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Bermuda Gold Cup still plotting October running

by Sean McNeill 28 Jul 09:49 BST 25-30 October 2020
Australian skipper Harry Price and crew are champing at the opportunity to follow-up on their third-place finish at the 2019 Bermuda Gold Cup © Charles Anderson

Organizers for the Bermuda Gold Cup, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's $100,000 match racing regatta, have set Aug. 31 as the deadline to decide whether this year's event, the planned 70th competition for the King Edward VII Trophy, will take place.

The Bermuda Gold Cup, presented by Argo Group for the benefit of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), is scheduled Oct. 25-30. The event of the World Match Racing Tour had been scheduled in May until the novel coronavirus COVID-19 forced the closing of Bermuda's L.F. Wade International Airport in March as Bermuda's government prohibited non-residents from entering the island. A field of 16 crews, between 65 and 70 sailors, is planned in addition to other personnel, both local and international.

"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 Aug. 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, both globally as well as to and from Bermuda, quarantining, both in a competitor's home country and in Bermuda, testing availability, local boating restrictions with regards to social distancing and accommodations.

Oatley noted that the criteria are dynamic and constantly changing. She added that Bermuda is working to find a new normal in the larger global scheme.

"Bermuda has fared well to date, partly through the closing of the airports from mid-March to July 1, but also from some aggressive shelter in place legislation and testing protocols," Oatley said. "On July 1 Bermuda entered Phase 4, including the return of commercial flights. Testing refinements of residents and visitors returning to the island are being fine-tuned and sailing is easing back to the new normalcy, as are other aspects of island life."

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