Junior Gold Cup falls foul of virus

  • Ruling the waves: Action from last year’s RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup. This year’s instalment of the event has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Photograph by John Singleton)

    Ruling the waves: Action from last year’s RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup. This year’s instalment of the event has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Photograph by John Singleton)

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have been forced to postpone the eighteenth annual RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup until 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

First held in 2002, the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup brings together male and female sailors aged 12 to 15 from around the world for a multi-race series in the Optimist dinghy.

The regatta, originally scheduled for May 13 to 16, to run concurrently to the Bermuda Gold Cup, was founded as a means to give the island’s youth sailors a taste of international competition, and it has proven valuable in forging lasting friendships as the international sailors are housed with Bermudians.

Given the importance of social distancing in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and the various travel restrictions that are in place around the world, the decision was made to forgo the event this year.

The obstacles proved too challenging to warrant inviting 15 to 20 teenagers to Bermuda given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

“At the end of the day the risks involved did not match the reward as the full experience of the Junior Gold Cup would not be realised in 2020,” Dede Cooper, the event organiser said.

“It was a difficult decision and one that makes me sad as this is such a wonderful event for the youth sailors.

“As always, we are grateful to RenaissanceRe for their continuing support and look forward to welcoming everyone back to Bermuda sometime in 2021 for the eighteenth RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup.”

An announcement on the dates for 2021 will be made in due course.

Last year’s event was won by George Lee Rush of Takapuna, New Zealand, who put forth a commanding performance to lead the regatta from start to finish.

The 14-year-old from the Wakatere Boating Club, who previously competed in 2017 and placed thirteenth overall, stormed out of the gate, winning three of the first four races and never looked back.

Rush finished with the low score of 32 points in the 12-race regatta and had the championship wrapped up before the final race on Hamilton Harbour.

Meanwhile, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have set August 31 as the deadline to decide whether the Bermuda Gold Cup sailing regatta will take place.

The $100,000 match racing regatta, was scheduled for May until Covid-19 forced the closure of the airport in March. The event has been rescheduled for October 25 to 30.

This year’s regatta will be the 70th competition for the King Edward VII Trophy — the oldest match racing trophy in the world for one-design yachts — and will feature more than 70 sailors competing in 16 crews.

“Our primary concern is the safety and health of the participants, the club members and staff, Bermudians as a whole, and of course we defer to the Bermuda Government and their health experts to help frame those standards and protocols,” said regatta chairperson Leatrice Oatley in a letter addressed to competitors.

“We have decided that August 31 will be our BGC ‘Go/No-Go’ date to make a decision based on the Covid criteria.”

The criteria being monitored relate to travel, quarantining, both in a competitor’s home country and in Bermuda, testing availability, local boating restrictions with regards to social distancing and accommodations.

The Bermuda Gold Cup is presented by Argo Group for the benefit of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

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Published Aug 5, 2020 at 12:01 am (Updated Aug 5, 2020 at 10:38 am)

Junior Gold Cup falls foul of virus

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