Bermuda rejoins 2020 World Match Racing Tour
Published on September 17th, 2019
The Argo Group Gold Cup, one of the most storied match racing regattas in the world, will rejoin the World Match Racing Tour for its 70th competition next year, scheduled May 11-16, 2020.
Hosted by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the event returns after a four-year hiatus during which the tour was owned by a catamaran manufacturer as a marketing tool to sell boats. However, the tour has been under new ownership since earlier this year, and the Argo Group Gold Cup, a flagship event for the tour before its hiatus, is the first event to join the tour as it reassembles.
Looking forward, the World Match Racing Tour will be returning to its broader business model with a collective of world championship level events, including the Argo Group Gold Cup, and qualifier events that will comprise the tour season. Points accumulated at the events will lead to the crowning of the Open Match Racing World Champion as sanctioned by World Sailing.
“The Gold Cup has carved out its place in the match racing calendar by providing thrilling racing within meters of the shoreline for spectators to see and first-class hospitality,” said Leatrice Oatley, event chairperson and a Past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
“The continued support of Argo Group and rejoining the World Match Racing Tour reinforce the prestige associated with the King Edward VII Gold Cup.”
Earlier this year, Ian Williams of Great Britain became the 12th multiple time winner when he defeated Johnie Berntsson of Sweden in the final. For Williams it was his second title in Bermuda and ranked him alongside luminaries such as Ben Ainslie of Great Britain, Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Chris Dickson of New Zealand and Berntsson as two-time winners.
“When I was getting into match racing, this was the first big event I came to in 1998. This was the one you really wanted to win,” said the 42-year-old Williams after his victory on May 11. “To win in 2006 was huge for us, it was our first big win. I’ve been coming back since and always fell at the final hurdle. We traditionally struggle here. To win for the first time in 13 years is incredible.”
America’s Cup legend Russell Coutts of New Zealand, a five-time winner of the Auld Mug, is the Argo Group Gold Cup all-time winner with seven victories.
An expected field of 12 teams will battle for the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the oldest match racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts that dates to 1907, and a $100,000 prize purse. Invitations to the 70th Argo Group Gold Cup will be issued later this year.
Background: Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The World Tour represents a series of independently organized and officially sanctioned match racing events which are used to award prize money and the Match Racing World Championship title.
Source: WMRT, Scuttlebutt