In a day filled with leaderboard upsets, the event winner was decided rounding the final mark in the final race of the World Match Racing Tour Coconut Grove Cup held 14 – 16 April. Australia’s Evan Walker and his Team KA Match struck lucky on the last beat to win the final cross and pop a wheelie on the finish line to take the win in style in Miami, USA.
Coming in to this final day of competition, US Virgin Islander Anthony Kotoun led the fleet after a string of wins in the early round robin series. Conditions today were the strongest of the week, averaging 20knots, so perhaps this increase in pressure is what caused Kotoun to slip down the pecking order after three losses this morning during the conclusion of the round robin.
Fresh from their podium finishes at last week’s Tour event Miami Match Cup, Harry Price and Nevin Snow finished the round robin series in the top two spots respectively. Denmark’s Daniel Bjørnholt and his Youth Vikings Denmark team continued their success from day one of competition. Improved boat handling saw less unforced errors by the Danes which allowed them to climb to fifth seed going into the quarter final knockout round. Another big mover was The Magenta Project team, skippered by New Zealand Olympian Jo Aleh, who moved from bottom of the table after wins this morning and coming out on the right side of a three-way tie.
In the quarter final round, Australian Harry Price going down to USA local Jeremy Wilmot was the shock of the day. Despite winning the first match Price, who won the recent Miami Match Cup, couldn’t seem to bring it all together in the series that went 2-1 to his American opponent.
In the first semifinal pairing Anthony Kotoun failed to find his rhythm and he would be the first to admit that he didn’t perform to his best, getting bested 2-0 by Evan Walker. It was a similar story in the other semifinal with Jeremy Wilmot being outsailed by fellow American skipper Nevin Snow in a 2-0 series. As well as making the final, both Walker and Snow also qualify for the World Match Racing Tour Championship level event, Match Cup USA.
With the event winner and Tour Championship points still to be decided, the two remaining teams took to the racecourse once more for the final, which was to be sailed in a sudden death style, first to one point match. Snow and the 13 Fifty Racing team won the start and led Walker around the track. On the final beat the race appeared to be over with teams on the change boat declaring it a full gone conclusion. “We had a good lay coming down the run into the left turn. We came out of the bottom strong. And at that point you’re just lucky.” Commented Walker, reliving the race. It wasn’t until the final cross before the last mark that Walker got ahead, to the surprise of all watching. From there the team glided around the final mark and reached home to victory.
Looking back on his time at the two events here in Miami Walker said, “In both events we felt that we were sailing below our potential. And a big thing for us was having two new people join the crew, which was a bit of a setback.” Clearly by today the team had gotten over these setbacks and found their groove.
The Coconut Grove Cup concludes the World Match Racing Tour’s time in Miami, with M32 Match Racing licensing clinics and two World Tour level events. Biscayne Bay provided five days of conditions ideal for match racing the high performance M32 catamarans. Next, the Tour heads to Europe for the World Tour level event Gothenburg Match Cup, with the next Championship level event being Match Cup Sweden.