LEWIN and Walker are two of the 16 entrants in the $50,000 Gold Cup regatta,for which racing is scheduled for 11-15 October and will be conducted in the International One Design (IOD), a 33 foot sloop designed in the 1930's.
The line up includes reigning event champion James SPITHILL (AUS) of Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge for the America's Cup. SPITHILL, 27, won last year's Gold Cup with victory over the event's leading winner, Russell COUTTS (NZL). SPITHILL faced a 2-1 deficit in the final but rallied for a 3-2 victory.
While SPITHILL guns for back to back victories neither LEWIN, 35, nor WALKER, 38, can recall how many Gold Cups they have participated in. Both began racing in the event back in the late 1980's and early 1990's and simply say they have done many since.
LEWIN has enjoyed past success at the Gold Cup. Bermuda's four time Female Athlete of the Year, LEWIN is the only woman skipper to advance through the qualifying rounds of the Gold Cup, which she did in 1999, 2002 and 2003. In 2002 LEWIN finished fifth overall, the best finish for a female skipper in the history of the Gold Cup. LEWIN recently placed fifth in the women's championship at the ISAF Nations Cup.
'I love to match race, I love Hamilton Harbour and I love the boats,' said LEWIN. 'I've spent a lot of time racing overseas and it's so pleasurable to be in home waters with all the support.'
LEWIN's crew includes sister Peta WHITE, Lisa NEASHAM, Leatrice ROMAN and Diana MITCHELL.
'Diana's new to the crew,' said LEWIN. 'We feel comfortable with each other. We're competitive and want to win, but we're also out to have a good time as well. That was foremost in putting together the team. If things fall the right way, it'll be great.'
WALKER, Bermuda's representative in the 470 class at the 1992 Olympic Regatta in Barcelona, recently won the 2006 Bermuda National Match Racing Championship.
'I love the intensity of match racing,' said WALKER, a father of two daughters. 'You can get a lot of great racing in a short time. It tests your skill and ability to respond.'
WALKER will be racing with Adam BARBOZA, Somers KEMPE and Carola COOPER. COOPER raced with WALKER in the nationals, but BARBOZA and KEMPE are replacements for the other crewmembers who had conflicts.
'We have a lot of experience, particularly in the IODs, it's a matter of how well we come together,' said WALKER. 'We've never sailed together so it'll be interesting.'
Although they cannot recall how many events they have raced, both noted the change in format as the biggest difference for this year's Gold Cup.
In the past the event featured 24 teams. 16 teams raced in a three-day qualifier with the top eight advancing to meet eight seeded skippers in a knockout round.
This year, the 16 teams will be split into two groups of eight. Each group races a single round robin with the top four advancing to the quarter-finals. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are all knockout rounds of three or five races.
The old format lent itself well to upsets as the qualifiers were well practiced when they met the seeds in round one. But WALKER thinks the new format will have its own benefits.
'The round robins will be a little more intense than in the past,' said WALKER. 'The guys typically in the seeded rounds are now in the round robins, so you get a flavour of the level they're competing at from the start. You need to hit the ground running, but if you get through to quarters, I think it'll be a little more level.'
Running concurrently with the Gold Cup is the Junior Gold Cup for junior sailors from around the world. 37 sailors, including twelve from overseas, will sail four races per day from 12-14 October on Great Sound. The final day, Sunday 15 October, will see the championship sailed on Hamilton Harbour during the final rounds of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
The Gold Cup is stage four of the 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour. The events of the World Tour determine the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
The oldest one design match racing event in the world, the Bermuda Gold Cup rejoined the World Tour after a one year absence. This year's event marks the seventh time in eight seasons that the Gold Cup is part of a World Tour schedule. Also, it is the 58th match race competition for the cup, first presented to the legendary C. Sherman Hoyt in 1907 at a regatta marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Virginia Colony.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a private club and is the third oldest club holding a Royal Warrant outside the British Isles. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club was established on 1 November 1844. There are now approximately 850 resident and non-resident members.
The Bermuda Department of Tourism is an Official Host Sponsor of the Gold Cup. Event sponsors include Renaissance Re, Max Re, BTC, Bermuda Premium Spirits Ltd., local distributors of BACARDI rum, and Oleander Cycles.World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
|1||Sébastien COL||FRA||1||Areva Challenge||29|
|2||Jes GRAM-HANSEN||DEN||16||Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia||27|
|3||Paolo CIAN||ITA||2||Team Viano Mercedes Benz||25|
|3||Chris DICKSON||NZL||4||BMW ORACLE Racing||25|
|5||Jesper BANK||DEN||56||United Internet Team Germany||20|
|5||Magnus HOLMBERG||SWE||41||Victory Challenge||20|
|8||Staffan LINDBERG||FIN||11||Alandia Sailing Team||16|
World Match Racing Tour Schedule
|Stage 1||Portugal Match Cup||Cascais, Portugal||18-23 July 2006|
|Stage 2||Danish Open||Copenhagen, Denmark||9-13 August 2006|
|Stage 3||St. Moritz Match Race||St. Moritz, Switzerland||15-20 August 2006|
|Stage 4||Bermuda Gold Cup||Hamilton, Bermuda||10-15 October 2006|
|Stage 5||Allianz Cup||San Francisco, USA||24-29 October|
|Stage 6||Monsoon Cup||Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia||28 November-3 December 2006|
|Stage 7||Match Race Germany||Langenargen, Germany||23-28 May 2007|
|Stage 8||Portugal Match Cup||Cascais, Portugal||01/07/2007|
|Stage 9||Danish Open||Copenhagen, Denmark||01/08/2007|
|Stage 10||St. Moritz Match Race||St. Moritz, Switzerland||01/08/2007|
|Stage 11||ACI Adris Match Race Cup||Rovinj, Croatia||01/09/2007|
|Stage 12||Locman Cup - Elba Island||Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy||01/09/2007|
|Stage 13||Brasil Sailing Cup||Angra dos Reis, Brazil||01/10/2007|
|Stage 14||Bermuda Gold Cup||Hamilton, Bermuda||01/10/2007|
|Stage 15||Monsoon Cup||Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia||20 November-2 December 2007|
The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.
For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.
For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.