Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup puts champions face to face

by Talbot Wilson on 5 Oct 2011
Eight of the seventeen international skippers in the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup arrived early to get some practice time in Bermuda. Opti racing starts October 6th. and concludes during the finals for the Argo Group Gold Cup. Talbot Wilson - Copyright
The RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup is set to begin on Thursday but today, the world’s best young Opti sailors, ages 11 to 15, set out in Bermuda’s Hamilton harbor for a first practice race. Meeting each other on the water and on the docks for the first time today, these youngsters come from all corners of the world – from the arid climate of Mexico to the sheep farms of New Zealand to the hills of Wales and are true ambassadors of their sport.

'It is fantastic to have such a tremendous group of high quality junior sailors here at the RenRe Junior Gold Cup as they represent the potential future Argo Group Gold Cup skippers,' said event chairman Brian Billings. 'It is at this level and in these boats that a number of young sailors got their start and Russell Coutts is just one example.'

Additionally, with sailors from Finland, Sweden, Poland, Australia and beyond, these young Opti sailors will really have an epic week of racing here. For the international sailors, learning the waters of Bermuda, practicing and improving their English, meeting other sailors from all over the world, and facing high level competition is a lot to juggle, but like true champions these kids are taking it all in stride and are eager to get started.

The Jr Gold Cup is like a championship of champions one young sailor pointed out. 'For me this is different than any other event because you have the very best person in each country,' said Odile Van Aanholt of the Netherland Antilles. 'I have raced in world events but you usually don’t have so many of the world’s best all together at the same time.'

Eleven of the seventeen sailors are national champions. Fourteen will represent their country in the 2011-12 Opti Worlds in New Zealand. Bermuda will be represented as well. For Matthew Whitfield of Cardiff, Wales, this is the first time he has ever been to Bermuda and he is really looking forward to meeting the competition on the water.

'I was really pleased and excited to be invited this year,' Whitfield said. 'I won the overall event in Britain and it really meant a lot that they contacted me. I think I worked hard to get here.' Whitfield, 14, also races in other types of boats and his goal here is to meet and sail against the worlds’ best and that happens to be in Optimist dinghies. 'I have been sailing in 470s more and more at home but I really want to race these particular sailors. It is the sailors here today that I am really thinking about.'

For Leonard Takahashi-Fry, who grew up on a sheep farm in New Zealand, he says he is nervous but ready. 'I am not sure why I am so nervous but I want to do well. I think it is going to be exciting and I hope for stronger winds.'

Because the sailors range in age from 11 to 15, their height and weight do make a big difference in the outcome of the race. As the younger, smaller sailors are hoping for light air, the taller, older sailors favor heavy breeze. Coming from such varied places, both boys and girls sailing here today have experienced all kinds of conditions.

'The level here is world class and the best you will see for this age group,' said Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing director Tom Herbert-Evans. 'The great thing about this sport is that we have girls and boys competing equally and that is a testament to the sport of sailing as it is a very equal sport. They are all athletes and it is a very mental game.'

For Bermuda sailors, youth sailing is growing and the potential for a break out performance is there. Five of the Bermuda sailors out of the nearly 40 competing will also qualify to attend the Opti world championships to take place in New Zealand later this year.

'Youth sailing is growing in Bermuda, thanks in part to high profile events like the RenRe Jr Gold Cup and our local sailors ability to succeed amongst the best in the world,' said event chairman of the Junior Gold Cup Somers Cooper.

