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Sweden's Berntsson wins Bermuda Gold Cup for third time

by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club 7 Oct 2023 22:04 PDT 2-7 October 2023
The Berntsson Racing Team win the Bermuda Gold Cup 2023 © Ian Roman / WMRT

Swedish skipper Johnie Berntsson has won the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the championship trophy of the Bermuda Gold Cup match racing tournament, for the third time since 2008. Hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Bermuda Gold Cup is a World Championship event of the World Match Racing Tour.

The Berntsson Racing Team—including Herman Andersson on tactics, Björn Lundgren on mainsail trim and Patrik Sturesson on headsail trim—finished the regatta with a perfect score of 11-0 and won $25,000 of the $75,000 prize purse.

"I can recall being over the moon the first time I won this trophy. I never thought it would happen. Now it's happened a third time and I'm super grateful," said the 51-year-old Berntsson from Stenungsund, Sweden, a medical IT consultant. "Sailing with Patrik, Herman and Björn, they pushed me all around the course. The tactics were excellent, the trimming was excellent, and it all helped me grow as a helmsman and build our confidence."

For Berntsson it is the third time that he has won the coveted gold trophy that was first awarded in 1907, having previously captured it in 2008 and '14. He also finished runner-up four times (2011, '12, '18, '19) and has the second-most finals appearances behind the event's all-time winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand, who won the trophy seven times between 1990 and 2004 and finished runner-up twice.

"I'm so proud to be part of the history of the King Edward VII Gold Cup," said Berntsson. "There have been so many great sailors racing and winning here. I'm really proud to be part of that nice, successful group of sailors. It's very good feelings."

The King Edward VII Gold Cup dates to 1907 and is the oldest match racing trophy in the world for a competition involving one-design yachts. It is one of the most coveted championships in match racing. The regatta has been run in its current format, as a ladder-style tournament on the confines of Hamilton Harbour, since 1985.

The Berntsson Racing Team won the title as much for their work in the Qualifying Round as for the Knockout Rounds. After two days of racing on Tuesday (Oct. 3) and Wednesday (Oct. 4), which saw the completion of the Qualifying and Quarterfinal rounds, the regatta was postponed Thursday (Oct. 5) and Friday (Oct. 6) due to the passage of Tropical Storm Philippe. Today, strong winds of 25 to 35 knots in Hamilton Harbour (below) forced the cancellation of the Semifinal and Final rounds.

"We're passionate about sailing and would've loved to be on the water," said Berntsson. "It's frustrating but winning the Gold Cup covers it all."

Berntsson won all 11 of his races but should've sailed only 10 races. A scoring penalty in Race 3 of the quarterfinals for causing damage in a collision resulted in an additional race to score the 3 points required for advancement. Even at 10-0 he still would've won the regatta.

Taylor Canfield's (USA) Stars+Stripes USA team—Robby Bisi, Mike Buckley, Ian Liberty, Erik Shampain—finished second with a 9-2 record and won $12,000.

"The Bermuda Gold Cup is one of the best match racing events in the world," said Canfield, a three-time winner (2012, '18, '20). "It's disappointing we didn't get to race today. We came here to win, and I think we had the crew to get the job done."

Ian Williams' (GBR) Chinaone.Ningbo team—Jon Gunderson, Gerard Mitchell, Richard Sydenham—finished third at 8-2 and won $10,000. Williams is a two-time winner (2006, '19) of the trophy and a runner-up (2020).

Harry Price's (AUS) Down Under Racing crew—Taylor Balogh, Julia Lines, Connor Mashlan—placed fourth with an 8-4 record and won $8,000. Price's crew included Bermudian Lines, who worked the bow. Price previously finished third in 2019.

At the awards ceremony two special trophies were presented. The Jordy Walker Trophy, presented in honor of past commodore B. W. "Jordy" Walker, is awarded to the most improved young match race sailor at the Bermuda Gold Cup. This year's recipient was 21-year-old Jeffrey Petersen of Santa Ana, Calif.

The Wedgwood Heritage Trophy, awarded in honor of Lord Piers Wedgwood, is presented to the sailor or support staff who best represents the traditional values and history of sailing. This year's recipient was Nicole Butterworth, the Bermuda Gold Cup's Regatta Manager and the Sailing Secretary for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club who was a driving force behind getting the Bermuda Gold Cup back on the water after a two-year absence.

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club thanks Host Sponsor Bermuda Tourism Authority, Presenting Sponsors RenaissanceRe and Aspen, and Primary Sponsors Goslings, BF&M, Best Shipping and Joe Vieira Trucking, and Supporting Sponsors Healthcare Solutions, the Bermuda IOD Fleet, Oleander Cycles, Clearwater Systems and ECL Bermuda.

71st Bermuda Gold Cup Overall Results:

1. Johnie Berntsson (51, Stenungsund, Sweden) Berntsson Sailing Team – 11-0, $25,000
Crew: Herman Andersson, Björn Lundgren, Patrik Sturesson

2. Taylor Canfield (34, Miami, USA) Stars+Stripes USA – 9-2, $12,000
Crew: Robby Bisi, Mike Buckley, Ian Liberty, Erik Shampain

3. Ian Williams (46, Lymington, England) Chinaone.Ningbo – 8-2, $10,000
Crew: Jon Gunderson, Gerard Mitchell, Richard Sydenham

4. Harry Price (28, Sydney, Australia) Down Under Racing – 8-4, $8,000
Crew: Taylor Balogh, Julia Lines, Connor Mashlan

5. Eric Monnin (47, Immensee, Switzerland) Capvis Swiss Match Racing Teamn – 8-4, $5,000
Crew: Simon Brügger, Hugo Feydit, Marc Monnin, Ute Monnin-Wagner

6. Gavin Brady (49, Annapolis, Md., USA) True Blue Racing – 6-5, $5,000
Crew: Chris Cullen, Tom Powrie, Dave Sweete

7. Jeppe Borch (25, Copenhagen, Denmark) Borch Racing – 5-5, $5,000
Crew: Thor Malthe Andersen, Sebastian Pieters, Gustav Wantzin

8. Nick Egnot-Johnson (25, Auckland, New Zealand) KNOTS Racing – 4-7, $5,000
Crew: Sam Barnett, Bradley McLaughlin, Zak Merton

9. Anna Östling (39, Lerum, Sweden) WINGS – 3-4
Crew: Annika Carlunger, Anna Holmdahl White, Elisabeth Nilsson, Linnéa Wennergren

10. Chris Poole (34, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) Riptide Racing – 2-5
Crew: Joachim Aschenbrenner, Matt Cornwell, Mal Parker, Luke Payne

11. Pauline Courtois (34, Brest, France) Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team – 2-5
Crew: Louis Acker, Clara Bayol, Maelenn Lemaitre, Laurane Mettraux

12. David Hood (Long Beach, Calif., USA) DH3 Racing – 2-5
Crew: Ricky McGarvie, Chris Steele, Will Tiller

13. Jeffrey Petersen (21, Santa Ana, Calif., USA) Golden State Match Racing – 2-5
Crew: Will Birch-Tomlinson, Tyler Walk, Josh Wijohn

14. Celia Willison (25, Auckland, New Zealand) Edge Racing New Zealand – 1-6
Crew: Alison Kent, Charlotte Porter, Rosie Rowell, Ruby Scholten

15. Peter Holz (30, Chicago, Ill., USA) Windy City Match Racing – 1-6
Crew: Sam Gilmour, John Hammond, Ellis Tonissi

16. Joshua Greenslade (32, Pembroke, Bermuda) 0-7
Crew: Dale Brangman, Ruairi Brown, Peter Dill

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