SPITHILL, the recent recipient of the Australian Yachting 2006 Male Sailor of the Year award, headlines a field of 16 crews that will compete in the $50,000 regatta sailed in 33 foot IOD sloops.
'We're very happy with the field that we've assembled for this year's Gold Cup,' said Andrew COX, Commodore of the host Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. 'We're also delighted to be part of the World Match Racing Tour again.'
The oldest one design match racing event in the world, the Bermuda Gold Cup rejoins 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 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour schedule began in July and counts 15 events through to December 2007. The winner will be recognized as the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
SPITHILL, the 27 year old helmsman of Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge for the America's Cup, won last year's Gold Cup with a 3-2 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. For SPITHILL the win was a measure of revenge. He lost the 2004 championship to COUTTS.
The format for this year's Gold Cup is slightly different from past years. The 16 crews will be split into two groups of eight. Each group is scheduled to sail a single round robin with the top four advancing to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are knockout rounds, with skippers paired against each other in series of three or five races.
Besides SPITHILL the line up features three other skippers who finished in the top eight last year, including Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), third overall, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), sixth overall and recent winner of the ISAF Nations Cup, and Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), eighth overall.
Other entrants aiming for the $25,000 winner's check are Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), a helmsman for the Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team and runner up at the Gold Cup in 2004, and Scott DICKSON (NZL), who placed 4th at the 2004 event and is entered for the sixth consecutive year.
Continuing a long tradition, there are two strong Bermudian entrants in the form of Blythe WALKER, who won the 2006 Bermuda National Match Racing Championship, and Paula LEWIN, Bermuda's four-time Female Athlete of the Year who recently placed fifth in the women's championship at the Nations Cup.
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 56 year history of the Gold Cup.
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, Bermuda Telephone, Bermuda Premium Spirits and Oleander Cycle.World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
|1||Sébastien COL||FRA||1||Areva Challenge||29|
|2||Jes GRAM-HANSEN||DEN||30||Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia||27|
|3||Paolo CIAN||ITA||3||Team Viano Mercedes Benz||25|
|3||Chris DICKSON||NZL||8||BMW ORACLE Racing||25|
|5||Jesper BANK||DEN||63||United Internet Team Germany||20|
|5||Magnus HOLMBERG||SWE||45||Victory Challenge||20|
|8||Staffan LINDBERG||FIN||12||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.