In an impressive display of match racing ability in blustery conditions, USVI native Taylor Canfield and Team US One successfully defended their Chicago Match Cup title against current series leader Ian Williams and team GAC Pindar, of Great Britain.
In the first race of the best-of-four series, Williams looked like he was going to do to Canfield what he’d just done to Swedish sailor Bjorn Hansen—who he soundly beat 3-1 in the semi-finals—quickly jumping out into the lead in the 15-20 knot breeze.
Canfield, however, held on throughout, thanks to strong teamwork on the part of his crew, which included tactician Rod Dawson, trimmer Mike Rehe and bowman Hayden Goodrick—although Williams ultimately prevailed, following a series of aggressive gybes in the second half of the final leg.
Canfield’s Masterclass: How to get two penalties and still win
The second race once again saw Williams in control, not only pushing Canfield over the line early at the start, but imposing a red flag penalty on Canfield for not keeping clear either. However, after taking his penalty turn, Canfield was eventually able to make a pass on the final beat to even the score at 1-1.
After that it was all Canfield, with a combination of luck and good sailing allowing him to impose a penalty on Williams near the end of the third race, and then lead Williams wire to wire in the fourth.
“It was fantastic to defend this event in front of all of our families and friends,” Canfield said afterward. “I really have to thank my team for an incredible performance…in these conditions when you’re behind you’re never out of it, and this team is incredible: when we were behind they only pushed harder for us to win.”
Canfield’s win puts him in third place overall in this year’s seven-event Alpari World Match Racing Tour, behind first-place Williams and second place Mathieu Richard of France. Next stop on the tour is the Dutch Match Cup September 24-28. For complete results on the Chicago series, click here.
Photo courtesy of Alpari World Match Racing Tour