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Jul 10, 2017 1:05:44 PM

Vad tyckte du om årets evenemang?

För oss är det viktigt att höra vad våra gäster/besökare tycker om GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. Vi skulle därför uppskatta om du ville svara på några frågor om årets evenemang. Dina åsikter/svar är viktiga för oss i vår utvärdering av evenemanget, och i vår strävan att ge våra besökare en så härlig upplevelse som möjligt.

Jul 10, 2017 1:05:44 PM

Vad tyckte du om årets evenemang?

För oss är det viktigt att höra vad våra gäster/besökare tycker om GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. Vi skulle därför uppskatta om du ville svara på några frågor om årets evenemang. Dina åsikter/svar är viktiga för oss i vår utvärdering av evenemanget, och i vår strävan att ge våra besökare en så härlig upplevelse som möjligt.

Klicka på länken nedan och besvara frågorna så insiktsfullt som du kan. Enkäten tar ca 5 minuter.

Länk: http://matchcup2017.surveyanalytics.com

Stort tack för din medverkan och hoppas vi får se dig på Marstrand även nästa år!

 

Jul 8, 2017 11:54:48 PM

Robertson defends his title at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

After beating Pieter-Jan Postma’s Sailing Team NL in this morning’s semifinals, Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew went on win the final of GKSS Match Cup Sweden, dispatching Taylor Canfield’s US One Sailing Team. This repeated the Kiwi team’s victory on the Marstrand Arena in 2016, against the same opponent, but this time with a more emphatic 3-0 scoreline.

Jul 8, 2017 11:54:48 PM

Robertson defends his title at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

After beating Pieter-Jan Postma’s Sailing Team NL in this morning’s semifinals, Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew went on win the final of GKSS Match Cup Sweden, dispatching Taylor Canfield’s US One Sailing Team. This repeated the Kiwi team’s victory on the Marstrand Arena in 2016, against the same opponent, but this time with a more emphatic 3-0 scoreline.

“Last year we had a slip up when we holed him after we were 2-0 and a lost a point and lost a race. We said after we were 2-0 up not to hole him this year. It was nicer this way!” said Robertson. 

Racing took place with the wind building into the mid-teens, causing the nimble M32 catamarans to light up. More stable conditions compared to yesterday resulted in more boundary-to-boundary racing, while picking the right marks to round was vital to ensure sailing in the best pressure. 

In the first race, Robertson impressively won the start and went on to lead for the entirety of the course. In the second Canfield struck back, starting to weather of his opponent and pulling the trigger faster. However at the top mark rounding Robertson was able to get the inside berth, luffed Canfield and then to head off unchallenged to take the win.  

In the decider, Robertson won the start, but Canfield had managed to draw level, crossing ahead up the beat. However on the run the overrider broke for the gennaker sheet winch on Canfield’s boat, preventing his crew from sheeting in the gennaker. This handed Robertson the eventual win and the overall GKSS Match Race Sweden title for a second year. 

Robertson sailed this year with his same winning crew from 2016, comprising Kiwis Will Tiller, Stewart Dodson and Aussie James Wierzbowski. “We aren’t the most ideal set-up weight-wise - we were one of the lightest teams here, but we seemed to make it work,” Robertson said. 

In today’s final, Robertson’s starting seemed in a different league. “We have trained in tight starting and it probably played into our hands a little bit. We were getting off the line pretty well and managed to keep our lead. But was close and tough - Taylor did a good job.”

Canfield and his US One Sailing Team had overcome Ian Williams and GAC Pindar team 3-1 in the semifinals to gain their berth in the final (while Williams went on to win the Petit Final against Postma). This he had achieved in such surgical fashion that many had him as favourite for winning overall. He conceded: “I am a little disappointed. It was a really close battle and those guys sailed better than us today.

“Obviously I take a lot of the blame. We can call three or four mistakes which cost us the regatta. There were a few boat handling errors, but nothing major. It is more about getting all of the moves perfect.”

As to GKSS Match Cup Sweden, both finalists paid tribute: “This is no doubt the best event we do. It has been that way for the 23 years it’s been running. This is a fantastic location and a great crowd,” said Robertson. Canfield concurred: “I have been coming here six or seven years and finished on the podium four or five times. It would be nice to win it one day! Obviously it is an incredible event. Marstrand turns it on. It is one of our favourite events and everyone in Sweden seems to care about the sailing.” 

Håkan Svensson, CEO and Owner of Aston Harald, builder of the M32 catamarans and owner of the World Match Racing Tour, concluded: “It has been an interesting week: We had a rough start with a lot of wind and then we had a postponement when we started the next day, then a couple of really good days and yesterday, a bit slow. It shows what a wide range the M32 has - from three knots to thirty - and that the boat is the right one for what we’re doing.” 

As to the winner, Svensson added: “Phil has done an extremely good regatta, bringing on some manoeuvres that most of us are just envious about.”

