70th Bermuda Gold Cup a go
Published on September 1st, 2020
Hamilton, Bermuda (September 1, 2020) – After months of careful consideration the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club confirmed last night that the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup for the King Edward VII trophy will take place October 26-30 on Hamilton Harbour with a full 16-team lineup expected.
Originally scheduled in May, the Bermuda Gold Cup – an event of the World Match Racing Tour – was postponed in March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which closed Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport to foreign visitors.
In late May, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club announced that the $100,000 match racing regatta was rescheduled to late October in the hope that the virus might be more manageable. At a meeting of the club’s Executive Committee last week, event chairperson Leatrice Oatley recommended the regatta go ahead and the committee confirmed: the Bermuda Gold Cup will be raced Oct ober 26-30 barring any setbacks due to the coronavirus.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to make this announcement,” said Oatley, who’s also a Past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “It’s been a long, few months since we had to postpone the 70th Gold Cup and we’ve had many, many meetings about the viability of holding it in October.
“We’ve paid close attention to travel restrictions as well as quarantine and social distancing guidelines around the world and in Bermuda in particular, and we feel that conditions have improved enough to allow us to host this regatta that everyone loves attending.”
The airport re-opened at the beginning of July and the Bermuda Government has initiated a robust testing and tracing program. Visitors to the 21-square-mile island must get tested before leaving home and then again upon arrival on the island, at which point they must quarantine at their island residence until the test results are returned, typically in 8 to 12 hours. Visitors must also complete a travel authorization form and have proof of overseas medical insurance.
Oatley said that she has been in touch with all of the skippers who originally accepted invites to the planned May regatta. Nearly three-quarters of those skippers have said they will honor that commitment. The remaining are considering factors such as local quarantine rules and global travel hurdles in making their decision.
“We’re still planning a 16-team event,” said Oatley, “and to date we’ve got about 10 to 12 confirmations. It’s up to the skipper and crew to decide if they feel it’s safe enough to travel. A couple of the skippers have expressed concerns that it’s too difficult to travel from where they are located and we would miss them if they don’t attend, but this is a professional sporting event. The PGA Tour plans to hold its tournament in Bermuda in late October as well and we feel that is good precedent for hosting our regatta.”
Included on the preliminary entrant list is the reigning event champion Ian Williams (Lymington, England), who won his second Bermuda Gold Cup title last year over Johnie Berntsson (Stenungsund, Sweden). The 43-year-old father of two said that he considered many factors in determining that it was safe to travel to Bermuda.
“I think it’s important to assess the risk in two ways,” said Williams, whose two children are aged 2 and 5 years old. “There’s the immediate risk of catching the virus and passing it on to friends and family. My opinion is that the risk, while not zero, is low enough both in terms of the chances of catching the virus, and in terms of the likely impact if I do. As well as other risk mitigation, in particular we take extra precautions with my parents-in-law when I return from trips abroad.
“The other risk is the responsibility we all have to society to not be a conduit for the virus, which could contribute to community transmission,” Williams continued. “In that regard, I believe our main duty is to follow the rules set by the appropriate authorities. I’ve looked at Bermuda’s immigration protocols and am happy with the effort they’re undertaking, which appears to have been highly effective thus far.”
The King Edward VII Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Bermuda Gold Cup, is the oldest trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts. First presented in 1907 by King Edward VII at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Va., honoring the 300th anniversary of the first permanent colony in America, the trophy is the only King’s Cup ever to be offered for competition in the United States which could be won outright.
Entry list before postponement:
• Bermuda National Match Racing Champion (to be determined)
• Johnie Berntsson (49, Stenungsund, Sweden) – World No. 7 Open Match Race Rankings,
• Taylor Canfield (31, Miami, USA) – World No. 31 Open Match Race Rankings, 7th , two-time winner (2018, ’12)
• Pauline Courtois (30, Brest, France) – World No. 1 Women’s Match Race Rankings, 2nd King Edward VII Gold Cup
• Nicklas Dackhammar (30, Gothenburg, Sweden) – World No. 15 Open Match Race Rankings, 4th , 6th place 2018
• Nick Egnot-Johnson (21, Auckland, New Zealand) – World No. 2 Open Match Race Rankings, first New Zealand Match Racing Championship, Nespresso Youth Match Racing Championship and Match Race Germany
• Lance Fraser (26, Toronto, Canada) – World No. 38 Open Match Race Rankings, 6th
• Tom Grimes (21, Belmont, New South Wales, Australia) – World No. 18 Open Match Race Rankings, reigning Youth Match Racing World Champion, 1st King Edward VII Gold Cup
• Maxime Mesnil (30, Le Havre, France) – World No. 4 Open Match Race Rankings, 2nd King Edward VII Gold Cup
• Torvar Mirsky (33, Sydney, Australia) – World No. 27 Open Match Race Rankings, 5th King Edward VII Gold Cup, 5th place in 2019
• Eric Monnin (44, Immensee, Switzerland) – World No. 1 Open Match Race Rankings, 13th , 8th place in 2019
• Anna Östling (35, Lerum, Sweden) – World No. 2 Women’s Match Race Rankings, World No. 36 Open Match Race Rankings, first King Edward VII Gold Cup, two-time Women’s Match Racing World champion
• Harry Price (24, Sydney, Australia) – World No. 5 Open Match Race Rankings, 2nd , 3rd place in 2019,
• Jelmer van Beek (25, The Hague, Netherlands) – World No. 11 Open Match Race Rankings, 1st King Edward VII Gold Cup
• Ian Williams (42, Lymington, England) – World No. 3 Open Match Race Rankings, 12th King Edward VII Gold Cup, two-time champion (2019, ’06), six-time Match Racing Worlds champion
• Patryk Zbroja (42, Szczecin, Poland) – World No. 9 Open Match Race Rankings, 1st King Edward VII Gold Cup, 2018 Polish Open Match Racing Champion
(Rankings based on Jan. 8, 2020 World Sailing Rankings – Match Racing)
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. Teams accumulate points from each of the events towards an overall WMRT global ranking, the top twelve teams from which compete in the WMRT Championship Finals at the end of the season.
2020 World Match Racing Tour Schedule: click here
The WMRT takes place in identically supplied racing yachts which change for each event and has been awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing. The winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.
Previous Champions include Bertrand Pace (FRA), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jesper Radich (DEN), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Ian Williams (GBR), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Torvar Mirsky (AUS).
Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com