The Argo Group Gold Cup 2011 is the penultimate match on the World Match Racing Tour and is shaping up to be a tough battle with eight of nine WMRT Card Holders ready to face off in Bermuda October 4-9 racing for the coveted King Edward VII Gold Cup.
Jesper Radich and Ben Ainslie battle downwind in the finals of the 2010 Argo Group Gold Cup. ainslie tok his second King Edward VII Gold Cup in a row and $50,000USD. Radich won $20,000 for second place.
Boats to be used in Bermuda are the classic International One Design (IOD) sloops which are quite different from other boats in the tour requiring forethought and tactics on a high level. Experience counts.
Six of the skippers announced so far have won the Gold Cup before. Tour Card Holder Peter Gilmour (AUS) of YANMAR Racing took it three times in 1995, 1997 and 2003. Other Tour Card Holders with their names on the cup are Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team in 2008, Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team in 2007, Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar in 2006, and Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee and Partners, runner up in 2010, won in 2002.
Andy Green (GBR) British Racing Green is the other skipper coming this year who has his name on the cup, but he has not been on the tour lately. He won the Gold Cup in 1999. Rounding out the group of eight WMRT Card Holders signed up for 2011 are Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team and winner of Match Race France 2011, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat, and Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing.
Day 2 racing in the Racing in the Stage 1 qualifyer round of the Argo Group Gold Cup. Three groups of teams sail seven flights each to qualify for the quarter finals of this world Match Racing Tour classic.
To date seventeen skippers have accepted their invitations and all except one have raced in at least one Argo Group Gold Cup in recent years.
Joining the Tour Card Holders are top level ISAF ranked match racers including Bjorn Hanson (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team who won the 2011 Korea Match Cup, and a group of up-and-coming skippers on the circuit. Three other skippers will receive automatic invitations by winning one of the qualifiers… the Bermuda National Match Race Championship, the Knickerbocker Cup and the Detroit Cup. Four slots are still to be announced.