Russell COUTTS, Ed BAIRD, Mathieu RICHARD, returning 2003 champion Peter GILMOUR, Staffan LINDBERG, Björn HANSEN and James SPITHILL are the seeded skippers who will clash in the Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup.
Scheduled for October 16-24 in the Hamilton Harbour just off the marina at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, wild Card Skipper Dennis CONNER will fill the eighth slot in the seeded bracket.
Getting to the finals won't be easy for anyone racing against such a talented field of seeded skippers and against the talented, but not-yet-famous unseeded skippers who must work their way through the ISAF Grade 3 qualifying round. Also, the winner and runner up from the Cicada Women's International Match Race Championship will be thrown into the mix in the Gold Cup. In the tough rounds of competition, they all have a chance at winning the King Edward VII Gold Cup and a share of the $100k purse.
The September 1st ISAF World Match Racing rankings place Baird 1st, Richard 3rd, Gilmour 4th, Spithill 7th, Lindberg 12th, Hansen 15th, Coutts 24th. Conner was in excellent form in the Etchells Worlds in Australia, too.
The King Edward VII Gold Cup is the third stop on the 2004-05 Swedish Match Tour, and it is not hard to discover why the great sailors keep coming back year after year.
"It's the classic IOD boats, the spectacular venue,"
Jane CORREIA, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore says, "and the tough competition that attract the best match race sailors to the Gold Cup every year. Sailors like six-time Gold Cup winner Russell Coutts come back to race against sailors like 2003 winner Peter Gilmour and today's hot sailors Ed Baird and James Spithill."
In a recent interview with Laurie Fullerton in Sailing, Gilmour said, "The Gold Cup is a fabulous benchmark for sailors. For the young guys, they can see where they stand. There are 16 unseeds who go up against eight seeded skippers. It is very unsettling for unseeds and for the seeds. We all face pressure, but that is what makes the Gold Cup Great."