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Team Japan to join Gold Cup fleet

Plain sailing: SoftBank Team Japan competed at last month’s World Series in Portsmouth

America’s Cup racing syndicates Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan will be among next month’s Argo Group Gold Cup fleet.

Artemis Racing, who have just hosted the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg, are making their second straight appearance in the Gold Cup while Team Japan will debut in the World Match Racing Tour event.

The Gold Cup fleet will again feature some of the world’s elite match race sailors.

“We have all of the Tour Card Holders, two America’s Cup teams and the winner of the national championships, which are going to be held this month,” said Peter Shrubb, the rear commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, who is in charge of international sailing events.

“We also have four others who are pretty highly ranked people on the match race circuit, so it’s going to be a really good line-up.”

Shrubb also confirmed that Johnie Berntsson, the two-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner and champion, and Stena Sailing Team are back to defend their crown.

“Johnie is coming back which is excellent,” Shrubb said. “This is probably one of the strongest line-ups we have had in a long time so it’s going to be really good.”

Returning as Gold Cup commentator this year is Tucker Thompson, the television host and commentator of the America’s Cup.

Meanwhile, the Gold Cup, which runs from October 7 to 11, could be the last involving the International One Design racing sloop.

After the announcement of Aston Harald AB’s acquisition of the ISAF-sanctioned World Match Racing Tour in June, there has been a shift in emphasis towards high-performance M32 catamaran for next year’s championship.

The Stena Match Cup has already announced that it will be raced in new M32 multihulls and James Pleasance, the executive director of the World Match Racing Tour, has made clear his ambition to extend use of the M32 across more events on the series, including the Gold Cup.

“It’s only a matter of time before the M32s becomes the boat of the Tour,” Shrubb said. “Now whether we can get enough of them here when we have the Gold Cup next year is yet to be seen.

“I understand they are going to be sending eight or ten of them to the East Coast of the United States and if that happens, hopefully we will be able to get them down to Bermuda.

“The Deed of Gift [for the Gold Cup] does not specify a particular class of boat and in the past we have held it in a number of different types of boats, but mostly in the IODs.

An M32 catamaran, which are made of carbon fibre, will be on display at the Gold Cup. ”One of the boats is going to be sent down here as a demonstration boat so we can see exactly what it’s like and what it can do and whether it’s appropriate to sail in the harbour,” Shrubb said.

Former Gold Cup winner Taylor Canfield and US One are very familiar with the M32 catamaran.

Canfield leads the M32 Series in Europe, which welcomed past Gold Cup winner and five-times World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams among the ranks.

Williams has joined to gain more competitive experience of multihull racing before the new-look 2016 tour.