The M32s are now staying in Marstrand ready for next week’s World Championship fleet racing when 17 of the one design catamarans will be competing on Marstrand Fjord. 

 

Jul 7, 2017 8:22:20 PM

Canfield and Gilmour keep the drama going at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Light winds on Sweden’s Marstrand Arena demonstrated how versatile the one design M32 catamaran can be, providing good close racing in the lightest winds.

Jul 7, 2017 8:22:20 PM

Canfield and Gilmour keep the drama going at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Light winds on Sweden’s Marstrand Arena demonstrated how versatile the one design M32 catamaran can be, providing good close racing in the lightest winds.

As GKSS Match Cup Sweden’s defending champion Phil Robertson put it: “To be honest they are the nicest boat to sail in these conditions because they are super light, have curved foils and you aren’t dragging anything around under the boat.” Thanks to this, the Quarter Finals were all decided and the giant spectator turn-out was not disappointed.

The top fight was between two hardcore match racers - two time Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield and David Gilmour, who shares all his America’s Cup skipper father Peter’s race course aggression. This was the only Quarter Final match to go to five races. 

With the courses shortened to four legs, Canfield got off to the better start claiming the first two matches, even winning from behind in the first. But the young Australian fought back impressively, levelling the score 2-2. 

After a long wait for the breeze to settle the decider saw Gilmour win the start. Canfield forced a dial-down on the upwind and then, after tacking beneath Gilmour coming into the top mark, forced a dial-up. Gilmour tacked away and found some extra pressure to power away, only to throw it away with a course boundary infringement. 

Canfield was then able to ‘engage’ just metres from the finish. “It was always going to be a close cross coming back together,” he said. Canfield dialled Gilmour up, causing them to be penalised for a minor collision. From there Canfield peeled away and sailed on to the finish unchallenged, turning the tables. 

There were minor palpitations when British six time World Match Racing Tour champion Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team were beaten in their first race by France’s Yann Guichard and his Spindrift Racing team who had read the upwind leg better. However from there Williams was not to be beaten and converted winning all three starts (despite being OCS in the final one) into victories, winning his series 3-1. “It is great to qualify through against Yann Guichard. He is always a tough competition,” said Williams.  

Of today’s conditions, Williams said it played to the guile and experience of the ‘older’ teams. “At times it was a bit like the old days going around in 5-6 knots! But you deal with what you’ve got. A lot is down to how you sail the boat – tacking with a gennaker is hard, knowing what angles to sail upwind, and the pressure and current differences - it is easy to make mistakes.” 

The remaining two matches both went 2-0. The Kiwi derby saw defending champion Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew out manoeuvred Chris Steele’s 36 Below Racing. Having won the first race in the start, in the second Steele turned the tables and was looking strong until the upwind. As Robertson explained: “We identified before the race that we wanted the right turn at the bottom (looking upwind) and Chris chose the right turn. Then we managed to find pressure and take the lead back off him.”

An incident at the top mark then sealed the deal for Robertson. “We were a little under layline so the boat stopped dead and we had to tack again. Fortunately the rules worked in our favour and we rolled over him and got around the mark.” 

Sadly the last Swede in the competition, Nicklas Dackhammar and ESSIQ Racing, was eliminated by Dutch former Olympic Finn sailor Pieter-Jan Postma and his Sailing Team NL. Postma left his opponent tied up in both starts going on to win 2-0, in a series that was shortened due to the lightening breeze. 

Postma observed: “It was very light today and our team is at the heavier end. Dackhammar’s team have good boat handling, good speed, good sailors and are local favourites.”

The Dutchman was also pleased to be the sole new boy among the four semifinallists - all old match racing hands. “I am super stoked. It is amazing to be here.” 

Tomorrow’s semifinals and finals of GKSS Match Cup Sweden are forecast to be held in more wind than today and can be viewed live at 14:00.

 

Jul 6, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Quarter Finalists decided at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

The three remaining Quarter Finalists were decided at GKSS Match Cup Sweden in front of a substantial crowd of spectators around Marstrand Arena today. The puffy, shifty offshore southerly breeze of 6-14 knots, made for a short race course, a lot of manoeuvring and an athletic day for the crews on the fully powered-up M32 catamarans.

Jul 6, 2017 11:00:00 PM

Quarter Finalists decided at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

The three remaining Quarter Finalists were decided at GKSS Match Cup Sweden in front of a substantial crowd of spectators around Marstrand Arena today. The puffy, shifty offshore southerly breeze of 6-14 knots, made for a short race course, a lot of manoeuvring and an athletic day for the crews on the fully powered-up M32 catamarans.

Of the trio it was only US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield and his US One Sailing Team that came through unscathed with a 3-0 scoreline. In the process Canfield eliminated the competition’s final Swede, Måns Holmberg, son of GKSS Match Cup Sweden founder, Magnus. Canfield’s job was made easier in the second race when Holmberg led into the first mark only to be caught by a gust as he deployed his gennaker causing the young Gothenburg Racing Team crew to experience their second capsize of the week.

