aug11 fraser sBy Colin Thompson, the Royal Gazette

Bermuda will once again be represented by two teams in the Argo Group Gold Cup in October in Hamilton Harbour.

Gold Cup organisers confirmed yesterday that local helmsman Lance Fraser has accepted an invitation to compete in the event sanctioned by the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT).

Fraser was invited to take part in the Gold Cup as a result of being the top-ranked match-race sailor in Bermuda and 57th in the world, according to the latest ISAF rankings.

The Bermudian was unable to compete for the sole qualifying spot up for grabs at the National Match Racing Championship last month because of overseas work commitments.

The invitation to compete became available to Fraser after others declined.

Fraser and his Team Digicel Business Match Racing team-mates are no strangers to the Gold Cup, having competed last year. He received an invite on that occasion as well and made the most of the opportunity by upstaging Johnie Berntsson, the former Gold Cup winner from Sweden, during the group stage. He finished the group stage with three wins and failed to advance to the quarter-finals.

Bermuda was also represented last year by Joshua Greenslade, whose sole win came against past Gold Cup winner Mathieu Richard, of France, during the group stage.

The other helmsman flying Bermuda’s banner this year is Somers Kempe, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore, who qualified by winning the national championship.

The Gold Cup will be held from October 21 to 26 and again contested for in the International One Design in Hamilton Harbour. The event will be sailed with the same 20-team format used for the first time last year. The format is unique on the AWMRT, as it allows for two ten-team groups.

Each group will sail a round robin, with the top four teams advancing to the quarter-finals. Helmsmen in each group are ranked and divided by AWMRT officials and the organisers at the RBYC.

Francesco Bruni, last year’s champion, is returning to defend his title. The Italian defeated Olympic great Sir Ben Ainslie 3-2 in an enthralling final last year to become the first from his country to win the prestigious King Edward VII Gold Cup.