Canfield reflects on huge finish to 2012


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Taylor Canfield is done racing on the water for the remainder of the year, but another race has already started. The 23-year-old St. Thomas native needs to quickly find sponsorship to bolster an already gleaming résumé for a 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour card.

Canfield won the tour's final two events, including last week's Monsoon Cup in Malaysia as a wildcard entry. The regatta is the signature event on international match racing's top tour, and Canfield's crew won the top prize of 310,000 Malaysian ringgits (about $101,400).

Canfield, ranked ninth in the world, and his crew on US One outdueled New Zealand's Phil Robertson in a sudden death final. Robertson entered the event ranked fourth.

"I definitely think in these last two events, we proved we can compete at the level the tour has to offer," Canfield said in a phone interview Tuesday from his home in Chicago. "Obviously, as a newer team, it will be tough to keep performing, but I think we'll continue to grow and put up strong results."

Applications for tour cards are due in mid-January, and the tour's sales director said sponsors are showing interest in US One, according to Canfield.

Canfield did not have any names of prospective sponsors to share. He said a tour card is about $45,000, which covers entries to most tour events. US One will also need to raise between an estimated $70,000 and $80,000 for travel costs and other expenses.

The team has to prove it can afford to attend most tour events. Canfield's crew more-than-proved it can compete as a cardholder, having finished seventh and ahead of three cardholders in the tour's final standings.

"Overall, a tremendous year," Canfield said. "Even starting at the end of March, when we ended up third at the Congressional Cup, I think that was kind of the beginning of the great season we had."

US One picked up more confidence in July with a fourth-place finish at the Chicago Match Cup, a first-time tour stop. It was Canfield's first 2012 appearance on the tour and a good place to start. Canfield, a member of the St. Thomas Yacht Club, is the sailing director for the Chicago Match Race Center.

He won again in Chicago in August at one of four regattas in the USA Grand Slam Match Racing Series.

Canfield was awarded $50,000 in October with an Alpari Tour win of the King Edward VII Gold Cup at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Two wins to finish the season had tour regulars taking notice.

"It was pretty surreal," Canfield said. "We were obviously coming off a big win in Bermuda, which we were pretty excited about, as well. It's pretty cool to be among the best sailors in the world. For the current World Cup champion to come up and congratulate you, it was a pretty good feeling."

Canfield is optimistic that his crew will remain the same providing schedules match up.

Hayden Goodrick (New Zealand), Mike Rehe (Michigan), Dan Morris (Michigan) and Rob Dawson (New Zealand) joined Canfield for the Monsoon Cup. US One teammate Matt Clark (Illinois) did not compete in Malaysia.

The crew was ecstatic to make the event's quarterfinals and harnessed the excitement into smooth sailing over the final three matches. The humble skipper never fails to applaud his crew for boosting his own brand and that of US One. Though credit goes to his name, Canfield seldom uses I.

"Providing all the funding falls into place, I think we have a good chance of being on the world tour," he said.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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