Some of the greatest America's Cup skippers will gather in Bermuda for the Swedish Match Tour King Edward VII Gold Cup which starts this weekend

Some of the greatest America’s Cup skippers will gather in Bermuda for the Investors Guaranty Presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup on 18-26 October. Russell Coutts, Dean Barker, Peter Gilmour, Peter Holmberg, Dennis Conner and Chris Dickson are among the invited skippers and will be joined by Danish superstars Jes Gram-Hansen and defending champion Jesper Radich.

Sailing takes place in International One Design class sloops on Hamilton Harbour and will feature live, on-the-water commentary by Peter Montgomery, New Zealand’s Voice of the America’s Cup.

The second event on the prestigious Swedish Match Tour, the King Edward VII Gold Cup will mark the first time since New Zealand that these America’s Cup skippers will face each other in competition. Bermuda, the 21-square-mile English Colony set in the Atlantic might seem an unusual venue for the greatest sailing show on earth, but it is revered by the world’s best sailors as a mecca for match racing.

Chris Dickson, a two-time Gold Cup champion will represent Oracle BMW Racing with teammates Gavin Brady, Ross Halcrow and Dirk deRidder. Dickson and his Oracle BMW Racing team recently squared off against another Gold Cup team, Alinghi in San Francisco, beating them in the first in a series of ACC regattas. Alinghi is represented by skipper Russell Coutts, a six-time Gold Cup champion, with crew Simon Daubney, Warwick Fleury and Dean Phipps.

Two-time Gold Cup champion Peter Gilmour returns with his Pizza-La Sailing Team: Yasuhiro Yaji, Mike Mottl and Kazuhiko Sofuku. The foursome sailed together with the OneWorld Challenge and placed third at the 2003 Danish Open.

Oracle BMW Racing alumnus Peter Holmberg returns to Bermuda for the first time since winning the event in 2001. And last year’s runner-up Jes Gram-Hansen/Team Colorcraft and Jesper Radich, defending champion and winner of the Swedish Match Tour 2002/2003, will also be on the start line on Saturday.

Prior to round one of the King Edward VII Gold Cup, 16 unseeded skippers will compete in a three-day round robin qualifier round from October 18-20. The top six skippers will advance to Round One and go head-to-head with the eight seeds and the winner and runner-up of the Bermuda International Women’s Match Racing Championship.

Topping the impressive list of unseeded skippers is current number one Swedish Match Tour skipper Magnus Holmberg/Team Continental Airlines of Sweden, who sailed with the Swedish America’s Cup team Victory Challenge and ISAF World Match Racing champion Ed Baird/Team XL Capital of the US.

Rounding out the unseeded roster are Swedish Match Tour Number five ranked Kelvin Harrap of New Zealand, who sailed with OneWorld Challenge, Olympic Soling bronze medallist Paolo Cian of Italy and 1999 Gold Cup champion Andy Green/Team Renaissance Reinsurance of the UK.

Other 2003 America’s Cup sailors participating are Team New Zealand’s Cameron Appleton and Oracle BMW Racing’s Cameron Dunn. Rounding out the skippers roster is Scott Dickson of the US, Mattias Rahm/Team Stena Bulk of Sweden, Staffan Lindberg of Finland, Bill Hardesty of the US, Maxim Taranov of Russia, Matthew Gregory of the US, and Bermuda’s Blythe Walker/Team Bacardi, Adam Barboza/Team Bacardi, and Peter Bromby.

The winner of The King Edward VII Gold Cup will be presented with the King Edward VII Trophy and a take home a share of the $100,000 prize purse.