AWMRT – London, UK (Monday 19th August 2013): Sir Ben Ainslie and four former King Edward VII Gold Cup Champions will return to lead the fleet in the 2013 edition of the Argo Group Gold Cup. Reigning champ Taylor Canfield and 2012 Tour winner and 2006 Gold Cup champ Ian Williams are among the eight Alpari World Match Racing Tour Cardholders slated to compete. Williams now leads the Tour by nine points over Canfield and Adam Minoprio.
Hamilton BERMUDA, August 19, 2013 – For match race sailors, the coveted King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Argo Group Gold Cup, is a golden road to one of sailing’s holy grails, the America’s Cup. The legacy of this event has its unique rewards as we witness the return this year of Sir Ben Ainslie. He’ll join four other previous Gold Cup winners along with nine of the top ten skippers in the ISAF Open rankings and all of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour Cardholder skippers.
This year will be the 63rd staging of races for the King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy and the 6th with Argo Group’s support as title sponsor. Since the event was reformatted for match racing in 1985, the King Edward VII Gold Cup trophy has been held aloft by four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand (seven times), four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie of the United Kingdom (twice), and the youngest America’s Cup winner- James Spithill of Australia.
Mark Watson III, President and CEO of Argo Group is understandably excited about 2013. “This will be our sixth year as title sponsor of this classic match race sailed for the spectacular King Edward VII Gold Cup Trophy. Argo Group is proud to see this world class slate of skippers and crews coming to Bermuda again this year.
“Each year we have something new and this year we will move the Family Festival of Sail to the Sunday before racing starts. Skippers and crews will be registering, but the day’s focus will be on introducing young Bermudians and their families to our maritime history and watersports through the festival. The Argo Group Gold Cup finals will be the best and only show in town a week later. The younger generation of competitors always presents a tough challenge to the stars of the past during the Argo Group Gold Cup competition which makes this race especially exciting.”
Ainslie, who is the most successful sailor in Olympic history, won the Cup consecutively in 2009 and 2010. His classic approach to sailing Bermuda’s IODs, and his style and grace on and off the water have made him a true fan favorite here in Bermuda. The spectator fleet swells whenever he is on the racecourse. In a previous interview, Ainslie expressed his special affinity with the Gold Cup event, enjoying its traditions, the International One Design and especially the friends he has made here.
“We feel lucky because we love this venue,” said Ainslie. “We like the boats and they are challenging. The atmosphere is great and we have a lot of friends here. We are returning this year to focus attention on the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation (ASSF) that has been established since Bart’s tragic death in San Francisco this year. The Ben Ainslie Racing Team, called BART, is racing in the Argo Group Gold Cup to raise awareness for this worthwhile cause in memory of our late friend and fellow sailor. Bart and the charity are the reason we are racing, as well as the reason we are getting the band back together”
Ainslie’s ties to Bermuda go back to junior sailing. He first competed in Bermuda in 1995 winning the ISAF Youth Worlds Single Handed title. During the 2008 Argo Group Gold Cup, Ainslie was the skipper and Simpson was the team advisor. The team spent a lot of time talking to the young Optimist sailors gathered in Bermuda from around the world.
Ben spoke of Bart in a recent article in the Daily Telegraph saying, “Our friendship stretched right back to when we were boys coming up through the ranks. We started out against each other in Optimists… me, Iain Percy, Bart and a lot of the other sailors still going strong today, guys like Nick Rogers and Chris Draper. We grew up together.”
Ben’s crew from 2008 returns to Bermuda once again and includes the current Skipper of the Artemis America’s Cup Team and double Olympic Gold Medalist Iain Percy. Iain will be Tactician and Mainsheet Trimmer. Multiple Gold Cup Winner Christian Kamp will be jib trimmer and Ben’s former Team Origin bowman Matt Cornwall, affectionately known as “Catflap” throughout the yachting world will be aboard.
The return of Sir Ben Ainslie to Bermuda for the 2013 Argo Group Gold Cup adds a touch of high drama to this star studded event. He has been off the Tour since 2010 and will challenge the fleet. It is a full slate of eight Alpari World Match Racing Tour Card Holders and the four other past Tour champions who will be on hand heading up the two groups of teams in the qualifying round robin. Joining them on the event ladder will be eight other top ranked skippers and some up and coming teams including four automatic qualifiers.