“It was a great fight against Måns – he sailed well,” recounted Canfield, the two time Match Racing World Champion. “It was a really short race track and there were a lot of manoeuvres: It came down to whoever made fewer mistakes out there.”

Of the conditions today, Canfield observed: “The breeze coming over the land and dropping down onto the racecourse made for a few close calls. It was hard to read the wind and it seemed to be 50-50 out of each side. There wasn’t much time to look around, because there was so much manoeuvring on that tight, narrow race course.”

The last race saw repeated overtaking but ultimately a better gennaker hoist at the top mark and subsequent gybe enabled the US One crew to get around the bow of their opponent to take the win.

Aside from the capsize, the bigger drama of the day came in the first match between Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar crew and Harry Price. Having come through the Qualifying Sail Offs yesterday unbeaten, the young Aussie continued his winning streak claiming the first race off the six-time World Match Racing Tour Champion. 

In the second, Price was penalised in a pre-start collision but did a great job to catch up and was provided with a last chance to roll Williams coming into the finish line when the GAC Pindar gennaker failed to deploy properly. This was much the same story in the next two races with the regular lead changes and ultimately the British match racing veteran ultimately prevailing, 3-1. 

“Those guys did a great job - they pushed us all the way,” said Williams. “The extra racing they had yesterday in similar conditions gave them an advantage. It was very tough out there, but we are pleased to get through – that’s all that matters at a match race regatta.” 

In his series today defending GKSS Match Cup Sweden champion, Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew got pushed hard by San Diego’s Nevin Snow and his 13 Fifty Racing. While the Kiwi skipper tied his opponent up in knots in the first race’s pre-start, providing them with almost a complete leg’s lead, Snow returned the favour in the third race in which Robertson hooked not only the pin mark but then charged off downwind with the weather marks tucked up under one of his M32’s racks like a rugby ball. Eventually Robertson prevailed to win 3-1. 

“It was nice to do some match racing again - it was quite challenging!” admitted Robertson. “We were both pushing the starts hard and getting aggressive in the pre-start. You had to lock out the leeward start because it was favoured. We got two right and he got two wrong. They may be a young US team, but they pushed us to our limits.”

Snow countered: “We did a lot of things right and we made a couple of continual errors. The race course was pretty tricky - we were over in the last race and then there was nothing we could do to get back into it.” 

Tomorrow racing continues with the Quarter Finals round of GKSS Match Cup Sweden from 1000CET.

Jul 5, 2017 10:31:00 PM

Swedish David topples Aussie Goliath in five race marathon

GKSS Match Cup Sweden is renowned for drawing out exceptional performances from local sailors, fired up by crowds cheering them on from the perimeter of Marstrand Arena and with assistance from the Nordic wind gods. This occurred today when Nicklas Dackhammar’s ESSIQ Racing Team, 15th on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, overcame Australian Matt Jerwood’s Redline Racing 5th placed team in a five race marathon.

Jul 5, 2017 10:31:00 PM

Swedish David topples Aussie Goliath in five race marathon

GKSS Match Cup Sweden is renowned for drawing out exceptional performances from local sailors, fired up by crowds cheering them on from the perimeter of Marstrand Arena and with assistance from the Nordic wind gods. This occurred today when Nicklas Dackhammar’s ESSIQ Racing Team, 15th on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard, overcame Australian Matt Jerwood’s Redline Racing 5th placed team in a five race marathon.

The southerly wind veered west mid-afternoon and there were large holes across the course, with wind speeds of 4- 14 knots. Aboard their high performance M32 catamarans, Dackhammar won race one, then in the second Jerwood prevailed after three lead changes. Jerwood planted a pre-start penalty on his opponent taking it to match point but then the young Swede bounced back the level the score. The final race seemed to all be over when Dackhammar copped another pre-start penalty. Advantage Australia. 

However “there were puffy conditions. It was getting quite light and we thought that would favour us, sailing upwind with the gennaker,” explained Dackhammar. “We tried to avoid the light patches and make good manoeuvres sailing fast all the time.”

Swedish fans were euphoric when their underdogs eventually pulled ahead, to win the decider and a Quarter Finals place. On board there were hugs all round. “It was a relief,” admitted Dackhammar.  “The World Match Racing Tour is a top level competition and coming to our city in our country – this is the event we most want to win. We knew it would be tough against Jerwood. They were second in Australia and were third here last year. This shows that we can go all the way.”

Jerwood was gracious in defeat: “We weren’t good enough today. All day we were struggling in the lighter airs while Nick is really quick. We can’t keep up with him in those conditions.” 

Elsewhere in the Super 16 Knockout round, Pieter-Jan Postma went 3-1 up against match racing veteran Torvar Mirsky while there were 3-0 wins for David Gilmour against Sally Barkow’s all-female Team Magenta 32 crew and in Chris Steele’s race against another popular Swedish skipper, Johnie Berntsson and his FLUX Team. 

