By Talbot Wilson
HAMILTON BERMUDA, October 7, 2008: Racing in the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group gets under way on a breezy morning on Hamilton Harbour today. All twenty-four teams entered in the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup got in their two hours of practice Monday, met for a briefing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, then headed off for the Opening Reception at Bacardi International just up the harbour.
Sailors were welcomed at the reception by the Managing Director of Bacardi, Michael Brennen, the RBYC Commodore Ralph Richardson, Mark E. Watson chairman and CEO of Argo Group, and Bermuda’s Deputy Governor Mark Capes.
Watson welcomed the sailors and reiterated his comments from earlier last week, “This is the 101st Gold Cup held in Bermuda. As the event enters its second century, it’s imbued with history, tradition and a reputation for excellence that has literally been burnished in over 100 years of competition. Continuing to host a prestigious event like this in Bermuda reinforces the Island’s reputation as one of the best sailing destinations in the world. “Sailing is Bermuda’s unofficial national sport, Watson continued. “and while thousands of young people are currently involved in sailing, we feel there is a huge opportunity to increase those numbers. Sailing promotes self-reliance, discipline and team work – all those traits that parents want their children to develop in order to be self-sufficient adults. It’s a great character-builder, you can sail year-round in Bermuda and it’s a lot of fun. We hope the Festival of Sail will prompt more young people in Bermuda to get involved in the sport.”
The eight International One Design (IOD) class boats used in the Gold Cup have all been freshly hauled and fitted with their color coded running rigging used especially for this regatta. The sails are brand new this year reflecting the presence of a new title sponsor, Argo Group.
The King Edward VII Bermuda Gold Cup presented by Argo Group and organized by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton, Bermuda, will be sailed from October 6-12 2008 in the International One Design (IOD) and competitors will be vying for a prize purse of $100,000.00. The Gold Cup is stage 8 on the World Match Racing Tour.
Who’s Entered – 24 teams including 8 of the top 10 from the current Tour leader board, the current World Tour leader Ian Williams, the current ISAF No 1 ranked skipper Mathieu Richard and three teams representing America’s Cup syndicates including triple Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie.
Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing
Damien Iehl (FRA French Match Racing Team
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA)
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch
Keith Swinton (AUS)
Christopher Van Tol (USA)
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN)
Takumi Nakamura (JPN)
David Perry (USA)
Andrew Horton (USA)
Brian Angel (USA)
Jon Singsen (USA)
Blythe Walker (BER)
Donald Wilson (USA)
Erik Koppernaes (CAN)
Sally Barkow (USA)
About Stage 8
The top sailors of the world will be making their way to Bermuda for the penultimate event on the World Match Racing Tour 2008 – King Edward VII Bermuda Gold Cup. A very strong line up with 8 of the top 10 from the Tour leader board in a scramble for Match Racing World Championship points – With 24 teams in three groups all trying to squeeze into the knockout rounds it’s going to be a really tough event to win.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club also host the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup this week and with the Bermuda Festival of Sail being held over the finals weekend there will be something for everyone both on and off the water. The natural amphitheatre that is Hamilton Harbour combined with excellent wind conditions will make for a spectacular sporting occasion.