2008 Gold Cup News

by Talbot Wilson

HAMILTON BERMUDA, October 3, 2008- The three groupings for Stage 1 of the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group were announced Friday.  Mathieu Richard (FRA) standing first in the ISAF Match Racing rankings and third in the World Match Racing Tour tops Group 1. Ian Williams (GBR), second on the ISAF list and first on the Tour, heads up Group 2. Last week’s winner of the Troia Portugal Match Cup, Sebastian Col (FRA), ranked seventh by ISAF but holding second on the Tour, tops Group 3. Group details are available at http://www.bermudagoldcup.com/ under Skippers.

Racing on Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbour starts on Tuesday October 7. The first stage will see round robin competition within the three groups. Round robin Flights 1-3 will sail Tuesday, round robin Flights 4-6 are scheduled for Wednesday and the final flight is Thursday morning.

The top two teams from each group move on to the Quarter finals and the third and fourth place finishers in each group sail off in a “repecharge” round robin on Thursday afternoon for their second chance to win one of the last two Quarter final slots.  Following the Quarter finals on Friday, winners move into the semi finals on Saturday and the top two go to the finals on Sunday. There is a $100,000 prize purse with $50,000 going to the winner, $20,000 for second and $10,000 for third. Fourth through eighth divide the remainder. Winners in the Gold Cup will earn valuable points toward the World Match Racing Tour Championship. Sebastian Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge have closed to within only 4 points of current leader and reigning World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his Team Pindar. The series counts the highest-scoring five events plus scores from the Monsoon Cup towards this year’s World Championship crown. The World Tour will award the ISAF Match Racing World Championship Trophy supplied by Wedgwood to the winner at the 2008 Monsoon Cup in Malaysia

Also scheduled during the week are the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup for international Optimist Dinghy sailors, a Pro-Am Regatta for skippers and sponsors and the first annual Festival of Sail in Barr’s Park adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  It will be a busy week for all of the club volunteers who make this fantastic event possible.

October seventh will mark the sixtieth time the King Edward VII Gold Cup trophy has been contested. For 2008, Argo Group, the Bermuda based international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty market, will sponsor the competition. In addition to Argo Group, the new title sponsor, the Bermuda Department of Tourism continues as the Host Sponsor, the Max Capital Group, Renaissance Reinsurance and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC are aboard as associate presenting sponsors.  Renaissance Reinsurance is also the sponsor of the Junior Gold Cup.

About The King Edward VII Gold Cup: http://www.bermudagoldcup.com
Stage 8 of the World Match Race Tour

The King Edward VII Gold Cup, now stage 8 of the World Match Race Tour sailed for the match-racing world championship, is the oldest match-racing competition in the world for one-design yachts. The trophy presented to the winning team was originally given at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907 by King Edward VII in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America. C. Sherman Hoyt, a renowned American sailor, won the regatta and was presented with this now historic cup.

Through the years Bermuda has won the Cup 21 times, the United States 17 times, New Zealand 10 times, Australia 5 times, the United Kingdom 3 times, and in 2002 Denmark claimed the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the first time. The 2006 winner was Ian Williams (UK) who defeated a fleet including the 2005 winner, Luna Rosa Skipper James Spithill, who in that year had shut out Russell Coutts’ incredible string of wins.  Mathieu Richard of France became the third consecutive first-time winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2007.

The King Edward VII Gold Cup is the 8th out of 9 events on the 2008 World Match Race Tour’s World Championship schedule. It is sailed in Hamilton Harbour adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The venue brings world-class match racing close to shore where spectators can easily see the competition.  
The 24 invited crews including two winners of qualifying events will be divided into three groups of 8 to sail a round robin elimination series Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The leading 8 skippers go on to the Quarter and Semi Finals, to be sailed on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The Finals take place on Sunday with the top two teams in a “Knockout” head to head battle and the losing semi finalists in   their own “Knockout” Petite Final. Between the second and third races, the course is taken over for the final race of the Renaissance Junior Gold Cup, which will have been underway simultaneously since Thursday in the Great Sound.
The King Edward VII Gold Cup was a founding member of the World Match Racing Tour. The tour is a series of 9 events, which has extensive television coverage and worldwide promotion. The television broadcast of the 2007 event appeared in November on Eurosport, ESPN, Versus Network, the Sky network and other regional broadcasters. This network reaches more than 300 million homes in 90 countries. An exciting summary video of all the tour events can be viewed at http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com/.

About Argo Group: http://www.argolimited.com/
Headquartered in Bermuda, Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NasdaqGS: AGII) is an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty market. Argo Group offers a full line of high-quality products and services designed to meet the unique coverage and claims handling needs of businesses in four primary segments: Excess and Surplus Lines, Commercial Specialty, International Specialty and Reinsurance.  Information on Argo Group and its subsidiaries is available at www.argolimited.com.

About The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club: http://www.rbyc.bm
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a private Club and is the third oldest club holding a Royal Warrant outside the British Isles.  The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club was established on the 1st of November 1844 by a party of thirty gentlemen, consisting largely of officers in the British Army.  There are now approximately 850 resident and non-resident members.

About the World Match Racing Tour:  http://www.worldmatchracingtour.com/
• The World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional sailing series featuring nine World Championship events across the globe.
• The World Tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status.
• The World Tour awards over US$1million in prize money.
• Points are awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the season ending ‘ISAF Match Racing World Champion.’
• Events utilize the same “match race” format used in the America’s Cup with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which places a focus on teamwork and skill.
• Racing takes place close to the shore for the general public to follow the races as virtual on-the-water stadiums.
• Media and television highlights coverage reaches over 500 million households in excess of 90 countries around the world.
• World Match Racing Tour sponsors include Line 7, Pindar, Custom House, Travel Places, Wedgwood and Sail.TV.

For information on the World Match Racing Tour:
Yvonne Reid Force 10 Marketing
Tel: +44 (0) 1590 679613 Mob: +44 (0) 7809 149268
Website: www.worldmatchracingtour.com

For King Edward VII Gold Cup Media Contact:
Talbot Wilson, Talbot Wilson & Associates, Inc.
Tel: +1 (850)432-8170 Fax: +1 (850)432-8050  Mob: +1 (850)217-7138
SKYPE: talbotwilson

For Argo Group Contact
Wendy Davis Johnson
Mob: +1 441-300-3719 Direct +1 441-278-3719

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
Tel: (441) 295 2214 Ex 105
Fax:(441) 295 6361