Spindrift racing skipper Yann Guichard was also on fire, albeit in slightly unorthodox fashion. He lost all his starts against Sam Gilmour, but in all three races came from behind to take the lead. “It was really tight racing,” said Guichard. “We made a couple of mistakes during the pre-starts, but after that we sailed very well. Our tactics were perfect and our manoeuvres as well. Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you can’t put a foot wrong.” As to losing the starts, Guichard attributed this to mis-communication on board. 

With Sam Gilmour out, one Gilmour remains in the competition in elder brother David. “Today was quite difficult because it was more shifty with the wind coming over land,” he said.

Gilmour also took some match racing to two time Women’s Match Racing World Champion, Sally Barkow. This included a massive final race dial-down coming into the top mark that left Team Magenta 32 floundering. “Dial-downs don’t generally work in catamarans and we had planning on not doing one but we thought it was the right spot under the rocks where there wasn’t so much wind and Sally had to do quite a big turn to go behind us and there wasn’t much wind for them to accelerate,” Gilmour explained

Another star performer was young Sydney sailor Harry Price, who breezed through his Qualifying Sail Off to get the final berth in the Super 16. First he dispatched Switzerland’s Eric Monnin and then lined up against his fellow Sydney match racer Evan Walker, who again was unable to make an impression on Price, despite planting a pre-start penalty on him. 

“We knew we were strong around the course and in the pre-starts and used that to our advantage,” said Price. “We have done a lot of monohull match racing in Australia and elsewhere but we’ve only started in the cats this year. Yesterday was the first time we’d ever been fleet racing in them!”

Tomorrow the remainder of the Super 16 Knockout series will be sailed to determine the rest of the Quarter Finalists. 
 

Jul 5, 2017 7:57:03 AM

Williams firing on all cylinders at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Qualifying at GKSS Match Cup Sweden concluded in magnificent conditions on Marstrand Arena today with northwesterly winds gradually building to 15 knots by mid-afternoon. 

Jul 5, 2017 7:57:03 AM

Williams firing on all cylinders at GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Qualifying at GKSS Match Cup Sweden concluded in magnificent conditions on Marstrand Arena today with northwesterly winds gradually building to 15 knots by mid-afternoon. 

With the teams divided into three groups of six teams, all sailed five racesand the stand-out performer was Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar. The British six time World MatchRacing Tour champion scored consecutive bullets in the first three races with no result off the podium. 

“It was a pleasing start for Team GAC Pindar,” said Williams. “With the racing out there, when you are at the front you have to take advantage and when you’re at the back you have to battle your way through and find the passing lanes. We managed to do that.”

Elsewhere competition was much closer. 

In their group Australian Matt Jerwood came out on top, but tied on points with two time Tour champion Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands. Jerwood enjoyed three race wins, but consistency failed them: “The middle race was a shocker but we managed to sort it out and got two bullets after that. We didn’t think we’d topped the group, but then found out we had.”

While Perth-based teams like Jerwood’s and those of the Gilmours and Torvar Mirsky were able to practice last year on the local fleet of high performance M32 catamarans, this year Jerwood said they have been racing smaller boats to stay sharp. He is very much enjoying being back on Marstrand Arena after finishing third on his first visit here last year. “There is nowhere better to match race than the fjord. It is absolutely perfect, world class.” 

The tightest group was the last to race and ended up topped by three antipodean teams - Phil Robertson, Chris Steele and Torvar Mirsky - all tied on points.

Like Steele, Pieter-Jan Postma scored two bullets in this group, but inconsistency caused him to finish fourth. “Overall it was good, we had good speed and tactics and good starts, but there is lot more we can do to improve - we stopped for a red flag which wasn’t ours, for example,” said the Dutch former Olympic Finn sailor. “But the guys worked hard - we had good starts and good strategy. Boat to boat quick manoeuvring is something we need to work on.”

Phil Robertson and his CHINAone NINGBO crew got off to a slow start but ended on a 2-2-1, results more befitting the winning team from here last year. “We struggled a bit to start off, to get the mode-ing right on these boats and we weren’t nailing our starts,” the New Zealand skipper and present World Match Racing Tour leader explained.  

The day’s drama also occurred in this group, when Måns Holmberg capsized soon after the beginning of race three. As the young Swede explained: “We had a pretty good start in the first row with three other boats and Chris Steele just to windward of us. We thought we had room with an overlap to leeward but he put his bow down and we had to avoid. We hit the mark and put it on the daggerboard and we had to gybe and fly the hull to get it off. We were a bit too eager to get it flying and to get the buoy off and the gennaker didn’t come off for some reason. And then we flipped…”

Fortunately their M32 catamaran was rapidly righted and Holmberg and his crew were back in the saddle in time for the next race

Tomorrow and Thursday will be the first-to-three Super 16 elimination round, while the three bottom-ranked teams from Qualifying will race to decide the 16th team to go through: Harry Price will face Eric Monnin, the victor then lining up against Evan Walker. 

