Durham’s Gold Cup crew arrive in the nick of time
Kelsey Durham breathed a sigh of relief after the all American crew he will compete with at next week’s Bermuda Gold Cup arrived on island yesterday.
There had been doubts bowman Alex Ellis, trimmer Edward Lebens and tactician and main Charlie Lalumiere would arrive in time for the event due to the threat of Hurricane Epsilon.
“I was stressing earlier on in the week that they were not going to make it on time,” Durham said. “I wasn’t really worried about the Covid-19 issues delaying their arrival, it was more or less the storm.
“But they arrived safe and healthy and I am just glad they made it with this storm around.”
Durham is now looking forward to spending precious time on the water practising with his team-mates ahead of Monday’s start of the regatta, which will also serve as the 2020 Open World Match Racing Championship.
“Now that the team is here and together we have to wait for the Covid-19 tests to come back,” he added. “Hopefully we get them tonight [Friday] so that we can train tomorrow [Saturday] morning.”
The 26-year-old is making his second appearance in the World Match Racing Tour sanctioned regatta.
He pulled off a stunning upset on his debut last year by upstaging Torvar Mirsky, the world champion, during the qualifying round.
It proved to the high point of the event for Durham who ultimately bowed at the first hurdle.
Since then, he has gained more match racing experience competing both at home and abroad at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto and Oakcliff Sailing Centre in Long Island.
“I have been sailing a lot more match racing regattas since last year's Gold Cup,” he said. “I also got a new job with Manhattan Yacht Club, so I am doing what I love and I have been with them since last November.”
The Bermuda Gold Cup will be held from Monday to Friday in Hamilton Harbour, where the teams will do battle in the International One Design sloop for the prestigious King Edward VII Gold Cup and share of the $100,000 purse.
Ian Williams, of Britain, is the defending champion and will be gunning for a third Gold Cup and record seventh world match-racing title.
Williams is among four previous Gold Cup winners competing, including last year’s runner up Johnie Berntsson, Australian Torvar Mirsky and Taylor Canfield, of the US Virgin Islands.
The star-studded field also consists of Phil Robertson, the world champion from New Zealand, 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.