The addition of four of the world’s top match racers, including Women’s World No. 1 Pauline Courtois of France, makes the field for the 2019 Argo Group Gold Cup one of the most diverse and cements its status as the preeminent match race regatta.
Courtois and World No. 3 Harry Price of Australia, World No. 5 Maxime Mesnil of France and World No. 15 Chris Poole of the U.S. are recent entrants to the regatta, scheduled May 6-11 and awarding $100,000 in prize money.
They join a field that already features World No. 1 Ian Williams of Great Britain, No. 2 Eric Monnin of Switzerland and No. 4 Ettore Botticini of Italy, as well as Women’s World No. 6 Lucy Macgregor of Great Britain. Macgregor had a magical run at last year’s Gold Cup to place fourth overall, the best finish ever by a women’s crew.
Also entered is World No. 7 Nicklas Dackhammar of Sweden, No. 8 Toravr Mirsky of Australia and No. 13 Johnie Berntsson of Sweden.
In total, the field includes two crews each from Australia, France, Great Britain and Sweden and one each from Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. The final entrant will be the Bermuda National Match Race champion.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the way the lineup has filled out,” said event chairperson Leatrice Oatley, a past commodore of host Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “To have two of the best women’s match racers alongside the top five male skippers shows the appeal of the Gold Cup and racing in Bermuda. We’re very happy to have such a diverse and international field.”
Courtois, Price and Mesnil are all making their debuts at the Argo Group Gold Cup. None of the three has been to Bermuda before, although their knowledge of the Gold Cup is steeped in its tradition.
“We’ve never been to Bermuda before but we know that the Argo Group Gold Cup is a prestigious regatta with many famous winners,” said the 30-year-old Courtois, who won the 2018 Women’s International Match Racing Series with two firsts in the five-event series. “The Gold Cup is one of the major match racing events and it’s an honor to be invited.”
Price’s Down Under Racing team from Sydney, Australia, enters the Argo Group Gold Cup as the youngest crew alongside Botticini’s CNVA Sailing Team from Italy. Both skippers will be aged 23 during the Argo Group Gold Cup. Price won the Youth Match Racing World Championship in 2017, over Botticini, and has since gone on to post some top finishes on the world tour, including third place at last year’s Regata de Portugal.
“The Gold Cup is a very prestigious event,” said Price. “It will be a great challenge both on and off the water to maintain a high standard of professionalism. I’m really excited to partake in the event.”
The 29-year-old Mesnil, who has been match racing for the better part of the past 10 years, has climbed to No. 5 in the world based on steady results. Similar to Courtois and Price, Mesnil is looking forward to the challenge of Hamilton Harbour’s tricky conditions.
“I think the Gold Cup is one of the best match race events in the world,” said Mesnil. “It’s our first time in Bermuda and our first goal is to get to the quarterfinals and to have fun.”
With the 69th edition of the event coming up, the Argo Group Gold Cup is pre-dated by only the America’s Cup. The Gold Cup trophy was first presented in 1907 by King Edward VII at the Tri-Centenary Regatta, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America in Jamestown, Virginia.
The crew-on-crew racing in International One-Design (IOD) sloops will be held on Hamilton Harbour, directly in front of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club docks where the pre-start circling action is often played out within feet of the docks.
The Argo Group Gold Cup is sponsored for the 10th year by Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd., an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty market. The Bermuda Tourism Authority is the Host Sponsor.
2019 Argo Group Gold Cup Preliminary Entrant List
- Johnie Berntsson (SWE) World No. 13, 10th Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2008, ’14)
- Ettore Botticini (ITA) World No. 4, second Argo Group Gold Cup, reigning Youth Match Racing World champion
- Pauline Courtois (FRA) Women’s World No. 1, first Argo Group Gold Cup
- Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) World No. 7, third Argo Group Gold Cup
- Lucy Macgregor (GBR) Women’s World No. 6, third Argo Group Gold Cup, reigning three-time Women’s Match Racing World champion
- Maxime Mesnil (FRA) World No. 5, first Argo Group Gold Cup
- Torvar Mirsky (AUS) World No. 8, fifth Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2011), reigning Match Racing World champion
- Eric Monnin (SUI) World No. 2, 12th Argo Group Gold Cup
- Chris Poole (USA) World No. 15, fifth Argo Group Gold Cup
- Harry Price (AUS) World No. 3, 2017 Youth Match Racing World Champion
- Ian Williams (GBR) World No. 1, 11th Argo Group Gold Cup (champion 2006), six-time Match Racing World champion
- Bermuda National Match Racing champion to be named
by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club