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No pressure says defending champion

Reigning Argo Group Gold Cup champion Taylor Canfield was among the handful of teams taking advantage of variable conditions over the weekend.

The US Virgin Islands skipper practised with his US One Sailing team-mates on Saturday and Sunday in the hope of getting the early jump on the competition.

“We figured we'd come and charter a boat beforehand and try and get a bit of an edge going into the event,” Canfield said. “It's a different boat and tough venue so we're just trying to get used to this kind of tricky sailing in new boats.”

Winds were light to moderate in Hamilton Harbour on the weekend and are expected to increase from moderate to strong today.

“It's supposed to be really windy tomorrow (today) so one light day, one medium day and one heavy day should help us pretty well for anything,” Canfield added.

“We're just trying to sail in as many conditions as possible.”

Canfield insisted there's no added pressure on his broad shoulders going into this year's Gold Cup as defending champion.

“It's just another event and we just have to go out there and perform one race at a time,” he said. “If we sail to the best of our ability I think the result will come in the end.”

The 24-year old skipper captured a maiden King Edward VII Gold Cup last year after recording an emphatic win against past Gold Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (Sweden) in the final.

Canfield, who already has one win on this year's Tour (Chicago Match Cup) under his belt, is presently thick in the hunt for the WMRT title. He trails leader and reigning world match racing champ Ian Williams by nine points heading into the Gold Cup.

“We're still the young team on the Tour so we still have pretty much everything to gain on the Tour and this is our chance again to prove ourselves now that we are at the Tour level,” he said. “I think we are just going to work hard all the way through and the result will come hopefully.”

Canfield is the top seed for the Gold Cup and has been placed in Group One which includes local sailor Lance Fraser.

Fraser was supervised by Canfield this past summer during a stint as an intern at Chicago Match Race Centre.

The two skippers sailed against each other at the weekend.

“We sailed a little bit against him and he's going well,” Canfield said. “I think he's got a great crew here with him and is actually sailing with one of our normal crew members (Michael Rehe) as well when we sail the five-man boats.

“He's sailing with a Gold Cup winner from last year that will be strong and I know he has some local guys (Nico Stefani and Adam Barboza) in the boat that will be a big help to sailing the IOD quick.”

Fraser is looking forward to mixing it up with his boss.

“At some point will be sailing against Taylor which will be some fun,” he said. “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.”

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Published October 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 06, 2013 at 7:42 pm)

No pressure says defending champion

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