Written by Andrea Watson Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
Nicolai Sehested, of TRE-FOR Match Racing (DEN), with his crew Thomas Hedegaard, Jasper Blom, Soren Secher and Peter Wibroe, have won the 2013 Knickerbocker Cup. Sehested bested Eric Monnin and his team Okalys-Corum (SUI), 3-1 in the finals in very light wind on Manhasset Bay.
Team TRE-FOR Match Racing has made an appearance at the Knickerbocker Cup 4 times and the crew returned this year determined to win. In 2012, Sehested came in 2nd to Will Tiller, skipper of Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL), who is now racing with the prestigious Alpari World Match Racing Tour (WMRT).
In a 4-match final, Sehested took the 1st by dominating the race from the start. Monnin gained on Sehested by the 1st mark but Sehested extended his lead and kept it to the finish. Score 1-0 Sehested. Match 2 had an interesting pre-start as both teams were vying for position and ended up way north of the starting line. Neither team made it to the start on time but Monnin somehow found pressure in the extremely light air and got to the start at least 8 boat lengths ahead of Sehested. To make matters worse for Sehested, any wind would come out of the south, giving an advantage to Monnin. Sehested didn’t have a chance and Monnin easily raced to victory, with Sehested crossing the finish line two minutes later. Score 1-1.
After a delay waiting for wind to fill in, Sehested won the start but it looked like Monnin had faster boat speed. Sehested passed Monnin at the leeward gate and maintained his lead to win, with Monnin a half boat length behind at the finish line. Now it was 2-1 Sehested. The 4th match was a “do or die” race for Monnin. But it was not meant to be for Monnin this year and Sehested took the match, 3-1 and will have his name etched on the Knickerbocker Cup along with other past winners.
According to Sehested: “We had good speed the whole way – we started with good speed and stayed ahead. Pre-starts were critical for us as it is hard to pass in these boats (Swedish Match 40s) so it was good boat handling and strategy on our part. My team sailed really well and made sure the boat was fast all the time. We were a bit worried here in the Finals as I knew Monnin was fast and he won the 2nd race so we needed strong races for the next matches.”
In other events on the final day: David Gilmour, skipper of Team Gilmour (AUS), and Chris Poole, skipper of Riptide Racing (USA) were tied 1-1 in the semi-finals at the end of racing on Saturday. Sunday’s racing saw Gilmour win his next two matches and with a score of 3-1, Gilmour captured 3rd place in the standings, with Chris Poole 4th.
Last week, this column reported on the first day of racing at the KCup, when by end of day, Stephanie Roble, skipper of Epic Racing (USA) and the only female skipper of the regatta, was in a commanding first place. As sometimes happens on Manhasset Bay, Roble had what could only be called a really difficult day. She won her first match against Chris Poole, of Riptide Racing (USA), but it went downhill from there. She lost her next 3 matches again Nicolai
Sehested, TRE-FOR Match Racing (DEN), Eric Monnin, Okalys-Corum (SUI) and Mark Lees, Team Echo Sail Racing (GBR). But because of Roble’s excellent performance, she managed to secure a place in the quarter finals but just couldn’t do much against her opponent, Eric Monnin, who shut her down 3-0. Monnin moved on to the semi-finals on Saturday, and then lost in the finals to Sehested while Roble was excused from this year’s KCup.
Taylor Canfield, of USone, (ISV) is the number one ranked match racer in the world. He was on a roll, having won both the Chicago Match Cup, the only U.S. stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour by beating top match racers – Keith Swinton (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Ian Williams (GBR) and past KCup competitors Phil Robertson (NZL), Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Will Tiller, (NZ), the 2012 Knickerbocker Cup winner. Then he came to the KCup and, as our bay is known to do at times, just didn’t give him a break. He ended up 6th overall.
The Knickerbocker Cup is part of a series of sequential match races, starting with the Chicago Match Cup at the Chicago Match Race Center, the Detroit Cup at Bayview Yacht Club, the Knickerbocker Cup, followed by Oakcliff International, at the Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay. Gilmour is currently leading the US Grand Slam series but will have his work cut out for them next week at the Oakcliff International. TRE-FOR Match Racing will be racing at Oakcliff as well as other top match racers so it is difficult to predict who will come out on top to be named the winner of the 2013 US Grand Slam. By the end of the week, after all the great matches are completed, only one team can be crowned the winner.
By winning the 2013 Knickerbocker Cup, Sehested has been invited to participate in the very prestigious Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda for the chance to win the coveted King