Heat coming to Bermuda Gold Cup
Published on May 4th, 2023
The 2023 World Match Racing Tour got underway in California with the Ficker Cup and Congressional Cup, setting forth the 23rd consecutive season to crisscross the planet before Royal Bermuda Yacht Club hosts the penultimate event – the 71st edition of the Bermuda Gold Cup on October 2-7.
Held on Hamilton Harbour, just off the docks of the 178-year-old club, the Bermuda Gold Cup was last held in 2020 when it was also the Open Match Racing World Championship. In that final, Taylor Canfield (USA) defeated Ian Williams (GBR) to capture his third Bermuda Gold Cup and second Open Match Racing World Championship.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have the Bermuda Gold Cup back on the international sailing calendar,” said Jon Corless, a Past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the chairperson of this year’s Gold Cup. “It was a challenge to pull off the 2020 Gold Cup in the year of COVID, and the virus had a lasting impact the past couple of years in Bermuda. We’re looking forward to a competitive regatta with many familiar faces, the world’s top match racers.”
The intended field of 16 teams includes Canfield and Williams, who’ve combined for five Gold Cup championships, and Chris Poole’s (USA), the winner of the 2023 Congressional Cup where he went undefeated in 24 races.
Long-time skippers Johnnie Berntsson (SWE), a two-time champion and four-time runner-up, and Eric Monnin (SUI) are also set to return. The duo, together with Williams, are among the all-time competitors at the Gold Cup, with a combined 39 appearances between them.
Other confirmed entrants include Pauline Courtois (FRA), returning for her third consecutive Gold Cup. Two other entrants are Jeppe Borch (DEN) Borch and Harry Price (AUS). Borch (2020) and Price (2019) are the past two recipients of the Jordy Walker Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most improved sailor at the regatta, and both are back for their second trip to the Gold Cup.
The preliminary entrant list also includes a quartet of skippers who’ll be competing in Bermuda for the first time: Ted Blowers’s (GBR), Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), Peter Holz (USA), and Dave Hood (USA). Egnot-Johnson, the reigning match racing world champion, was scheduled to make his debut in 2020, but was unable to attend due to the COVID pandemic. One entrant will be the winner of the Oakcliff International, scheduled September 5-9 in Oyster Bay, New York.
The regatta will be sailed in the 33-foot International One-Design (IOD) sloop, a 1936 design with long bow and stern overhangs and a keel-hung rudder. The format for the regatta will consist of a round robin, repechage, quarterfinal, semifinal, petite final, and final rounds.
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 winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.
Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Ian Williams (GBR).
Since inception, 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.