Gold Cup scrapped as organisers hit impasse
There will be no Argo Group Gold Cup this year.
The future of the event has been hanging in the balance ever since the World Match Racing Tour switched to M32 catamarans last year, from the one-design yachts that were used previously.
Organisers had been hoping to find a way to hold the regatta, with Peter Shrubb, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club rear commodore, saying in April he was “hopeful the Gold Cup will carry on”.
However, discussions between the WMRT, the RBYC and Argo Group Limited, which has sponsored the event for the past eight years, have come to an end without agreement.
Hakan Svensson, the tour's owner, was scheduled to visit the island to “thrash things out”, but even then there were too many questions that had yet to be answered.
“There's too many things up in the air at the moment with the World Match Racing Tour,” Shrubb said at the time. “There haven't been any decisions made as to whether the yacht club can actually move forward with a decision on whether we can hold the Gold Cup this year in the same format as last.”
Argo has also committed to sponsoring Artemis Racing in their challenge to win the America's Cup next year, and Andy Cox, the chairman of the Gold Cup regatta, said that was where the sponsor's priorities presently lay.
“With Bermuda playing host to the America's Cup next year, the focus and energy is on that right now,” Cox said.
Mark Watson, the Argo chief executive, said he was proud to have formed a partnership with Artemis, when his company's sponsorship was announced in mid-April.
“We are excited to work with Artemis Racing and particularly pleased to be involved in a series that will see the best sailors in the world compete right here in Bermuda during the America's Cup,” Watson said.
There is no suggestion, however, that this one-year hiatus signals an end to the regatta, and Cox is hopeful it will return to the match racing calendar next year.
“We are looking forward to meeting with Argo Group and Mark Watson in the spring of 2017 to plan for upcoming Argo Group Gold Cup regattas,” he said.
“It's great to have a partner that is committed to the Gold Cup and sailing in Bermuda.”
The King Edward VII Gold Cup is the oldest match racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts, and former winners have included America's Cup trio Sir Russell Coutts, Jimmy Spithill and Sir Ben Ainslie.