King Edward VII Gold Cup gets underway

International One Design (IOD) class boat used in the Bermuda Gold Cup
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Racing in the King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group gets under way on a breezy morning on Hamilton Harbour. All twenty-four teams entered in the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup got in their two hours of practice Monday, met for a briefing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, then headed off for the Opening Reception at Bacardi International just up the harbour.

Sailors were welcomed at the reception by the Managing Director of Bacardi, Michael Brennen, the RBYC Commodore Ralph Richardson, Mark E. Watson chairman and CEO of Argo Group, and Bermuda’s Deputy Governor Mark Capes.

The eight International One Design (IOD) class boats used in the Gold Cup have all been freshly hauled and fitted with their color coded running rigging used especially for this regatta. The sails are brand new this year reflecting the presence of a new title sponsor, Argo Group.

The King Edward VII Bermuda Gold Cup presented by Argo Group and organized by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton, Bermuda, will be sailed from 6 to 12 October IOD and competitors will be vying for a prize purse of US$100,000. The Gold Cup is stage 8 on the World Match Racing Tour.

The three groupings for Stage 1 of the 2008 King Edward VII Gold Cup presented by Argo Group were announced last Friday. Mathieu Richard (FRA) standing first in the ISAF Match Racing rankings and third in the World Match Racing Tour tops Group 1. Ian Williams (GBR), second on the ISAF list and first on the Tour, heads up Group 2. Last week’s winner of the Troia Portugal Match Cup, Sebastian Col (FRA), ranked seventh by ISAF but holding second on the Tour, tops Group 3.

Who’s Entered – 24 teams including 8 of the top 10 from the current Tour leader board, the current World Tour leader Ian Williams, the current ISAF No 1 ranked skipper Mathieu Richard and three teams representing America’s Cup syndicates including triple Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie.

Stage 8 of the World Match Race Tour

The King Edward VII Gold Cup, now stage 8 of the World Match Race Tour sailed for the match-racing world championship, is the oldest match-racing competition in the world for one-design yachts. The trophy presented to the winning team was originally given at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907 by King Edward VII in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America. C. Sherman Hoyt, a renowned American sailor, won the regatta and was presented with this now historic cup.

Through the years Bermuda has won the Cup 21 times, the United States 17 times, New Zealand 10 times, Australia 5 times, the United Kingdom 3 times, and in 2002 Denmark claimed the King Edward VII Gold Cup for the first time.

The 2006 winner was Ian Williams (UK) who defeated a fleet including the 2005 winner, Luna Rosa Skipper James Spithill, who in that year had shut out Russell Coutts’ incredible string of wins. Mathieu Richard of France became the third consecutive first-time winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup in 2007.

King Edward VII Gold Cup - Entry List

Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K Challenge
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing
Damien Iehl (FRA French Match Racing Team
Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA)
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Eric Monnin (SUI) Search.ch
Keith Swinton (AUS)
Christopher Van Tol (USA)
Rasmus Viltoft (DEN)
Takumi Nakamura (JPN)
David Perry (USA)
Andrew Horton (USA)
Brian Angel (USA)
Jon Singsen (USA)
Blythe Walker (BER)
Donald Wilson (USA)
Erik Koppernaes (CAN)
Sally Barkow (USA)