Jul 4, 2017 7:06:28 AM

Olympians and America’s Cup sailors descend on Marstrand for GKSS Match Cup Sweden

With breaking waves and gales blowing all Monday on the Marstrand Arena, competition at the World Match Racing Tour’s GKSS Match Cup Sweden will get underway this morning.  

Jul 4, 2017 7:06:28 AM

Olympians and America’s Cup sailors descend on Marstrand for GKSS Match Cup Sweden

With breaking waves and gales blowing all Monday on the Marstrand Arena, competition at the World Match Racing Tour’s GKSS Match Cup Sweden will get underway this morning.  

“This morning we had 30 knots average and gusts up to 40 knots - way outside the limit. Plus this westerly direction creates a really bad sea state" explained World Match Racing Tour PRO, Mattias Dahlström after deciding to cancell racing ysterday at 1530CET.

Remaining ashore today allowed crews to appraise their competition. With the America’s Cup just over and in a year following the Olympic Games, all manner of world class sailors have descended upon the Swedish island paradise of Marstrand for the GKSS Match Cup Sweden.
 
Having just finished his second America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA, is Australian Kyle Langford, competing here in Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar crew. Then there is Italian Pierluigi de Felice, a America’s Cup campaigner since 2003 including Luna Rossa’s last two catamaran campaigns. He is here with Chris Steele’s 36 Below Racing. 
 
These days M32s are typically sailed by four ‘big’ crew rather five small ones, so the crew line-up for GKSS Match Cup Sweden includes Olympic Finn sailors Jonathan Lobert and Pieter-Jan Postma, respectively third and fourth at London 2012. While Postma is leading his own crew on Sailing Team NL, Lobert is sailing with Eric Monnin on Albert Riele Swiss Team. 
 
Lobert has just had four days sailing the M32 catamaran. “It is an exciting boat, fun - a big change from the Finn. It is very nice to be sailing in a crew. Match racing is also new to me, but Eric is very experienced and he knows what to do.”  

Several other Olympic sailors are in the all-female crew on Team Magenta 32. Skipper Sally Barkow represented the USA in the Yngling in Beijing, Kate Macgregor and Annie Lush were in the British Women's Match Racing crew at London 2012, while Switzerland's Natalie Brugger raced at Rio 2016 on the mixed Nacra 17 catamaran.

GKSS Match Cup Sweden is 23 years old this year and its famous venue, Marstrand, has emerged as the new spiritual home of match racing. This is why it still attracts old hands from this discipline of sailing such as GAC Pindar’s Ian Williams and Team FLUX’s Johnie Berntsson, through to the new generation of youngsters. 

Although just 28 years old, Taylor Canfield today counts as an ‘old hand’ having already won the World Match Racing Tour twice (in 2013 and 2016). “You are seeing a lot of younger teams coming in and they are getting to sail the boat a lot in the qualifying events, but you’ll still see the older guys mixing it up. Match racing is about maturity and time in the boat, so when it comes to tactical decisions they will have made them hundreds or thousands of times.”  

Canfield says Marstrand is one of his favourite sailing venues. “It is always on our schedule. Its natural amphitheatre is incredible. It is a lot of fun for us to come as the locals are so engaged in the event. We always have a good time on and off the water.” 

At the opposite end of the experience spectrum among the match racers is 20-year-old Swede Måns Holmberg. However he has the advantage of his father Magnus being one of Sweden’s most successful match racers and a founder of Swedish Match Cup. Significantly, having been to this event ever since he was in his pram, it will be the first occasion Måns is participating, rather than standing on the cliffs watching the racing.  

Måns has been competing regularly in M32 catamarans since obtaining his license 18 months ago. “I have had the same team for nine months, so we feel confident,” he says. Last year his team also benefitted from having access to a boat on which they could train regularly.

Whether he rivals his father for fans in Marstrand, remains to be seen: “I have a lot of friends and family with summer houses around here. We’ve also had some good publicity,” he says.

Racing today is set to be in 10-15 knots from the north with a first warning signal at 1000.
 

Jul 3, 2017 10:41:00 AM

Racing Postponed

Racing is postponed until Tuesday morning due to strong winds on the Race Arena. First start tomorrow at 10.00 CET with perfect conditions accordning to the latest weather forecast. 

Jul 3, 2017 10:41:00 AM

Racing Postponed

Racing is postponed until Tuesday morning due to strong winds on the Race Arena. First start tomorrow at 10.00 CET with perfect conditions accordning to the latest weather forecast. 

Strong winds forced Raced Organizers to postpone the racing several times today and at 3.30 they made the call to move the first start in the regatta to Tuesday morning. The wind dropped of some during the day but was still at an 25 knot avarage during the afternoon.

"The forecast is looking really good for tomorrow and our plan is still to finsih the Fleet Racing round of the event tomorrow. It is going to be quite a show on the Race Arena", says Mattias Dahlström, Race Manager of GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. 

