For the third time since 2008, Swedish skipper Johnie Berntsson won the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the championship trophy of the Bermuda Gold Cup match racing tournament.
Hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Bermuda Gold Cup is a World Championship event of the World Match Racing Tour and is the second oldest match racing trophy in the world, after the America’s Cup.
The Berntsson Racing Team included Herman Andersson on tactics, Bjorn Lundgren on mainsail trim and Patrik Sturesson on headsail trim. They finished the regatta with a perfect score of 11-0 and won $25,000 of the $75,000 prize purse.
“I can recall being over the moon the first time I won this trophy. I never thought it would happen. Now it’s happened a third time and I’m super grateful,” said the 51-year-old Berntsson, a medical IT consultant from Stenungsund, Sweden. “Sailing with Patrik, Herman and Bjorn, they pushed me all around the course. The tactics were excellent, the trimming was excellent, and it all helped me grow as a helmsman and build our confidence.”
For Berntsson it is the third time that he has won the coveted gold trophy that was first awarded in 1907, having previously captured it in 2008 and 2014. He also finished runner-up four times (2011, 2012, 2018, 2019) and has the second-most finals appearances behind the event’s all-time winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand, who won the trophy seven times between 1990 and 2004 and finished runner-up twice.
“I’m so proud to be part of the history of the King Edward VII Gold Cup,” said Berntsson. “There have been so many great sailors racing and winning here. I’m really proud to be part of that nice, successful group of sailors. It’s very good feelings.”
The King Edward VII Gold Cup is one of the most coveted championships in match racing. The regatta has been run in its current format, as a ladder-style tournament on the confines of Hamilton Harbour, since 1985.
The Berntsson Racing Team won the title as much for their work in the Qualifying Round as for the Knockout Rounds. After two days of racing, October 3-4, which saw the completion of the Qualifying and Quarterfinal rounds, the regatta was postponed for the next two days due to Tropical Storm Philippe. Strong winds of 25-35 knots in Hamilton Harbour forced the cancellation of the Semifinal and Final rounds.
“We’re passionate about sailing and would’ve loved to be on the water,” said Berntsson. “It’s frustrating but winning the Gold Cup covers it all.”
Berntsson won all 11 of his races but should’ve sailed only 10 races. A scoring penalty in Race 3 of the quarterfinals, for causing damage in a collision, resulted in an additional race to score the 3 points required for advancement. Even at 10-0 he would’ve won the regatta.
Taylor Canfield’s Stars+Stripes USA team of Robby Bisi, Mike Buckley, Ian Liberty and Erik Shampain, finished second with a 9-2 record and won $12,000.
“The Bermuda Gold Cup is one of the best match racing events in the world,” said Canfield, a three-time winner (2012, 2018, 2020). “It’s disappointing we didn’t get to race today. We came here to win, and I think we had the crew to get the job done.”
Ian Williams’ (GBR) Chinaone Ningbo team of Jon Gunderson, Gerard Mitchell and Richard Sydenham, finished third at 8-2 and won $10,000. Williams is a two-time winner (2006, ’209) of the trophy and a runner-up (2020).
Harry Price’s (AUS) Down Under Racing crew of Taylor Balogh, Julia Lines and Connor Mashlan, placed fourth with an 8-4 record and won $8,000. Price’s crew included Bermudian Lines, who worked the bow. Price previously finished third in 2019.
At the awards ceremony two special trophies were presented. The Jordy Walker Trophy was presented in honor of past Commodore B. W. “Jordy” Walker to the most improved young match race sailor at the Bermuda Gold Cup. This year’s recipient was 21-year-old Jeffrey Petersen of Santa Ana, California.
The Wedgwood Heritage Trophy, awarded in honor of Lord Piers Wedgwood, is presented to the sailor or support staff who best represents the traditional values and history of sailing. This year’s recipient was Nicole Butterworth, the Bermuda Gold Cup’s Regatta Manager and the Sailing Secretary for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club who was a driving force behind getting the Bermuda Gold Cup back on the water after a two-year absence.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club thanks Host Sponsor Bermuda Tourism Authority, Presenting Sponsors RenaissanceRe and Aspen, and Primary Sponsors Goslings, BF&M, Best Shipping and Joe Vieira Trucking, and Supporting Sponsors Healthcare Solutions, the Bermuda IOD Fleet, Oleander Cycles, Clearwater Systems and ECL Bermuda.