Canfield goes wild

Wildcard entry Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands (pix) has won the most coveted event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the Monsoon Cup, after defeating Kiwi Phil Robertson in a dramatic, sudden death final.

Ian Williams, who claimed his record-equalling fourth ISAF Match Racing World Championship in the quarterfinal, had to settle for third place after defeating Peter Gilmour in the Petit Final.

Canfield – skipper of USone, who also won the penultimate Tour event, the Argo Group Gold Cup, said: "This win is the best we have achieved in our careers so far and the guys I'm sailing with, Hayden Goodrick, Mike Rehe, Dan Morris and Rob Dawson did a fantastic job here today. We're the second US Virgin Islanders to win this after Peter Holmberg in 2006.

"I'm not sure we could have done any more this year, we've been really pleased with how we've performed at the three Tour events we were invited to. This is a great way to finish the season and sets the bar for next year."

Reflecting on his defeat, Robertson of WAKA Racing, said: "It was a good event for us, despite feeling like we gave that Final away a little bit. We sailed really, really well and we were getting stronger and stronger every race.

"I think this season we've proved what we can do and even though there is a little bit to improve on, we can challenge at these big events. A podium finish on the Tour is a great achievement."

It was a thrilling final from start to finish, littered with penalties, with both teams going toe-to-toe. In the first race, the main drama came right on the finish line.
Canfield approached the line with Robertson pushing him. In the process, he picked up another penalty but while this was going on Robertson tried to snatch room at the Committee boat which he wasn't entitled to do and earned a red flag immediate penalty. It was frenetic action, with Canfield eventually managing to take both penalties and cross the line first.

Robertson managed to pull one back in the second race after successfully pushing Canfield over the line early at the pin end. Canfield made a spirited fightback and forced Robertson to defend tack for tack, gybe for gybe but to no avail. 1-1.

Canfield tried to squeeze Robertson out at the Committee boat but Robertson opted to push his bow through the closing gap between Canfield and the Committee boat. It earned him two penalties, the umpires deciding Robertson could have bailed out of such a move. It was a suicidal move, giving Canfield the lead which he maintained to the end.

A comparatively easy win for Robertson in the next race took this final into an epic sudden death encounter. A final error by Robertson though allowed Canfield to edge a bigger gap and despite a final roll of the dice from Robertson with a split away, Canfield held on to take a scintillating win.