Argo Group Gold Cup - Ben Ainslie sails after an America 's Cup win
by Talbot wilson on 3 Oct 2013
At the Argo Group Gold Cup, Sir Ben Ainslie (UK) will be sailing next week for the Ben Ainslie Racing Team (BART) sponsored by Argo Group. He returns to match racing in Bermuda fresh from the rush of Team Oracle’s America’s Cup history making comeback.
Sir Ben Ainslie drives the classic IOD to weather in the Semi Finals at the ARGO Group Gold Cup 2010. © Talbot Wilson / Argo Group Gold Cup http://www.argogroupgoldcup.com/
The British hero will have to change gears big time as he steps aboard the classic International One Design (IOD) sloops sailed in Bermuda’s Argo Group Gold Cup Oct 8th to thirteenth.
Stepping from the Team Oracle 40 knot foiling multihull to IODs with full keels, he’ll compete against the world’s best match racers in the top 11 skippers in the ISAF Open Rankings. He faces the eighth Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) Cardholders. All these skippers in the Gold Cup have match-raced traditional monohulls all year, at about 10 knots max. Ainslie did get in some practice with the IOD fleet in San Francisco, but the proof will be in the racing on Hamilton Harbour.
'It probably would take the multihull AC72 30 seconds to get from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club side of Hamilton Harbour to the Salt Kettle on the South shore. It’s a bit different with the IOD,' Ainslie remarked. 'I’ll have to shift gears. It will be a lot of fun.'
'The IODs are great boats for match racing. We always love going to Bermuda for the boats and the style of racing.'
Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands— now sailing Team USone out of the Chicago Match Race Center— returns as defending Champion in this the 63rd match for the coveted King Edward VII Gold Cup, the Golden Grail on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT). Canfield ranks number one on ISAF’s list. He is second behind Ian Williams (UK), GAC Pindar, on the AWMRT leaderboard for the ISAF World Championship. Williams stands second under ISAF.
Ainslie and the 11 top ranked teams will also test their fortune against eight more up-and-coming skippers and previous top performers returning to the circuit in Bermuda. It won’t be an easy road to the podium and to lifting the Gold Cup in victory for his third time. Will it be the charm?
As the most successful sailor in Olympic history, Ainslie stands tall. He won the Gold Cup consecutively in 2009 and 2010.
'We are returning this year to focus attention on the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF) that has been established since Bart’s tragic death in the America’s Cup practice racing in San Francisco this year. The Ben Ainslie Racing Team, called BART, is racing in the Argo Group Gold Cup to raise awareness for this worthwhile cause in memory of our late friend and fellow sailor.
'Bart and the charity are the reason we are racing, as well as the reason we are getting the band back together.'
Ainslie’s success in Bermuda goes back to his junior years. He won the ISAF Youth Worlds Single Handed title in 1995. During the 2008 Argo Group Gold Cup, Ainslie was the skipper and Simpson was the team advisor. The team took time then to encourage the young Optimist sailors gathered in Bermuda from around the world for the Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup.
This year Ainslie and double Olympic Gold Iain Percy, now CEO of Artemis Racing, will hold a half-day clinic on Saturday Oct 5th with young advanced Optimist sailors enrolled in the RBYC Sailing Academy. Then Team BART steps aboard an IOD to match up against the new Bermuda National Match Racing Champion Joshua Greenslade in some practice racing.
'I’m going to be spending some time with the local Optimist kids and that’s something all of us are always fond of,' he said. 'Certainly I learned sailing in the Optimist and I always try to help out with the young kids. it should be good fun and I’m really looking forward to it.'
Ben's entire crew from 2008 returns to Bermuda. Percy will be Tactician and Mainsheet Trimmer. Multiple Gold Cup Winner Christian Kamp will be jib trimmer and Ben's former Team Origin bowman Matt Cornwall will also be aboard.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s return to Bermuda for the 2013 Argo Group Gold Cup adds high drama to this star studded event. He has been off the Tour since 2010, but will challenge the fleet.
All eight Alpari World Match Racing Tour Card Holders and the four other past Tour champions will be on hand heading up the two 10-team groups in the qualifying round robin. Joining them on the event ladder will be eight other top ranked skippers and those up and coming teams including some automatic qualifiers.
Will a rising star or a top ranker hoist the Cup in 2013? Speed, smarts and lady luck will tell the tale. Get ready for top match racing in the 2013 Argo Group Gold Cup.