'The continued support from the corporate community and the local clubs are also key ingredients.' Cooper added. 'The future of youth sailing in Bermuda has never looked brighter.'
Wildwind 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Energa Sopot Match Race- Rast ready for uphill battle with specialists
Reigning Melges 24 World Champion Chris Rast from Switzerland is competing at his second M32 regatta of the year. One of those top guys will be the young Sam Gilmour, another 49er sailor but who also has the benefit of a strong match racing background. The young sailor from Perth, Western Australia, put in a strong performance at the $1 million World Championship Finals in Sweden earlier this month.
Posted on 27 Jul
50th Governor's Cup International Junior Match Racing continues
The winds were light when racing started at noon. The temperature was in the high 80’s for most of the day. Racing resumed on another beautiful day in Southern California. The twelve teams were towed out to the race course by the Race Committee boat with PRO (Principal Race Officer) Don Becker and his support team aboard.
Posted on 21 Jul
York Cup showcases some of Toronto's best Match Racing
In it’s 23rd year, the York Cup presents an opportunity to showcase the wonderful sailing we have in Toronto Harbour. In it’s 23rd year, the York Cup presents an opportunity to showcase the wonderful sailing we have in Toronto Harbour. It boasts many names of past champions who have gone on to succeed at the pinnacle of our sport in match and other racing disciplines.
Posted on 20 Jul
Mirsky back on the campaign trail at Energa Sopot Match Race in Poland
The former world number one match racer from Australia took a few years out of top-level competition The former world number one match racer from Australia took a few years out of top-level competition but, after crewing for fellow Perth sailor Steve Thomas on some of the Tour events earlier this year, has chosen the World Tour event in Sopot to be skipper of his own crew.
Posted on 18 Jul
World Match Racing Tour - Million dollar skipper divvies up top prize
The $1million bonus for winning the 2016 Match racing Worlds has been shared undre a pre-agreement In a sport that that has become increasingly tight-fisted and uncharitable between competitive rivals, Phil Robertson, skipper of the winning crew Waka Racing has revealed that the US$1million (NZD1.4million) prize for winning the World Match Racing Championships has been split amongst all teams on the tour under a pre series agreement.
Posted on 14 Jul
World Match Racing - Robertson crowned Million Dollar World Champion
Phil Robertson won the World Match Racing Champion in a high-wind duel in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour. Phil Robertson has been crowned World Match Racing Champion after beating Taylor Canfield in an epic, high-wind duel Saturday in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour. The 29-year-old and his Robertson Racing crew also banked US $33,000 for winning in Marstrand, Sweden, plus a World Champion’s bonus of $1,000,000. It’s the largest prize money ever awarded in the sport of sailing,
Posted on 9 Jul
Phil Robertson's million dollar payday for WMRT World title win
Incredible final against Taylor Canfield, first up in this video, who has been an absolute rock in the M32 class. Black flags, penalties, tight crosses and unbelievable action! Phil Robertson with Will Tiller, James Wierzerbowski and Stewart Dodson are the new World Match Racing Tour World Champions and winners of $USD1m. Absolutely incredible final against Taylor Canfield, first up in this video, who has been an absolute rock in the M32 class.
Posted on 9 Jul
Match Racing Worlds - Kiwis win $1million at Marstrand
New Zealand's Phil Robertson Racing team has won the biggest prize purse in sailing - $1million US dollars (NZD$1.370m). New Zealand's Phil Robertson Racing team skippered by Phil Robertson has won a drama filled World Match Racing Final, and has taken the biggest prize purse in sailing - $1million US dollars (NZD$1.370m). The day's racing was drama filled from start to finish, with kiwi skipper Phil Robertson having to come from behind after a one point penalty for cause serious damage to USA's Taylor Canfield's bo
Posted on 9 Jul
World Match Racing Tour - Antipodean upstarts upset the $1m Apple Cart
The penultimate day of the World Championship Finals produced so many upsets The penultimate day of the World Championship Finals produced so many upsets, it’s impossible to predict who will become tomorrow’s Champion of the World Match Racing Tour. The day began with Chris Steele’s 3-0 victory over reigning World Champion Ian Williams. The Kiwi was generally getting the better of the Match Racing World Champion in the pre-starts and leading the Briton off the start line.
Posted on 9 Jul
Match Cup Sweden - Semi finalists for million dollar winner takes all
I am back on the rock! Great to be back at Marstrand, in time to catch up with the semi-finalists, 36 Below Racing I am back on the rock! Great to be back at Marstrand, in time to catch up with the semi-finalists, 36 Below Racing (taking down Williams 3-0), US One (defeating Wallen 3-0), Redline Racing (coming back against Martinez 3-1) and Waka Racing (smashing Guichard 3-0), who will battle it out through to the finals, and onto the winner-takes-all million dollar prize tomorrow!
Posted on 8 Jul