Argo Group Gold Cup revs up for 70th rendition
The Argo Group Gold Cup, one of the most storied match-racing regattas in the world that has been won by the luminaries of the America’s Cup arena, will rejoin the World Match Racing Tour for its 70th competition next year, scheduled from May 11 to 16 in Bermuda.
Event organisers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club also confirmed that Argo Group, an international underwriter of speciality insurance and reinsurance, will be back as the title sponsor. An expected field of 12 teams will battle for the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the oldest match-racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts that dates back to 1907, and a $100,000 prize purse.
“The Argo Group Gold Cup has long been coveted by skippers and crews around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome back Argo Group and to rejoin the World Match Racing Tour,” said Leatrice Oatley, the event chairwoman and a past commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
“The Gold Cup has carved out its place in the match racing calendar by providing thrilling racing within metres of the shoreline for spectators to see, and first-class hospitality. The continued support of Argo Group and rejoining the World Match Racing Tour reinforce the prestige associated with the King Edward VII Gold Cup,” Oatley said.
Argo Group returns as the title sponsor for the eleventh time, renewing a longstanding tradition of supporting community and sporting events in Bermuda.
“We are thrilled to continue as title sponsor of the Argo Group Gold Cup,” said Mark Watson III, the Argo Group chief executive.
“Argo’s support of this prestigious match race demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Bermuda. Supporting this event is also a natural extension of Argo’s commitment to innovation, teamwork and sustainability.
“Like the elite athletes who compete in the Argo Group Gold Cup, we know that rewards come only to those who overcome risks through innovation, approach risks as a team, and manage risks in ways that respect our environment.”
The Gold Cup rejoins the World Match Racing Tour after a four-year hiatus. The tour has been under new ownership since earlier this year and is returning to its broader business model with a collective of world championship-level events, including the Gold Cup and qualifier events that will comprise the tour season.
Points accumulated at the events will lead to the crowning of the Open Match Racing world champion as sanctioned by World Sailing.
The Gold Cup was a flagship event for the tour before its hiatus and now is the first event to join the tour as it reassembles.
“I am delighted to welcome back the Argo Group Gold Cup as an official event of the World Match Racing Tour,” said executive director James Pleasance, a tour principal since 2002.
“The Argo Group Gold Cup has a longstanding history as a flagship event of the World Match Racing Tour and is a favourite of match-racing teams all over the world. We look forward to working with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Argo Group and their partners again next year.”
Earlier this year, Ian Williams, of Britain, became the twelfth multiple winner when he defeated Johnie Berntsson, of Sweden, in the final. It was the second title in Bermuda for Williams and ranked him alongside luminaries such as Sir Ben Ainslie, of Britain, Taylor Canfield, of the US Virgin Islands, Chris Dickson, of New Zealand, and Berntsson as two-times winners.
America’s Cup legend Sir Russell Coutts, a five-times winner of the Auld Mug from New Zealand, is the Gold Cup’s title leader with seven victories.
“When I was getting into match racing, this was the first big event I came to in 1998,” said the 42-year-old Williams after his victory on May 11. “This was the one you really wanted to win.
“To win in 2006 was huge for us; it was our first big win. I’ve been coming back since and always fell at the final hurdle. We traditionally struggle here. To win for the first time in 13 years is incredible.”
Invitations to the 70th Argo Group Gold Cup will be issued later this year.
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