The Scandinavian Gold Cup is a diminutive trophy with an immense prestige and a unique format. Now in its 101st year, this ornate and priceless trophy has been raced for by International 5.5 Metres since 1953. It is considered one of the most prestigious competitions in yacht racing, and certainly a highly valued and treasured event for the 5.5 Metre Class. The Scandinavian Gold Cup will be immediately followed by the 2020 World Championship.
Next week, the Scandinavian Gold Cup returns to Australia for the first time in 15 years and will be raced for on the Palm Beach Circle, at the head of Pittwater, just north of Sydney. The host club, the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, in Newport, is the hotbed of 5.5 Metre racing in Australia and its members have orchestrated a revival of the class in Australia in recent years. There are now more than 10 boats racing at the club, a testament to the hard work of Martin Cross, who led the bid to bring the Scandinavian Gold Cup and World Championship to the club, and Bob Stoddard.
The format for the Gold Cup is unlike any other. After three races, only those who have won a race remain in the competition. The winner is the first to three wins, so the event can be won in three races or it can last to the maximum possible seven races. At the most, three boats can move to the finals stage. It normally ends in a match race. After winning in both 2018 and 2019, Kristian Nergaard, sailing Artemis XIV, and representing Norway, will be eyeing up the triple, a feat only achieved once in the history of the event, and that was by Nergaard from 2008-2010.
Nergaard would have to be considered the favourite to win the Cup, after dominating in Helsinki just five months ago, not only winning the Scandinavian Gold Cup, but also the World Championship. As skipper, Nergaard has won the Scandinavian Gold Cup eight times as well as taking nine world titles, a record in the class.
Britain’s entry is Girls on Film, skippered by Peter Morton. Last year Girls on Film was the only boat to take a race off Artemis XIV, forcing a thrilling fourth race match where he held the early advantage, only to lose that in the later stages of the race.
The 2018 World Championship winning crew of Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger and Peter Vlasov are back with a new boat, New Moon II, a 2019 development of the popular Wilke built Seb Schmidt design. This will be the first regatta for the new boat, and, after being knocked out in the early stages last year, and finishing second to Artemis XIV in the 2019 World Championship,New Moon II will be one of the main contenders for the Scandinavian Gold Cup and world title.
Australian International 5.5 Metre President, Martin Cross, who is also skippering the Australian entry, Beta Crucis, said, “It is wonderful to have the nations competing for the historic Scandinavian Gold Cup in Australia and at the RPAYC again after so many years. It is such an interesting format where winning is all that matters. We look forward to seeing the Modern 5.5 Metres in action on the iconic Palm Beach Circle”
As holders, a second entry is allowed from Norway, this year represented byOtto, which normally sails under a Swiss number, and is skippered by Bent Christian Wilhelmsen. Otto took the final Grade A event in 2019, dominating the French Open in Cannes, which was also Wilhelmsen’s first ever win in the class.
The line up is completed by the Swiss entry, Shaolin, skippered by Cyrus Glochan. Shaolin is one of the top boats from Lake Thun, Switzerland, one of the main European clubs with fleets of 5.5 Metres.
There is plenty of action to look forward to over the coming two weeks with several Cup events running parallel to the Scandinavian Gold Cup, before the World Championship runs from 9-13 January in a nine race series.
Entries for Scandinavian Gold Cup (nation, boat name, sail no, skipper)
NOR, Artemis XIV, NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard
AUS, Beta Crucis, AUS 63, Martin Cross
GBR, Girls On Film, GBR 40, Peter Morton
BAH, New Moon II, BAH 24, Mark Holowesko
NOR, Otto, SUI 209, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen
SUI, Shaolin, SUI 226, Cyrus Glochan