Argo Group Gold Cup - Canfield to lead world’s top skippers

Taylor Canfield (USVI) with his USone crew led Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team
In next week’s Argo Group Gold Cup, returning champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) Team USone will lead the world’s top 11 ISAF match race skippers. They will be joined by Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX, ranked third on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT), and unranked Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR) BART in their quest for the King Edward VII Trophy and $50,000 of the $100,000 prize purse.

Four more of the 20 skippers are ranked in the ISAF top 30. All eight of the Tour Cardholders will be racing in Bermuda, the penultimate stage fiveof the Tour.

Sailing in the 2011 Argo Group Gold Cup at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton Bermuda

Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rosa also returns after an absence from match racing on the Tour. He is ranked 177 by ISAF, but has the potential to be in the money and has performed well in the classic IOD sailboats raced in Bermuda.

Ian Williams (GBR) and Adam Minoprio (NZ) at the the start of one of their matches

Five of the 2013 Gold Cup skippers are returning champions. Canfield returns to defend his 2012 title. Ainslie won in 2009 and 2010. Jonnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team hoisted the Gold Cup in 2008, Mathieu Richard (FR) GEFCO Match Racing Team won in 2007 and Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar took the prize in 2006.

'The Argo Group Gold Cup is a great event on the AWMRT,' Canfield said in an interview earlier this year. 'It allows younger up and coming teams to get a taste of the tour and a chance to compete against the best in the world. Having sailed in three Argo Gold Cup's as a non tour card holder, we are really looking forward to return as a part of the AWMRT.'

'While the boats— classic, full-keeled IODs— are quite unique compared to boats in any other venue,' Canfield noted, 'the variety of sailing conditions and beautiful, but variable weather make this event one of the best in the world. Bermuda has been an incredible place to sail. I started in the RenRe Junior Gold Cup and now I’m going back to Bermuda as the defending champion… It’s a dream.'

With 20 teams entered this year, the fleet will be divided into two groups of 10 teams. Skippers in each group are ranked and divided by Alpari World Match Racing Tour officials and the organizers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. They will sail a qualifying round-robin series to determine who moves up the ladder towards the Sunday finals.

The Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup is scheduled for Oct 10 – 12 in Bermuda’s Great Sound and concludes on the Hamilton Harbour Gold Cup course Sunday, Oct 13. With 13 international champions from 17 countries overall, the world’s best will compete in a regatta that includes some 40 Bermudians ranging in age from nine to 15. For more on the Jr Gold Cup, go to Gold Cup Website.

Day 2 racing in the Argo Group Gold Cup sailed out of the Royal Bermuda YC. Credit Talbot Wilson

The King Edward VII Gold Cup