Field complete for Argo Group Gold Cup

Published on April 30th, 2019

Kelsey Durham

Hamilton, Bermuda (April 30, 2019) – The 12-team field for the 2019 Argo Group Gold Cup match race regatta has been completed with the addition of Bermudian Kelsey Durham, the 2019 Bermuda Match Racing National Champion.

Durham, 25, of Smiths, will race in the World Sailing Grade One event with Stevie Dickinson (St. George’s), Heath Foggo (St. George’s) and Campbell Duffy (Warwick).

The 69th competition for the revered King Edward VII Gold Cup trophy, scheduled May 6-11 and hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, features a sterling lineup that includes the Women’s World No. 1, Pauline Courtois of France, and No. 6, Lucy Macgregor of Great Britain, and the top five in the Open Rankings including Eric Monnin of Switzerland, Ian Williams of Great Britain, Harry Price of Australia, Ettore Botticini of Italy, and Maxime Mesnil of France.

Durham began sailing at age 7 and has had a diverse career in a short time frame. He raced an Optimist dinghy as a youth and competed in the Bermuda Optimist National Championship, Optimist North American Championship, Optimist South American Championship, and the Optimist US Nationals.

During his high school years, Durham attended Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire) in the U.S. where he was a skipper on the varsity team for all four years, helping the team to a sixth-place finish at the 2011 High School Nationals.

In Bermuda, Durham has raced the local International One-Design (IOD, same boat used in the Argo Group Gold Cup) fleet and competed in the grueling Red Bull Youth America’s Cup Team trials. Last year he skippered Victory IV in Bermuda’s Fitted Dinghy racing season and placed fourth overall. Durham has also completed an ocean passage on the 112-foot sail-training vessel Spirit of Bermuda.

Durham has greater experience in team racing (three boats-on-three) as opposed to match racing (one boat-on-one), but after several years at the helm of an IOD he’s ready for the challenge of racing against the world’s best.

“It’s going to be a very challenging regatta,” admitted Durham. “I am sailing against professional skippers that sail and train every day. They do this for a living so I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’m up for the challenge. I feel comfortable sailing the IOD and getting it going, but the crew also has to be on point as they play a big role getting the necessary speed and boathandling needed around the course.”

Durham is one of three skippers aged 25 or younger in the regatta, the others being Botticini and Price, both aged 23. The 69th Argo Group Gold Cup also features two very successful women skippers in Courtois and Macgregor.

While Courtois is making her debut in Bermuda Macgregor is hoping to break into the Argo Group Gold Cup’s winner’s circle in her third attempt. The two-time women’s world champion had a magical run at last year’s event, placing fourth overall in the best showing ever by a women’s crew. She comes into this year’s event more on the rusty side.

“Last year feels like a long time ago and I have only done one match race event since then so I am just looking forward to being back on the water and racing against some of the best teams in the world, although I’m not looking forward to how out of practice I’m going to feel,” said Macgregor. “From last year, in general we were starting well but sometimes lost a little in the first couple of tacks so that will certainly be something for us to work on.”

Monnin’s Swiss Match Racing Team comes into the Argo Group Gold Cup as the new World No. 1, having leapfrogged Williams in the latest rankings. The 43-year-old Monnin, who’ll be racing his 12th Argo Group Gold Cup, posted two firsts and a second in three Grade 1 match race events over the past year and comes in with abundant experience of Hamilton Harbour.

“The Argo Group Gold Cup has been very welcoming to newcomers through the years, with qualifiers and a format that allows for a high number of teams,” said Monnin, who placed second overall in 2014. “We were able to participate very early in our match racing career and liked the event a lot because it is special in many aspects. The history of the event is impressive as well as the traditional boats.

“We’ve performed well in Bermuda, but have never managed to win. The field of competition is always outstanding and to win this event is a real challenge.”

Current entry list:*
• Johnie Berntsson (SWE) – World No. 24, 10th Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2008, ’14).
• Ettore Botticini (ITA) – World No. 4, second Argo Group Gold Cup, reigning Youth Match Racing World champion.
• Pauline Courtois (FRA) – Women’s World No. 1, first Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) – World No. 7, third Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Kelsey Durham (BER) – Bermuda National Match Racing champion, first Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Lucy Macgregor (GBR) – Women’s World No. 6, third Argo Group Gold Cup, reigning three-time Women’s Match Racing World champion.
• Maxime Mesnil (FRA) – World No. 5, first Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Torvar Mirsky (AUS) – World No. 10, fifth Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2011), reigning Match Racing World champion.
• Eric Monnin (SUI) – World No. 1, 12th Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Chris Poole (USA) – World No. 13, fifth Argo Group Gold Cup.
• Harry Price (AUS) – World No. 3, 2017 Youth Match Racing World Champion.
• Ian Williams (GBR) – World No. 2, 11th Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2006), six-time Match Racing World champion.
* World Sailing Match Racing rankings as of Apr. 10, 2019.

Event details:

The Argo Group Gold Cup is pre-dated by only the America’s Cup. The Gold Cup trophy was first presented in 1907 by King Edward VII at the Tri-Centenary Regatta, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America in Jamestown, Virginia. The Gold Cup was awarded as a match racing trophy in 1937 and 2019 marks the 69th running of the event organized by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Source: Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

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