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Fraser joins Gold Cup fleet

Lance Fraser could hardly believe his luck after receiving an invitation to sail against the world's elite match racing skippers during next month's Argo Group Gold Cup.

The 20-year old sailor, who is the highest ranked match racing sailor on the Island, lost out to Joshua Greenslade during last weekend's Gold Cup qualifier (Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) Match Racing Nationals).

Fraser lost the best-of-five final series 2-3 and looked set to become a spectator at the upcoming regatta before organisers threw the young sailor a lifeline after three qualifiers could not make the commitment.

“Lance has been given an invitation because some of the qualifiers from the feeder (qualifying) events are unable to make it,” race Chairman Brian Billings told The Royal Gazette.

“We are now actively pursuing other skippers which we have a number of on the waiting list, including Lance, which is why he got an invitation.”

Fraser, who has competed in previous Gold Cups, said he was grateful to have been given another shot at competing in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) sanctioned event.

“We are lucky to have another shot at it and looking forward to October,” he said. “We got a bit lucky one of the qualifiers couldn't make the trip and we ended up getting an invite.”

Fraser sailed with crew Adam Barboza (main), Paul Wring (jib) and Carola Cooper (bow) in the International One Design (IOD) during last weekend's Nationals.

But he revealed that changes could be made to his crew prior to the Gold Cup.

“I think Adam is pretty much confirmed for the Gold Cup but obviously my boys (Jason and Jordan Saints) from last year always get the first shot at sailing with me because they have been sailing with me for so long,” Fraser said.

“It was unfortunate they weren't available on Saturday. But they might be able to come back for the Gold Cup.”

Fraser, who is ranked 79th in the WMRT rankings, made no excuses for his loss to former Optimist rival Greenslade.

“I was pretty disappointed in not being able to qualify outright,” he said. “But I don't have anybody to blame and Josh sailed really well.

“Josh was right on top of his game. He couldn't make any mistakes, we made more than he did and he deserved the win.”

Greenslade, who is a past Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup winner, is excited to get the chance to race against some of the sailors he has watched compete at the Gold Cup growing up.

“Lance and I did the Junior Gold Cup and being able to see what they did when we were younger and now compete against some of the same guys we watched sail here is pretty exciting,” he said.

Greenslade competed in the Nationals with crew Blythe Walker (main), Sean Evans (jib/spinnaker) and Tom Herbert-Evans.

Reflecting on last weekend's triumph, the 22 year-old sailor said: “We put a lot of time in the boat and on Saturday we just made sure our boat handling was all right and hopefully that would make a difference.

“We started quite well during the round-robin and at worst we were even on most of our starts so it came down to our boat speed — and we had very good boat speed.

“In the final it was going back and forth before we pulled the last two races off. It was very close and I was a little nervous at the end there — but it worked out.

“This is the first time I've tried to qualify because I've been away in school most of the time and haven't had the time to come back. But seeing as I'm here I gave it a shot and it worked out.”

Greenslade and Fraser will compete against a star-studded Gold Cup fleet that includes reigning champion Taylor Canfield (US Virgin Islands), defending WMRT champion Ian Williams (England) and four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie (England).

The eventwill be held from October 8-13 in Hamilton Harbour.

IOD sailors Joshua Greenslade (left) and Lance Fraser will both represent Bermuda in the Argo Gold Cup in Hamilton Harbour next month. Photo by Mark Tatem

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Published September 05, 2013 at 3:01 pm (Updated September 05, 2013 at 7:49 pm)

Fraser joins Gold Cup fleet

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