Coutts cannot wait to see racing in Great Sound
Sir Russell Coutts has become synonymous with the King Edward VII Gold Cup — and it is not difficult to see why.
Between 1990 and 2004, the legendary skipper won the prestigious trophy seven times, the most in the regatta's history.
He is one of only seven skippers to win successive Gold Cups and the first to achieve the feat after the regatta was revamped in 1985.
The Cup, Coutts said, will forever hold a special place in his heart.
“The Gold Cup was important to me and still is,” said Coutts, who is the CEO of America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA. “I loved my races here. They were some fantastic races and I had some great duels on Hamilton Harbour.”
The King Edward VII Gold Cup is the oldest match-racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts. It was given at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907 by King Edward VII in commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America.
C. Sherman Hoyt won the regatta and was the first to accept the now historic cup.
After three decades of holding the Cup, Hoyt gave it to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and proposed a regular one-on-one match-race series in six-metre yachts.
Much has changed since then, including the choice of boat design, with racing now held in the International One Design classic sloop.
The regatta is now known as the Argo Group Gold Cup and is sanctioned by the Alpari World Match Racing Tour featuring many America's Cup calibre sailors.
“It's great to see the Gold Cup going strong,” Coutts said. “People have talked to me about coming and sailing in it again. But obviously I wouldn't be prepared as I once was.
“Of course I've got other responsibilities these days. But who knows ... I might come along and have another shot at it and see how it goes.
“It would be fun to try, but I don't know whether I qualify.”
Coutts's fond sailing memories in Bermuda's waters played a significant factor in the Island being awarded the America's Cup om Tuesday.
“It factored heavily and I think the enthusiasm we have already seen from Bermudians is going to help create the right atmosphere,” the Olympic gold medallist and multiple world match racing champion said.
“I haven't done a lot of sailing in the Great Sound, but I can just envision what it's going to be like in 2017 with these super fast boats. It's going to be pretty cool.”