Reigning event champion; Open, Women’s and Youth world champions included
HAMILTON, Bermuda (Aug. 1, 2023) — The lineup for the Bermuda Gold Cup, a World Championship event of the World Match Racing Tour, is nearly complete, with 14 of the 16 invitees confirmed.
The Bermuda Gold Cup, raced for the century-old King Edward VII Gold Cup, has attracted a world-class field to race on the confines of Hamilton Harbour. The co-ed list of skippers includes the reigning event champion, Taylor Canfield, as well as the reigning Open, Women’s and Youth world champions.
“We’re very pleased with the lineup for the Bermuda Gold Cup. It reflects a great cross section of the best match racers in the world,” said Event Chair Jon Corless of host Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “The Bermuda Gold Cup has invited female skippers dating back to the 1990s, and the club is proud that the Gold Cup is recognized as an event where male and female skippers and crews can compete on an equal playing field.”
The three female skippers are the top three in the Women’s World Match Race Rankings and are led by Pauline Courtois (Brest, France), who won the Women’s Match Racing World Championship for the third consecutive year three weeks ago.
Courtois is having a stellar year across multiple disciplines. May, in particular, was a busy month. On May 19, Courtois placed third in the doublehanded Transat Paprec, a 3,890-nautical mile race from France to the West Indies. Ten days later Courtois won the Normandie Match Cup (Le Havre, France) for the second consecutive year. She won 17 of 18 races enroute to the championship, including eight consecutive wins from the quarterfinals through the final.
Courtois returns to the Bermuda Gold Cup for the third time.
“The welcome in Bermuda is always very warm, the sailing area is one of the most beautiful on which we have had the chance to sail, and the level of competition is always incredible,” said Courtois. “Trying offshore racing allowed me to learn new things. It forced me to adapt very quickly and to try to be as efficient as ever after 20 days at sea. Even if the disciplines are different, they are very complementary.”
Anna Östling (Lerum, Sweden) and Celia Willison (Auckland, New Zealand) round out the women’s card in Bermuda and placed second and fourth, respectively, at the Women’s Match Racing Worlds. Östling returns for her second Gold Cup while Willison makes her debut.
The men’s side is led by World No. 1 Chris Poole (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., USA), who’s making his seventh Bermuda Gold Cup appearance. Poole has ascended to No. 1 in the world on a strong year. He won the Congressional Cup in April, going undefeated in 24 races, and finished second at the GKSS Match Cup Sweden in early July. Both regattas are World Championship events of the World Match Racing Tour.
“Coming out of the coronavirus we made a change to the way we sail the boat,” said the 34-year-old Poole. “I used to drive and do tactics, but that wasn’t a good formula. I found a tactician in Joachim Aschenbrenner (Fredensborg, Denmark) who sees the course the way that I do, and that allows me to concentrate more on steering and boatspeed. I think it’s worked out well.”
Other skippers include Johnie Berntsson (Stenungsund, Sweden), Taylor Canfield (Miami, USA) and Ian Williams (Lymington, England), who collectively have won four of the past five Bermuda Gold Cups dating back to 2014.
In 2020, when the Bermuda Gold Cup was last raced, Canfield beat Williams in an epic final sailed in 12 to 20 knots of wind on Hamilton Harbour. The key to the match was the pre-start of Race 2, when Canfield seemed to drive Williams into the port side of the commentary boat. Williams received an on-water penalty and after the race was assessed a points penalty for damage caused in the collision.
Neither Canfield nor Williams have done much match racing in the past couple years, as evidenced by their high world ranking, but both will be among the favorites when the Gold Cup returns to the water.
“The Gold Cup is such an iconic regatta on the World Match Racing Tour, it is a really important event to have on the Tour,” said Williams. “It is special for me as it was the first WMRT regatta that I won (in 2006), although since then I do not have the best record there. The boats are a challenge for us with the way we are set up, but that won’t stop us trying as hard as we can to get as far in the competition as we can.”
Two other entrants are the reigning Youth Match Racing World Champion, 21-year-old Jeffrey Peterson (Santa Ana, Calif., USA), and the Open Match Racing World Champion, Nick Egnot-Johnson (Auckland, New Zealand). The son of Leslie Egnot-Johnson, who skippered the Mighty Mary all-women crew in the 1995 Citizen Cup Selection Trials of the America’s Cup, the match racing world champion makes his debut in Bermuda.
“I believe that the Bermuda Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious match race events in the world. There have been so many big names that have competed in this event, so we feel super privileged to have received the invitation to come and compete in the event,” said Egnot-Johnson.
The final two skippers and crews will be determined from the Bermuda National Match Racing Championship and the Oakcliff International 2023 (Sept. 5-9).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Nicole Butterworth, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Sailing Office, email@example.com
Sean McNeill, Bermuda Gold Cup Press Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
James Pleasance, World Match Racing Tour, email@example.com
71st BERMUDA GOLD CUP
2023 PRELIMINARY SKIPPERS’ LIST
- Johnie Berntsson (52, Stenungsund, Sweden) – World No. 8 Open Match Race Rankings,
- Jeppe Borch (25, Copenhagen, Denmark) – World No. 3 Open Match Race Rankings, 3rd place 2019 Youth Match Racing World Championship, second Bermuda Gold Cup (4th place in 2020)
- Taylor Canfield (34, Miami, USA) – World No. 102 Open Match Race Rankings, two-time Open Match Racing World Champion (2013, ’20); eighth 2012, ’18, ’20)
- Pauline Courtois (34, Brest, France) – World No. 1 Women’s Match Race Rankings, three-time Women’s Match Racing World Champion (2021, ’22, ’23), third Bermuda Gold Cup (16th in 2020)
- Nick Egnot-Johnson (25, Auckland, New Zealand) – World No. 5 Open Match Race Rankings, 2022 Open Match Racing World Champion, first Bermuda Gold Cup
- Peter Holz (30, Chicago, Ill., USA) – World No. 12 Open Match Race Rankings, first Bermuda Gold Cup
- David Hood (Long Beach, Calif., USA) – World No. 55 Open Match Race Rankings, 10th place 2023 Congressional Cup, first Bermuda Gold Cup
- Eric Monnin (47, Immensee, Switzerland) – World No. 4 Open Match Race Rankings, 14th
- Anna Östling (39, Lerum, Sweden) – World No. 2 Women’s Match Race Rankings, two-time Women’s Match Racing World champion (2014, ’16), second Bermuda Gold Cup (10th place in2020)
- Jeffrey Peterson (21, Santa Ana, Calif., USA) – World No. 15 Open Match Race Rankings, 2022 Youth Match Racing World Champion, first Bermuda Gold Cup
- Chris Poole (34, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) – World No. 1 Open Match Race Rankings, seventh Bermuda Gold Cup (7th place in 2020)
- Harry Price (27, Sydney, Australia) – World No. 56 Open Match Race Rankings, second Bermuda Gold Cup (3rd place in 2019)
- Ian Williams (46, Lymington, England) – World No. 78 Open Match Race Rankings, 13th Bermuda Gold Cup, two-time champion (2006, ’19, 2nd in 2020), six-time Open Match Racing Worlds champion (2007, ’08, ’11, ’12, ’14, ’15)
- Celia Willison (25, Auckland, New Zealand) – World No. 3 Women’s Match Race Rankings, 4th place 2023 Women’s Match Racing World Championship, first Bermuda Gold Cup
The final two entrants will qualify from the Bermuda National Match Racing Championship and the Oakcliff International.
(List subject to change. Rankings based on Jul. 1, 2023, Open and Women’s Match Race Ranking Lists.)