Jul 3, 2017 8:18:00 AM

Swedish teams with high hopes for the start of GKSS Match Cup Sweden

Eighteen elite match racing teams have come to Marstrand to compete in GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. The event starts today and every sailor dreams about lifting the trophy. The three Swedish teams in the line-up are certainly no exceptions. 

Jul 3, 2017 8:18:00 AM

Swedish teams entering GKSS Match Cup Sweden with high hopes

Eighteen elite match racing teams have come to Marstrand to compete in GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. The event starts today and every sailor dreams about lifting the trophy. The three Swedish teams in the line-up are certainly no exceptions. 

There is more at stake in GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017 than points on the scoreboard of the World Match Racing Tour. The Race Arena, the atmosphere at the venue and the crowds – all of it adds prestige to the event and especially so for Swedish teams. Björn Hansen, five-time winner of Match Cup Sweden, has said that lifting the trophy at Marstrand s the biggest thing a Swedish sailor can experience.

Johnie Berntsson is a well-known name at Marstrand and now takes the helm of his FLUX Team. “It is always a nice feeling to come to the island”, he says and continues:

“Our only goal is to go out on the water and give everything we’ve got. And it feels great that Eddie, Jakob and Keith in my team have sailed a lot this spring. I have never entered Math Cup Sweden with a team that have done as much sailing before the event as they have”.

Berntsson received a wildcard invitation to the event, just like Nicklas Dackhammar and his Essiq Racing Team.  Dackhammar has competed at Marstrand twice before and last year his team was knocked out in the round of sixteen against Phil Robertson, who later won the World Championship Title.

“The margins between winning and loosing are extremely small and we have to get everything to work in our sailing in order to win”, says Dackhammar, adding:
“This week at Marstrand is always the peak of the season and it’s great to be racing on our home arena”.

Måns Holmberg gained entry through the qualifying event Match Cup Gothenburg in May. He comments:

“We have been waiting for this for a long time and it feels great that the event is starting. We have to keep moving forward and develop our sailing during the event and it will be important that we can manage both wins and losses in a good way. We know that we can beat all the other teams if we get in the right zone. 

There are also Swedes in other teams I the line up. Fredrik Aurell is a part of Chris Steele’s (NZL) 360 Below Racing, Jakob Wilson sails with David Gilmour (AUS) and Axel Munkby is a part on Harry Price’s (AUS) team. 

Jun 30, 2017 9:45:27 AM

Gilmour and Robertson can handle the pressure

Looking at the lineup for GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017, it’s hard to pick a presumptive favourite to lift the trophy at Marstrand. Nevertheless, two skippers that enter the event with high expectations from fans are Phil Robertson, reining Match Racing World Champion, and Sam Gilmour, currently at the top of the World Sailing match race open ranking. 

Jun 30, 2017 9:45:27 AM

Kiwis and Aussies who can handle the pressure

Looking at the lineup for GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017, it’s hard to pick a presumptive favourite to lift the trophy at Marstrand. Nevertheless, two skippers that enter the event with high expectations from fans are Phil Robertson, reining Match Racing World Champion, and Sam Gilmour, currently at the top of the World Sailing match race open ranking. 


Phil Robertson and his team celebrating their victory in the final of GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2016. 

Phil Robertson’s (NZL) most recent memory from competing at Marstrand is one of the highlights of his sailing career. Maybe that’s an understatement considering that it was the deciding race of the World Championship final in 2016, where Robertson and his team not only won the World Championship but also picked up a prize bonus of US$1million. 

They started this season in the same fashion by winning the opening event in Australia, a result that puts them on the top of the World Match Racing Tour scoreboard. Still, with just one event raced in the M32s so far this year, Robertson is reluctant to think of their team as favourites. “I’m expecting the competition to be a lot tighter and very competitive”, he says and continues:


“Teams have made big jumps since last year and now the field is a lot closer in all aspects. It won’t be easy to defend the title but we are coming in hot with the sole focus on repeating last year’s victory. We know we have the right formula on our day so we will be working hard to find it.”

And if their position as reigning champions and scoreboard leaders adds any pressure, the Kiwi skipper says they “are not really feeling it”.


“The season has really just started for the Tour Card holders so that’s not really on our radar.  The young teams are starting to come to the front of the field, which is cool, we so I’d expect to see some fresh faces on the podium. I’m expecting sunshine and a lot of spectators so hopefully we won’t be let down”, says Robertson. 


Sam Gilmour, 23, has the number one spot in World Sailing's open match racing ranking.

One of the young teams that have been showing a lot of improvement since last season is Neptune Racing. In the latest match racing open ranking from World Sailing, their skipper Sam Gilmour (AUS) is on top of the list.


“It doesn’t change the preparation or pressure for me clinching the number one ranking. I think it gives us some added confidence in knowing we are ranked above the others at the event”, says 23-year-old Sam Gilmour.

