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Gold Cup elevated to Open Worlds

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and World Match Racing Tour have announced that the Bermuda Gold Cup will also host the 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship.

The Bermuda Gold Cup, which was postponed from mid-May to late October, has rejoined the World Match Racing Tour for the 2020 season. It will be held from October 26 to 30.

It was one of four World Championship-level competitions on the Tour's 19-event calendar, however, due to Covid-19, many events were forced to take place on a local capacity or were cancelled.

After consulting with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Executive Committee and World Sailing, the World Match Racing Tour made the decision to elevate the Bermuda Gold Cup to the Open World Championship regatta for 2020.

“We couldn't be happier that the World Match Racing Tour has selected the Bermuda Gold Cup to host the Open Match Racing World Championship,” said Leatrice Oatley, chairperson of the Bermuda Gold Cup, presented by Argo Group.

“The Bermuda Gold Cup has always been a standard setter in the match racing arena and we're thrilled to host the Worlds for a second time.

“The pandemic has made it a long year for everyone around the globe, and the hurricane we just endured was a cruel joke, but a competitive Gold Cup and world championship would be a great way to flip the script positive.”

Alastair Fox, the director of events for World Sailing, added: “As the single World Championship event for the 2020 World Match Racing Tour, we are delighted to see the world's best competitors have committed to sailing at the Bermuda Gold Cup.”

The preliminary line-up includes the reigning World Champion, New Zealander Phil Robertson, who lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Robertson won the worlds in 2016 and 2019 and has been sailing multihulls predominantly for the past few years.

Having competed at the Bermuda Gold Cup on five occasions, Robertson is well aware of the difficulty racing the International One-Design sloop on Hamilton Harbour.

“Winning a third championship will be very difficult, but I wouldn't attend if I didn't think my crew could put forth a winning performance,” the 33-year-old said.

“The IOD is about as far away as possible from my skill set right now, given all the multihull sailing I've been doing, but we'll do all we can to hone in on mastering it.”

Spoiling to thwart his attempt are a few past world champions.

Six-times champion Ian Williams, of Britain, will go for a record seventh title while the 2017 champion, Torvar Mirsky, of Australia, aims to add a second title to his resume.

There is also Sweden's Anna Östling, a two-times winner of the Women's Match Racing World Championship.

If Östling achieves her goal in Bermuda, she would become the first woman to win both the Women's and Open Match Racing World Championships.

James Pleasance, executive director of the World Match Racing Tour, said: “Besides having past world champions in the competitive line-up, it's fantastic to welcome Anna and her world-calibre crew to the event.

“It would be a wonderful story if she were to become the first woman to win the Open Worlds.”

This will be the second time that Bermuda hosts the Open Match Racing World Championship.

In 1991, the regatta was held on Hamilton Harbour the week after the Bermuda Gold Cup. Amid deteriorating conditions because of a tropical storm, New Zealander Chris Dickson defeated American Peter Isler.

The winner of the Bermuda Gold Cup will receive the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the oldest trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts, as well as the $30,000 winner's check.

Skipper Phil Robertson, second from left, and crew are all smiles after winning the 2019 Open Match Racing World Championship (Photograph by Drew Malcolm/ChinaOne.Ningbo)

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Published September 16, 2020 at 1:32 pm (Updated September 16, 2020 at 6:40 pm)

Gold Cup elevated to Open Worlds

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