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America’s Cup five head to Bermuda

The America's Cup is coming to Bermuda — well, sort of.

As many as five sailors involved in this year's America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup will be among those competing for the prestigious King Edward VII Trophy and $100,000 in prize money during next week's Argo Group Gold Cup in Hamilton Harbour.

Among them are two-time Gold Cup winner Ben Ainslie (England), Kyle Langford (Australia), Iain Percy (England), Adam Minoprio (New Zealand) and Francesco Bruni (Italy).

Multiple Olympic gold medallists Ainslie and Langford served as tactician and wing trimmer aboard Larry Ellison's AC72 catamaran, Oracle Team USA, that successfully defended the Auld Mug after completing a stunning comeback against challengers Emirates Team New Zealand in the best of 17 series in San Francisco Bay. At age 24, Langford was the youngest member of Oracle Team USA.

Adam Minoprio, who lost to Ainslie in the 2009 Gold Cup final, was a member of Emirates Team New Zealand while Bruni was a member of Italy's America's Cup entry, Luna Rossa Challenge (originally named Prada).

Percy was the skipper of Sweden's America's Cup entry, Artemis.

“Obviously we are enthusiastic about the calibre of sailors we have, both those who have been involved in the recent America's Cup as well as the top sailors around the world who are coming to Bermuda,” said Gold Cup race Chairman Brian Billings.

This year's Gold Cup fleet boasts the eight Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) Cardholders including reigning champion Taylor Canfield (US Virgin Islands) and past winners Ian Williams (England) and Johnie Berntsson (Sweden).

Canfield is currently the top ranked skipper on ISAF's list and is second behind reigning AWMRT champion Williams in the 2013 AWMRT championship series.

Ainslie is one of only two skippers to win back to back Gold Cup since the regatta was reformatted in 1984 behind Russell Coutts who recently resigned as CEO of Oracle Team USA. Coutts is the most victorious skipper in Gold Cup history with seven wins under his belt between 1992 and 2004.

Ainslie and Bermuda national match racing champion Joshua Greenslade are the only skippers in this year's Gold Cup fleet that are not listed in the ISAF world rankings.

“Weather permitting we think it's going to be a pretty exciting event and is going to be pretty close competition,” Billings added. “Of course there are a lot of guys who bring an awful lot to the table for the Argo Group Gold Cup.

“A lot of these people have an awful lot of experience in the Gold Cup and also around the world so everybody is going to have to be at the top of their game in order to be successful. Anybody who makes a slip is not going to bode well.”

This year's Gold Cup fleet also boasts four teams that have recorded wins on the 2013 AWMRT.

Canfield won the Chicago Match Race, Bjorn Hansen (Sweden) topped the fleet at the Stena Match Cup in Sweden, Williams captured glory at the Match Race Germany while Mathieu Richard (France) won the Korea Match Cup.

Richard is also a past Gold Cup winner.

The 2013 Argo Group Gold Cup will be held October 7-13 and will be contested for in the International One Design (IOD) sloop.

Argo Group Gold Cup race chairman Brian Billings (right)

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Published October 03, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 03, 2013 at 6:22 pm)

America’s Cup five head to Bermuda

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