Together with his older brother David, who also skippers a team in the event, he might have gotten some tips about the Race Arena at Marstrand from his father Peter Gilmour. The legendary match racing skipper surely has some useful knowledge after winning Match Cup Sweden seven times. Sam has been gathering a lot of experience in the M32 during the last couple of months, most recently racing the M32 Scandinavian Series in Gothenburg and training head to head with fellow Australian skipper Matt Jerwood of Redline Racing. With confidence and talent maybe he just might become the next Gilmour to sail a final at Marstrand.


“We have goals of racing at our max potential race by race. If we get that right I think we’ll be sailing towards the end of the week. Our expectations are definitely more managed, as it’s a tough event where anything can happen. Last year we were roughly knocked out before the quarterfinals. This time around we know our game has lifted”, says Sam Gilmour.

GKSS Match Cup Sweden begins Monday 3rd July and continues through to the finals on Saturday 8th July.

Jun 29, 2017 9:21:07 AM

ROBERTSON SET TO LEAD FOREIGN CHARGE INTO MARSTRAND NEXT WEEK

 Perhaps it is the long Swedish involvement in the World Match Racing Tour such as its present owner Aston Harald Sports, manufacturer of the high performance M32 catamaran. Perhaps it is the strong following that match racing and match racers have in Sweden. Perhaps it is Marstrand: part dream destination for the start of Swedish summer vacation, part natural sailing amphitheatre. Any of the above could explain why GKSS Match Cup Sweden, taking place over 3rd-8th July next week, is considered the annual highlight of the World Match Racing Tour.

Jun 29, 2017 9:21:07 AM

Robertson set to lead foreign charge into Marstrand next week

 Perhaps it is the long Swedish involvement in the World Match Racing Tour such as its present owner Aston Harald Sports, manufacturer of the high performance M32 catamaran. Perhaps it is the strong following that match racing and match racers have in Sweden. Perhaps it is Marstrand: part dream destination for the start of Swedish summer vacation, part natural sailing amphitheatre. Any of the above could explain why GKSS Match Cup Sweden, taking place over 3rd-8th July next week, is considered the annual highlight of the World Match Racing Tour.

Last year’s event doubled as the Match Racing World Championship and came with a record US$1million prize purse won by Kiwi skipper Phil Robertson and his crew. Robertson and his CHINAone Ningbo team go into this year’s event as favourite among the 18 crews, due to this, but also to their present position topping the 2017 World MatchRacing Tour leaderboard. This follows their victory at Match Cup Australia in Perth in March and their subsequent fourth place at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA.

“The season has really only just started for us in terms of match racing, but we’re pretty happy with where we are at,” says Robertson. “We have just spent a week training in Sweden, so we’re in good shape.” 
Usually in match racing the old names come to the fore, but in the ultra-high speed M32 catamarans Robertson says that the younger skippers are shining. “They are learning very fast and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few fresh faces on the podium this year while the older guys struggle. That is just the direction sailing’s going – it’s becoming a younger sport, with faster, more physical boats.”

While he is as Kiwi as roast lamb, Robertson now lives in Gothenburg, less than an hour’s drive from Marstrand, now effectively his ‘home port’. “Personally I think it is one of the best racing locations we go to. 90% of the time the wind blows and I can’t say I’ve a bad memory from there. The other special thing is the spectators. They are very knowledgeable and know all the intricacies which is unique at sailing events.”
Many are also fans. While Wimbledon has Henman Hill, Marstrand has its equivalent for Swedish sailing fans. They will be shouting it out this year for local heroes Johnie Berntsson and the youngsters, Team Sweden’s Måns Holmberg and Nicklas Dackhammar of ESSIQ Racing Team. 

“I think in general Swedish spectators cheer for everyone, but I hope a piece of their heart is with the Swedish crews,” muses Berntsson, a Match Cup Sweden veteran. He is eagerly looking forward to next week. “It is one of the best events in the world. Many spectators go there to watch. The environment is very special. I live nearby, so it is a special feeling to sail in front of a lot of friends and family.”

For this season, Berntsson has a largely new crew for his FLUX Team, again with towering athlete Jakob Gustafsson, but now also with Australian match race skipper Keith Swinton. “We have a crew that spends a lot more time in the boat than we have done before, so I hope that will pay off. We have higher expectations this year,” says Berntsson. 

As to the form, Berntsson advises that techniques for sailing the M32 have developed a lot in the intervening year and this might change things. “It will be interesting to see how different teams have adopted these new boat handling findings. I think it is not written how it will pan out.” 

Some of these techniques are conditions-dependent. At present, the long term forecast indicates a mix of moderate to brisk winds, including Thursday when the wind will be gusting into the high 20s from the west, causing a large swell to roll across the race area.

Racing the World Match Racing Tour’s GKSS Match Cup Sweden takes place over 3rd-8th July.

