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Out-of-form Fraser steps aside

Taking a break: Lance Fraser

For the first time in recent memory Lance Fraser and Team Digicel Business Match Racing will not be represented in the Argo Group Gold Cup.

Fraser was not invited to compete this year and will not be among those vying for the sole Gold Cup qualifying spot up for grabs at this month’s Bermuda National Match Racing Championships, citing lack of form required to compete at this level and work commitments as the reasons behind his decision.

“I just graduated from university and have started working in Toronto and therefore I do not have the time to commit to sailing the Gold Cup at a high level this year,” Fraser said.

“It wouldn’t be fair to other sailors who have the opportunity to qualify for me to potentially win the spot and use up my own and other people’s resources when I wouldn’t be able to put the proper effort into competing at a high level.

“The Bermuda spot deserves to go to someone who can truly put the effort into representing the country at the highest level, and sadly this year that wouldn’t be our team even if we could sail and win the nationals.

“Hopefully it’s a different story next year and I hope that another young sailor wins nationals and has the amazing opportunity to sail in what might be the last IOD Gold Cup ever.”

Fraser and Somers Kempe represented Bermuda in last year’s Gold Cup.

Kempe, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore, qualified after being crowned national match racing champion, while Fraser was invited as the top-ranked match-race sailor in Bermuda and 57th in the world after others declined.

Kempe has confirmed that he will defend his national match racing title this month and will be joined on board his International One Design sloop by multiple national match race champion, Blythe Walker, who finished third at the 2006 Gold Cup.

Organisers have yet to announce the field. It is understood that it could potentially include America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker and Peter Bromby, the former Bermuda Olympian.

Barker, the skipper and CEO of SoftBank Team Japan, is also competing in next month’s Gold Cup along with fellow America’s Cup challenger Artemis Racing.