Saturday, 5 June 2010

WMRT: Mathieu Richard Tops Entry List for Argo Group Gold Cup

Seven of nine World Match racing Tour Card team to meet in Bermuda

Ian Williams wins in Bermuda. Supplied image.

by Talbot Wilson

With the Argo Group Gold Cup final entry deadline looming on June 15, French Match Racing Team Skipper Mathieu Richard and Adam Minoprio of Black Match Racing lead the field of entries. Richard tops the world Match Racing Tour standings while Minoprio is ranked #1 on the ISAF list. Richard won the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2007. Minoprio has finished in second place twice and hopes to move up in 2010.

Other Tour Card holders who have entered are Francesco Bruni (Team Azzura), Bjorn Hansen (Hansen Global Team), Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team), Bertrand Pace (Aleph Sailing Team), and 2006 Gold cup winner Ian Williams (Sail Bahrain).

In addition to card holders a group of sailors ranked high by both ISAF and the WMRT and some who are active America’s Cup or the Louis Vitton Series were invited. Those skippers who have accepted to date include Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand), Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson sailing Team), Gavin Brady (Royal Hong Cong YC), Paolo Cian (Team Italia), and Damian Iehl (French Match Racing Team).

The skippers who have applied for an invitation have been advised that a selection committee will review all applications and select the teams to complete 21 of the 24-team field on June 18th. The remaining three entries will go to the winners of three qualifier events, the Knickerbocker Cup, the Detroit Cup and the Bermuda National Match Racing Championship.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is the penultimate event of the ten-stage World Match Racing Tour. Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd, an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in niche areas of the property and casualty market, returns as title sponsor for the third year.

In addition to Argo Group, key sponsors include The Bermuda Department of Tourism as official host, Renaissance Re, Guy Carpenter, and AON. The Hamilton Princess Hotel is offering special packages for Argo Group Gold Cup Week.

Renaissance Re will once again sponsor the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup International Optimist Dinghy regatta sailed in Bermuda’s Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour.

Stage 9 of the World Match Racing Tour

The Argo Group Gold Cup, sailed for the King Edward VII Gold Cup, is now stage 9 of the World Match Race Tour, the ISAF match-racing world championship. The Bermuda classic 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 4 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. In 2008 the cup went to Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson and his Berntsson Racing Team in the final 3-1 victory over Adam Minoprio’s Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Team. In 2009, Team Origin skipper Ben Ainslie etched his name on the coveted Gold Cup.

The Argo Group Gold Cup is the 9th out of 10 events on the 2010 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 include nine official “World Tour Card” teams and three winners of qualifying events, the Knickerbocker Cup, the Detroit Cup and the Bermuda National Match Race Championship. Teams 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 ‘first to three points’ head to head battle and the losing semi finalists in a ‘first to two points’ Petite Final. Between the second and third races, the course is taken over for the final race of the Renaissance Re 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 ten-race series of premier international match race events. It has extensive television coverage and worldwide promotion reaching more than 600 million households in excess of 100 countries.

Argo Group Gold Cup
World Match Racing Tour