sunday October 13 in the thrilling finale of the Argo Group Gold Cup, the penultimate fifth stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, being held in Bermuda.

Bruni beats Ainslie at Argo Group Gold Cup Bermuda

Francesco Bruni beat Ben Ainslie in a thrilling final race at the Argo Group Gold Cup, Bermuda.



In one of the most exciting finals in Argo Group Gold Cup history, Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa put a stop to the comeback kid, Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART/Argo Group. Bruni won the first two races and then Ainslie took two and looked like he was going to add a Gold Cup comeback to his America’s Cup record.

Bruini would have nothing of that and sailed flawlessly in the final race to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup and US$50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

Bruni had great pace at the start of the final race. He was on starboard, to weather of Ainslie and on the line right on time. In the North-easterly breeze, he took Ainslie all the way up to the wall at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel gaining separation on the way.

When they tacked for the obstruction, Bruni was clearly ahead and then gained on the long port tack to the weather mark. Ainslie couldn’t pull another catch-up out of his legendary bag of tricks.

Bruni and his crew Pierluigi de Felice, Xabi Fernandez and Nick Hutton were jubilant. This was the first time an Italian has ever won the King Edward VII Gold Cup. It was a historic victory for Bruni who comes from Palermo, Sicily and had lost only one race in reaching the finals. Ainslie had lost only two, so the cream had really risen to the top.

Both Bruni and Ainslie had come through the Semi Finals Sunday morning with perfect 3-0 records. Ainslie defeated Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX. Bruni handled defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone. Canfield went on to beat Minoprio in the Petite finals and take 3rd place and putting Minoprio into 4th.

Iain Percy won the Wedgewood trophy and Nicoli Sehestead won the Jordy Walker Trophy as the most improved sailor in Match Race Association or Tour events.

“To win every start against Sir Ben Ainslie in the finals is pretty big," commented Bruni. "We were quite sure we could separate it and the plan in our mind worked beautifully. Every cross, we were ahead. After we were 2-2 we are very happy we didn’t let it slip away from our hands. We sailed Sir Ben to the wall and he asked for room to tack. It was a huge setback for Ben because when he tacked around we just had him and powered ahead.

“It has been a really great return to the world tour. And, I need to thank Luna Rossa for bringing us here. It has been a great reward for all of us after a lot of hard work.

Sir Ben Ainslie: “It was a great final. Ultimately we were beaten by a better team. They started their races better and they became the team that we could not beat today. We are here to honor the memory of our friend Andrew “Bart” Simpson and we have got a lot of support from everyone here for our Foundation. We sailed well today and we are glad we got the band back together in honor of Bart who was such an ambassador to the sport.”

Updated results are at www.wmrt.com

 
Visit Bermuda for the Argo Group Gold CupThis year marked the 63rd 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).

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