Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup set for October 6

The final race of the 2010 Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup sailed on the Argo Group Gold Cup course in Hamilton Harbour
Talbot Wilson - Copyright
The Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup is now set for October 6-9 and will cap off the sailing season for young Optimist sailors in Bermuda by giving them a shot at competing against the world’s best. Fifteen countries in addition to Bermuda will have youngsters in the competition sailed in Bermuda’s Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour.

The RenaissanceRe Jr Gold Cup showcases the talent and potential of the island’s youth and their international guests. This is never more evident than in the final race on Hamilton Harbour when Bermuda’s young sailors get to compete against an international cache of champions in front of the spectator fleet gathered to watch the finals of the Argo Group Gold Cup.

With the skipper’s age ranging from twelve to fifteen, the 2011 teams will come from sixteen different countries including New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, Great Britain, Germany, Mexico, the US Virgin Islands, Poland, Singapore and the United States of America to compete.

For some of the youngsters living in Bermuda, the RenRe Jr Gold Cup will mark their first time participating in a major international regatta. For all the sailors involved, it offers a unique chance to both compete on the water and bond as friends off the water. To make the foreign sailors feel comfortable and welcome the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA) host the international visitors in private homes.

'At press time we have sixteen top sailors coming and ten are members of their nation’s 2011 Opti World’s Team and will be going to New Zealand for the IODA World Sailing Championship in late December,' said Dede Cooper, director of the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup.'

'In particular,' Cooper pointed out, 'German National Champion Marvin Frisch who was also first at both the Swiss and Polish Open regattas this Fall as well as fifth at the 2010 IODA Worlds' and New Zealand national champion Leonard Takahashi-Fry, winner of the US and UK Nationals will be here as well as Wade Waddell of the USA who is the 2011 US National Champion and placed 11th at the IODA Worlds.'

'Three-time RenRe Jr Gold Cup female competitor Odile Van Aanholt representing Netherland Antilles who finished in ninth place in the World Championships and was third girl as well will also be racing. Additional competitors include Scott McKenzie of the US Virgin Islands, Matt Whitfield of Great Britain and Bart Lambreix of the Netherlands as well as Matthew Scott of Singapore.' Dede added. 'We are exited to have Singapore compete for the first time in JGC history. Singapore is an incredibly strong and deep sailing country so this is fantastic for the event.'

Additionally, the Jr. Gold Cup be part of Bermuda’s qualification series for the five-sailor Bermuda Team going to the Worlds in New Zealand.

The final race of the 2010 Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup sailed on the Argo Group Gold Cup course in Hamilton Harbour
Talbot Wilson - Copyright

'Bermudians will surely miss current Bermuda National Champion Sam Stan who has retired from Optimist racing,' Cooper continued. 'But following in his footsteps is Makai Joell, 14, who has had the best Bermudian record at International (IODA)events this year finishing 75th at the IODA Worlds and 30th at the IODA South Americans in Chile. Not far behind is Antonio Bailey, 14, finishing 63rd at IODA South Americans. Both these boys have been sailing with BODA well over five years.'

'Rory Caslin, 14, has had a good summer sailing at the International Regatta in the Dominican, the UK Nationals and the Irish Nationals finishing close to the top 20 of all three events. Michael Barit, 15, will return from boarding school to try for Bermuda's Worlds Team. He attended the IODA NAs for Bermuda. Bermuda’s top girl, Ceci Wollmann, 13, sailed throughout Canada this summer. She finished sixth overall at the Canadian National Championship.'

Any one of these sailors could end up with the top Bermuda spot. Right on their heels are Chase Cooper and Mikey Wollmann both who had busy summers sailing overseas. RBYC coach Paul Doughty said, 'Benn Smith, 12, son of three-time Sunfish World Champion Malcolm Smith could find himself in the top five Bermudians making him eligible to attend his first World Championship'.

Local youngsters Matilda Nicholls - nine, and Campbell Patton - ten, have made great strides in their racing over the summer. Matilda won the regatta racing fleet at the UK Nationals and Campbell won his designated fleet at the Canadian Nationals.

The RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup will hold its final race Sunday Oct. 9 on Hamilton Harbour just prior to the Argo Group Gold Cup finals. Competing amidst their sailing heroes, the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup really is more than a chance for youngsters to compete. It is also offers a chance for them to grow and learn on the big stage.

Overseas countries and sailors facing the Bermuda contingent:

AHO (Netherland Antilles) Odile van Aanholt number nine in IODA Worlds Malaysia
CAN Justin Vittecoq - this year's Canadian National Champion
DEN - name as yet unavailable but will be current National number one
GBR - Matthew Whitfield - UK Team Trials winner
GER - Marvin Frisch - German National Champion, number one Swiss Nationals, number one Polish Championships, fifth in IODA Worlds 2010
FIN- Astrid Still – 2010, 2011 top female in Finland
ITA - Francesca Bergamo – number one IODA Girls European Champion
ISV - Scott McKenzie - top sailor there third in the International Regatta held in July in the Dominican
NED - Bart Lambriex – 2010, 2011 National Champion, number one Belgian Championships, number one German National Championships, #15 at IODA Worlds
NZL - Leonard Fry – number one NZL Nationals, US Nationals and UK Nationals
SWE - Oliver Osterberg National number one
SUI - Wolf van Cauwenberghe - Current Swiss National Champion
USA - Wade Waddell, Team Trials winner for USA, US National Champion, #11 IODA Worlds
SIN- Matthew Scott, number two IODA Asian Championships, #14 Singapore Open Championship
MEX- Polo Seifert – details to come
POL – sailor yet to be named but offer accepted