Racing for the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup starts October 2nd and the finals are scheduled for October 7th. <em>*Photo by Charles Anderson</em>
Racing for the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup starts October 2nd and the finals are scheduled for October 7th. *Photo by Charles Anderson

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25: The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has issued invitations for the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup. Automatic invitations went to the nine Alpari World Match Racing Tour Card Holders. Another 13 invitations went to a selection of top sailors in the ISAF Match Race ‘Open’ Rankings, to some past participants in the Gold Cup and to up-and-coming skippers on the match racing scene.

The 24-team format of the Argo Group Gold Cup is unique on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Nine of the team slots are available for Tour Card Holders, three are selected from qualifying events - the Knickerbocker Cup and the Detroit Cup in the USA, and the Bermuda National Match Race Championship. The remaining slots are filled by application and invitations issued by the Gold Cup Committee.

Tour Card Holders for 2012 include Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Simone Ferrarese (ITA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Laurie Jury (NZL), Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA), Phil Robertson (NZL), Keith Swinton (AUS) and Ian Williams (GBR). Former Gold Cup champions on the additional list include Ben Ainslie (GBR), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Jesper Radich (DEN), and Mathieu Richard (FRA).

The deadline for acceptance by the initial group is May 14th. After this date, the Tour Card Holder’s entry in the event will not be guaranteed. The selection committee will then consider additional ranked skippers and other applicants to be invited to fill all the available slots.

This year will mark the 62nd staging of match racing for the King Edward VII Gold Cup. Names on the trophy read like a who’s who of match race sailing. Since the event was reformatted to be an event under the World Match Association in 1985, multiple winners include Chris Dixon (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Peter Gilmour (AUS), and Ben Ainslie (GBR). Ian Williams (GBR), winner of the World Match Racing Tour last year, won the Gold Cup in 2006.

Racing for the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup starts October 2nd and the finals are scheduled for October 7th. Spectator friendly racing held in Hamilton Harbour adjacent to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Marina is a spectacular attraction for tourists and Bermuda residents.