Fraser sets sights on beating boss Canfield
It's never wise to bite the hand that feeds you.
But Bermuda's Lance Fraser could find himself doing just that during next month's Argo Group Gold Cup.
The 20-year-old skipper could potentially rub shoulders with defending Gold Cup champion Taylor Canfield who just happens to be his boss at Chicago Match Race Centre (CMRC) which is regarded as one of the premier match racing venues in North America.
“Taylor is actually the Sailing Director of CMRC so is one of my superiors,” Fraser said. “When he is not on the World Match Race Tour he is around every day, and I have been coaching alongside him and sailing with and against him, which is a great opportunity and a lot of fun.
“I know that he is looking forward to coming to Bermuda to defend his Gold Cup title. But Beating him would be a big win for us and I look forward to possibly having the chance.
“We've raced each other before in Bermuda and elsewhere and knowing him better from being in Chicago all summer will just make the race more fun if it happens. He is ranked number one in the world now and is sailing extremely well and he will be another tough race for us in the event. It will be exciting.”
Canfield captured a maiden Gold Cup after besting Johnie Berntsson of Sweden (3-0) in last year's final.
Since competing in last year's Gold Cup Fraser has made the most of the opportunity to sharpen his match racing skills while working as an intern at the CMRC.
“Working at CMRC is a great opportunity to improve my match racing game,” he said. “Other than match racing multiple times a week, I get to coach match racing and help run the events held here over the summer that gives me tremendous exposure to high quality match racing — even if I am not sailing in it all of the time.”
This year has seen the The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) sailor improve his world match racing ranking to 79th — an achievement he takes with great pride.
“We are happy to finally have a ranking that you can talk about a little bit,” he said. “But there are still seven or eight people ahead of us who we can easily get ahead of, so that's really the goal and hopefully the Gold Cup can help us with that if we sail a bit better than we have previously.”
If all goes according to plan, Fraser and his Digicel Business Match Racing teammates hope to achieve their goal of at least reaching the quarter finals of the Gold Cup.
“We've yet to accomplish our goal of reaching the quarter finals at the Gold Cup and are looking forward to hopefully having another shot at accomplishing that this year,” he said. “Last year we were one race off making the quarters and it was very tough to throw away that opportunity on the last day. If we can piece together three days of good sailing this year and eliminate those few mistakes, we should have a good opportunity to make it to the next round.”
Fraser enjoys all forms of sailing but really gets pumped up for match racing.
“Match racing is my favourite format; it is short, intense and fast-paced racing that emphasises teamwork and adaptability,” he said. “Each venue we attend has different boats that allows us to learn to race a huge variety of boats in different venues very quickly.
“A mistake in match racing is the difference between a win and a loss as opposed to a few places in a fleet race. The head-to-head battles and location of the venues close to shore make racing exciting for everyone involved.”