Australian James Spithill won the Investors Guaranty presentation of The King Edward VII Gold Cup match race championship in Bermuda yesterday
Australian James Spithill won the Investors Guaranty presentation of The King Edward VII Gold Cup match race championship in Bermuda on Sunday, beating the defending champion Russell Coutts in a thrilling decider 3:2.
Spithill, 26, the Luna Rossa Italian America’s Cup helmsman and current world champion, lost the first race at the start, regained his composure in the second heat, but lost again to the seven-time Gold Cup winner in the third. This left the Australian with the uphill battle of winning the final two races, but far from buckling under the pressure, Spithill took total control of both starts and the rest is history.
After a week of variable weather, conditions on the final day were perfect with 15-20 knot winds across Hamilton Harbour. Coutts won the first start and split off from the young Australian towards the Hamilton shore in search of wind pressure, and won handily.
Their second encounter was much closer, and arriving at the top mark together, Coutts picked up a penalty for forcing Spithill to make room for him. That made it one-all.
In the third race, Coutts again headed straight out towards the Hamilton shore. Spithill failed to cover, and found himself 10 boat lengths down at the top mark. Now it was 2:1 to the New Zealander, had only to inflict one more victory to win for a record eight times.
It was not to be. In the fourth encounter, Spithill won the starboard advantage and rounded just ahead of Coutts at the top mark. The pair then remained locked together for the remainder of this duel, with Spithill taking the winning gun by little more than a bow length.
It was now down to a final fifth race. In the fifth and final race, Spithill dominated the pre-start and pinned him down so close to the committee boat that he hit it and was forced to do a penalty turn. By the time he had recovered, Spithill was 10 boat lengths clear and heading to dethrone the King of the Gold Cup. Coutts saw it all as a hopeless case and conceded the race so that his Danish crew could catch their flight home.
In the petite-finals to decide third and fourth placings, Steffan Lindberg of Finland defeated Ed Baird from Team Alinghi 2-0. Baird, who went down to James Spithill in the semi-finals 3-2 could not overtake the fast moving Finns who dominated both races.
1. James Spithill – Australia
2. Russell Coutts – New Zealand
3. Staffan Lindburg – Finland
4. Ed Baird – USA
5. Chris Dickson – New Zealand
6. Mathieu Richard – France
7. Gavin Brady – Hong Kong
8. Ian Williams – UK