September 13, 2012: HAMILTON, BERMUDA - With the first day of racing at the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup less than three weeks away, the 7th and penultimate stage of the Alpari World Mach Racing Tour is set to showcase the most international teams ever at a single Tour event. Ten of the skippers are newcomers to Bermuda and will be new to sailing the classic International One Design Class sloops, challenging boats that even the most experienced sailors find difficult to master.
International teams entered this year represent five continents— North and South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. Teams hail from 16 countries that include three skippers from Sweden, and two each from Bermuda, Great Britain and New Zealand. Other skippers come to Bermuda from the Canada, the USA, the US Virgin Islands, Brazil, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, and Russia. Complete team information is available on the Gold Cup web site: http://www.argogroupgoldcup.com/skippers-mainmenu-86.
“We have a fantastic entry of two ISAF Match Racing World Champions, Tour Card Holders and some of the top teams from around the world,” said Chairman Brian Billings, “we are confident that this will be another fantastic event for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. We have 22 of the 24 entry slots filled to date.”
“We’ll have a lot of new faces, two previous Argo Group Gold Cup champions and a host of others who have performed well in past years,” Billings added. “The current top two on the Tour will be aboard, but they will challenged in every race. They will need to sail smart and fast to carry through and put their name on the King Edward VII Gold Cup and put the $50,000 first-place purse in their pocket.”
“We’ll have a lot of new faces, two previous Argo Group Gold Cup champions and a host of others who have performed well in past years,” Billings added. “The current top two on the Tour will be aboard, but they will be challenged in every race. They will need to sail smart and fast to carry through and put their name on the King Edward VII Gold Cup and put the $50,000 first-place purse in their pocket.”
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) of Mekonomen Sailing Team currently leads Ian Williams (GBR) of Team GAC Pindar on the Tour leaderboard by 6-points and the pair will be top seeds at the event. Johnie Berntsson’s (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, now 8th on the Tour, will head a group of other top competitors including Staffan Lindberg (FIN) ranked 13th by ISAF, Taylor Canfield (ISV) of Team CMRC and William Tiller (NZL) tied at 15th under ISAF, Eric Monnin’s (SUI) Swiss Match Racing Team is 17th and newcomer Marek Stanczyk (POL) rounds out the top 20 under ISAF rankings.
Two teams represent Bermuda. Blythe Walker Team RenRe has been in the money several times—including a 4th in 2007 and a 7th in 2009 and he is seriously looking for a better finish in 2012. Lance Fraser first sailed in the Gold Cup as a Bermuda high school student in 2010, the youngest entry ever. He is back for his third try and hopes it will be the charm.
Final registration for the Argo Group Gold Cup opens Sunday September 30th, and practice sessions are scheduled for Monday October 1st. Racing begins the next day and continues with the finals and petite finals scheduled for Sunday October 7th. The finals, scheduled for 14:00 local time (ADT/GMT-3) will be televised live and online. The schedule will be available pre-event at www.wmrt.com/live and on http://www.argogroupgoldcup.com/.
Other highlights for the week include the RenRe Junior Gold Cup, which features the top Optimist Dinghy sailors from over a dozen countries racing against a contingent of Bermuda’s best young sailors. This ‘Championship of Champions’ celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2012. The annual Family Festival of Sail is also scheduled for Sunday October 7th in Barr’s Bay Park adjacent to Royal Bermuda YC and is open to all.