Bermudians to take on world’s elite youth in Optimist dinghy on Great Sound
HAMILTON, Bermuda (May 7, 2019) — The RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup returns for the 17th year of forging friendships and testing seamanship for youth sailors around the world.
The goal of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club organizers and sponsor RenaissanceRe was to create a world class youth regatta in Bermuda to give local sailors the opportunity to race against some of the best in the world on their home waters alongside the world’s best match racers sailing the Argo Group Gold Cup.
The entry criteria mirrors that of the Olympics where only one entry per nation is permitted to race, making the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup more select than even the Optimist World Championship.
Due to this format the young sailors make new friendships that might not otherwise happen when travelling with a team of compatriots.
“The uniqueness of the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup means that friendships are forged that last well into the sailors’ lives,” said event chairwoman Dede Cooper, who has run the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup since 2009. “The sailors forge friendships and carry memories that last well beyond their years in the Optimist.”
Professional sailors such as Taylor Canfield, originally from the US Virgin Islands, sailed the RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup and now is in line to skipper and America’s Cup challenging syndicate. Another, Nicklas Dackhammar of Sweden, raced last year’s Volvo Ocean Race.
Stephan Baker of the U.S. won the 16th annual RenRe Junior Gold Cup. The 14-year-old Baker, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., dominated the regatta with the low score of 14 points and finished 20 points ahead of Bermudian Christian Ebbin.
Baker has been almost untouchable on the Optimist circuit. He currently holds the title of overall winner at the South American and North American Championships, the Mar Del Plata regatta, the Orange Bowl regatta and the 2018 USA Optimist Team Trials along with the title of 2017 US National Champion. He was fourth in the 2017 World Championships in Thailand as well.
“The atmosphere and the water temperature make it really nice to sail here,” said Baker. “I liked sailing in the heavier winds. It was tough but nice and I enjoyed it. It just worked out.”
The RenRe Junior Gold Cup was created as a boutique world class youth regatta in Bermuda for local sailors to have the opportunity to sail with some of the world’s best on their home waters while also mingling with some of the world’s best match racers participating in the Argo Group Gold Cup.
Two sailors competing in the Argo Group Gold Cup, Taylor Canfield of the U.S. and Nicklas Dackhammar of Sweden, are past participants in the Junior Gold Cup.