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14 September 2006, 02:56 pm
SPITHILL Looks To Add Second Gold Cup
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King Edward VII Gold Cup 2006
Hamilton, Bermuda

James SPITHILL (AUS) will attempt to win his second consecutive ISAF Grade WC King Edward VII Gold Cup when the Bermuda Gold Cup, stage four of the 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour, takes place on Hamilton Harbour, from 10-15 October.
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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 Aims For Two In A Row

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.

After the first three stages of the 2006-2007 World Tour season GRAM-HANSEN is second overall in the World Championship standings and LINDBERG is eighth.

Home Challenge

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
(After Stage Three)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
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 Ed BAIRD USA 10 Alinghi 20
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
(2006-2007 Season)

Stage Event Venue Date
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.

Sean MCNEILL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, James SPITHILL leads Russell COUTTS in last year's final:© Bob GRIESER/PPL
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