An impressive fleet of world match racing powerhouses has assembled in Bermuda for the 54th Bermuda Gold Cup, which is set to kick off tomorrow morning on Hamilton Harbour.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will host racing in International One Design class yachts through Sunday, October 20. A "first to three" elimination series is scheduled featuring the eight seeded Gold Cup skippers, the six top scoring skippers from the qualifying round and the winner and runner-up in the Bermuda International Women's Match Racing Championship. The winner of the Bermuda Gold Cup will receive the King Edward VII Trophy, a share of the $65,000 prize purse and valuable points on the Swedish Match Tour.
The seeded skippers competing this week include:
Jes Gram-Hansen/Victory Lane Match Racing Team (Denmark) is the leader in overall points on the Swedish Match Tour. In 2002, he won the Danish Open, finished second at both the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup and the ISAF World Match Racing Championship and third at both the Roberto Trombini and Lake Constance Match Race regattas. ISAF World ranking: 2
Bjorn Hansen/Team GOL Sailing is one of the most active Swedish teams on the world scene. In 2001 they managed to progress to the semi-final round or better in 13 events. Hansen is 35 years old and has a diverse background in match racing. He is not only a sailor but also one of the main forces behind the match-racing center in Stockholm. Hansen and his team are known as being one of the toughest Swedish competitors in match racing. ISAF World ranking: 5
Karol Jablonski/Team MK Cafe (Poland) is the current ISAF Match Racing World champion as well as the winner of the ISAF Grade 1 Yava Trophy, Spring Cup and Amer Sports Cup regattas. An accomplished offshore sailor, Jablonski has won the Admirals Cup, SORC, Commodores Cup, Copa del Rey and Kiel Week, and he counts world championship titles in the Mumm 36 and DN ice boat classes. He is the skipper for the Polish 2006 America's Cup Challenge. ISAF World ranking: 3
After making a name for himself in the Yngling one-design keelboat, Lars Nordbjerg/ Team Nordbjaerg (Denmark) has turned to match racing. His team of young, enthusiastic and ambitious sailors sail as Team Nordbjerg and represent Denmark's Match Race Center based at Skovshoved Harbor in Copenhagen. The team made it to the top 50 in 1999 and is continuing to climb the ISAF World Match Race Rankings. This year they were fourth at the European Match Racing Championship, won the Audi Match Race and competed in a variety of other regattas: Spring Challenge, TNT Cup, Rimini Match Race, Trombini Match Race and Danish Open. ISAF World ranking: 19
Jesper Radich/ Team Radich (Denmark) started match racing in 1996, the same year he finished fourth at his national championship. He is now a three-time Scandinavian Match Racing Champion ('99, '00, '01), the '01 Danish Match Racing Champion and the '02 European Match Racing Champion and winner of this year's German stop on the Swedish Match Tour. In 2001, he finished eighth at the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup, ninth at the Sun Microsystems Australia Cup, eighth at the ACI Ronhill Cup, eighth at Match Race Lake Constance, tenth at the Swedish Match Cup and 6th at the Danish Open 2001. He is a graduate of the University of Copenhagen with a degree in sport and social science. ISAF World ranking: 4
With a silver medal and two bronze medals from Nordic match racing championships, Staffan Lindberg/Team Musto (Finland) and his team have come to this event well prepared. Lindberg placed third in the Danish Open. ISAF World ranking: 12
Mikael Lindqvist (Sweden) is Sweden's Match Racing Champion for 2002 and in 2001. He was the Swedish and European Match Racing Champion. In 2002, Lindqvist and his team also won the Cap Gemeni Cup, competed in the Danish Open and finished fifth at the ISAF World Match Racing Championship. ISAF World ranking: 7
Mattias Rahm/ Team Stena Bulk (Sweden) has been successful in dinghy sailing over the years. He is a two-time world champion in the Europe dinghy class and a Nordic champion in the Laser. An accomplished 470 sailor, he has won the European championship, medall twice in the world championship and was ranked number one in the world. Rahm, who has been match racing since 1998, was the 1999 Swedish champion. On the Swedish Match Tour, he has competed in the Swedish Match Cup, finishing 11th, and the Danish Open, finishing second. ISAF World ranking: 15
Six skippers and their teams advanced into Round One from the qualifying round: Glenn Astwood/Team Bacardi (Bermuda), Peter Bromby (Bermuda), Andy Horton (USA), Chris Law/ "The Outlaws" (U.K.), Tucker Thompson/T2 Productions (USA) and Mason Woodworth (USA).
Paula Lewin (Bermuda), who won the ISAF Grade 1 Bermuda International Match Racing Championship yesterday, gained a berth in Round One as did runner-up Marie Bjorling (Sweden).
On Thursday, the Colorcraft Pro-Am Regatta will take place with sponsors' representatives joining the seeded skippers for an afternoon of fleet racing.