Forging friendships, Testing seamanship

Published on May 7th, 2019

The RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup returns for the 17th year of forging friendships and testing seamanship for youth Optimist sailors around the world. The goal was to create a world class youth regatta in Bermuda to give local sailors the opportunity to race against some of the best in the world on their home waters.

The entry criteria mirrors that of the Olympics where only one entry per nation is permitted to race, making the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup more select than even the Optimist World Championship. Due to this format the young sailors make new friendships that might not otherwise happen when travelling with a team of compatriots.

“The uniqueness of the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup means that friendships are forged that last well into the sailors’ lives,” said event chairwoman Dede Cooper, who has run the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup since 2009. “The sailors forge friendships and carry memories that last well beyond their years in the Optimist.”

The 2019 edition will be May 8 to 11, with an added bonus is how the event is held alongside the world’s best match racers sailing in the 2019 Argo Group Gold Cup.

Professional sailors such as Taylor Canfield, originally from the US Virgin Islands, sailed the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup and now is in line to skipper and America’s Cup challenging syndicate. Another, Nicklas Dackhammar of Sweden, raced last year’s Volvo Ocean Race.

This year Kelsey Durham is representing the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in the Argo Group Gold Cup as the 2019 Bermuda National Match Racing champion. And Emily Nagel, also a past Junior Gold Cup competitor, will crew for Chris Poole.

“As far as I know, there’s no other Optimist regatta or even youth regatta like this in the world,” Cooper continued. “We owe huge thanks to our sponsor, RenaissanceRe, who has supported the regatta from Day 1. Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to bring the world together on our tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”

This year’s RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup features a total of 34 sailors, including 20 Bermudians and 14 international sailors from five different continents. More than 30 percent of the fleet is female, a trend that began last year, and there are four first-time entries from the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Israel and Peru.

Among the 20 Bermudians entered are five who will be heading to the Optimist World Championship later this year in Antigua: Christian Ebbin, Laura Hupman, Sebastian Kempe, Magnus Ringsted and Nicole Stovell. They will be joined there by 12 of the 2019 overseas Junior Gold Cup competitors.

Racing for the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup begins on Great Sound with the final race scheduled for Hamilton Harbour.

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International Entries:
Yanne Broers (NED), Matheo Capasso (CAY), Tadeo Funes de Rioja (ARG), Henry Heathcote (GBR), Mikkel Krogh (DEN), Marie Mazuay (SUI), Eddie Reid (AUS), George Lee Rush (NZL), Rafaela Salvatore (CHI), Ma’ayan Shemesh (ISR), Jonathan Siegel (USA), Maria Gracia Vegas Trivelli (PER), Joshua Weech (BAH), Theo Westerlind (SWE)

Bermudian Entries:
Christian Ebbin, Laura Hupman, Sebastian Kempe, Magnus Ringsted, Nicole Stovell, Ava Adams, Ava Rosser, Ben Redburn, Ciarra Wells, Isaac Wickramage, Jack Adderley, Jacque Stefani, Kipling Rossouw, Millie, Lewis, PJ Rodrigues, Rachael Betschart, Sarah Davis, Sophia Dias and Trystan Hocking.

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