Canfield heads Gold Cup line-up
Taylor Canfield will place his America's Cup preparations on hold to compete for the oldest trophy awarded for competition involving one-design yachts in Bermuda's Port of Call starting on October 26.
The US Virgin Islands sailor, who is expected to be at the helm of 36th America's Cup challenger Stars & Stripes Team USA, is among a star-studded, 16-strong field that will compete for the prestigious King Edward VII Gold Cup and share of the $100,000 purse at the Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship.
“The Bermuda Gold Cup is definitely one of my favourite events,” Canfield, a two-times champion, said.
“It gives me the sense of growing up in the islands, sort of tropical with a punchy breeze. I love the shifty racing on Hamilton Harbour; it caters to my style of sailing.”
Canfield captured a maiden Gold Cup in 2012 with USone Sailing Team and added a second in 2018.
“I'm looking forward to going back,” the 31-year-old added. “There are a lot of friends and people down there that I consider family from doing the event for so long. I'm most excited about sailing a match-racing event.”
The 2013 World Match Racing champion is among four previous Gold Cup winners competing, including Sweden's Johnie Berntsson, Australian Torvar Mirsky and Ian Williams, of Britain.
Williams is the defending champion and will be gunning for his third title and a record seventh world match-racing title.
“Many of the greatest sailors in the world have competed at some point in the Bermuda Gold Cup,” he said. “This year will again be a very strong field.
“Sailing in Hamilton Harbour is always very challenging, with each different wind direction making for a very different set of conditions.”
The star-studded field also consists of New Zealand's Phil Robertson, the world champion, as well as the top-ranked match racers in the men's and women's categories — Eric Monnin, of Switzerland, and Pauline Courtois, of France.
They will be joined by Anna Östling, the two-times women's world champion from Sweden.
Also in the mix are Chris Poole, the top-ranked American competing and seventh in the world, Sweden's Nicklas Dackhamma and Lance Fraser, who is no stranger, having grown up on the island. He will be representing Canada.
Flying Bermuda's banner for the second straight year will be Kelsey Durham, while Estonia's Mati Sepp, the Netherlands' Jelmer van Beek, Denmark's Jeppe Borch and Matthew Whitfield, of Britain, are making their Gold Cup debuts.
“The lure of winning two esteemed championships in one fell swoop has led to a fantastic fleet that is both competitive and accomplished,” said Leatrice Oatley, the regatta chairwoman and former Bermuda Sailing Association and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore. “We're happy to welcome those who've been to Bermuda before and look forward to welcoming the new crews.
“Bermuda and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club are ready to share the hospitality that is a hallmark of the regatta — just remember to bring a mask.”
The dual regatta will be held from October 26 to 30 in Hamilton Harbour, where the teams will do battle in the International One-Design sloop.