Jun 28, 2017 8:49:37 AM

Ian Williams Returns to Marstrand’s Renowned Race Arena

Ian Williams has been coming to Marstrand to compete since 2005. After experiencing triumphs and defeats on the event’s Race Arena, he knows the challenges of the unique sailing venue better than any skipper in the line up for GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. 

Jun 28, 2017 8:49:37 AM

Ian Williams Returns to Marstrand’s Renowned Race Arena

Ian Williams has been coming to Marstrand to compete since 2005. After experiencing triumphs and defeats on the event’s Race Arena, he knows the challenges of the unique sailing venue better than any skipper in the line up for GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017. 

Ian Williams at the Race Arena at Marstrand 2016
Ian Williams at the Race Arena at Marstrand 2016. 

Over the last 15 years, Ian Williams has become a dominant force on the World Match Racing Tour and won the World Championship six times. He has experienced many of the world’s top sailing venues and says, “Match Cup Sweden has always been a stand out regatta on the World Match Racing Tour”. And, he remembers clearly how it felt entering the regatta for the first time:

“It was really just a fantastic opportunity to sail against the best sailors in the World and learn from them. Our round robin group included Russell Coutts, Ed Baird and Dean Barker with 7 World Championship titles between them.  We finished 15th out of 16!”



Williams has reached three finals in the event, winning one and loosing two against local hero Björn Hansen. And even if he has experienced having the crowds on the cliffs cheering for the opponent, he says that one of the strengths with the venue is how close the spectators get to the action on the water. 

“Marstrand fjord is probably the best natural amphitheatre in the world for this size of boat and race course. And with such high sides, it makes for a great vantage point to watch the racing.  That is one of the reasons that we get such good crowds each year.  I think many of the crowd come every year and as a result they are also very educated as to the racing and what is going on – you can really hear them react to things that happen on the race course.”

GAC Pindar racing at the Race Arena during Match Cup Sweden 2016
GAC Pindar racing at the Race Arena during Match Cup Sweden 2016.

Last year the crowds were given a completely new experience as the event shifted to a new format with M32 catamarans. Before the event took place there were plenty of sceptics that said that the arena would be too tight for the new fast boats but as soon as the racing started, those voices were silenced.

“I think that the Race Arena in Marstrand is just big enough for the M32s”, says Ian Williams and continues: 

“Of course it is perfect if we get the wind out of the west, although I think a northerly or southerly breeze would be quite challenging for the race committee. It is a very tricky venue with swirling winds and currents.  But I think that the change to M32s has evened up the playing field in terms of local knowledge, as what worked in the DS37s, often tacking up the rocks on the north side, is not so effective in the M32s.”

Ian Williams
Ian Williams

In 2016 Williams and his GAC Pindar team were knocked out of the regatta in the quarterfinals, and ended up as seventh in the World Championship. This season they are currently sixth on the scoreboard, much thanks to their win at the Congressional Cup in California. 

“GAC Pindar just cannot wait to get back out racing.  We did not have a very good start to the year in Perth, but came back strong in Long Beach, so we are just going to focus on each round and see how far we can get.  GAC Pindar will be a slightly different crew for Match Cup Sweden, so our expectations remain cautious, but if we can gel quickly together I think we can be a very strong team” 

GKSS Match Cup Sweden begins on Monday July 3 with racing starting at 10 AM CET.

Ian Williams and GAC Pindar winning the final of Match Cup Sweden 2011
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar winning the final of Match Cup Sweden 2011. 

 

Jun 25, 2017 3:48:00 PM

GKSS Match Cup Sweden Magazine 2017

Nu kan du ta del av GKSS Match Cup Swedens rykande färska magasin! Tidningen är fullspäckad med reportage om seglare och tävlingen och innehåller all information du behöver om sommarens stora seglingsfest. 

Jun 25, 2017 3:48:00 PM

GKSS Match Cup Sweden Magazine 2017

Nu kan du ta del av GKSS Match Cup Swedens rykande färska magasin! Tidningen är fullspäckad med reportage om seglare och tävlingen och innehåller all information du behöver om sommarens stora seglingsfest. 

Jun 20, 2017 12:38:09 PM

BMW ny partner till GKSS Match Cup Sweden

BMW har skrivit på som ny partner till GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017, Sveriges största publika seglingsevenemang.

Jun 20, 2017 12:38:09 PM

BMW ny partner till GKSS Match Cup Sweden

BMW har skrivit på som ny partner till GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017, Sveriges största publika seglingsevenemang.

GKSS Match Cup Sweden har sedan starten 1994 utvecklats till Sveriges största seglingsevenemang och varje år lockar tävlingen över 100 000 besökare till Marstrand.

Som ny partner till tävlingen kommer BMW att vara en del av folkfesten och de tycker att evenemangets profil passar dem bra. De har fabriker som drivs av vindkraft, elbilar som laddas av solceller och tillverkningen av BMW i3 har en reducerad vattenåtgång på hela 50 procent jämfört med tillverkningen av en vanlig bil.
– Sol, Vind och Vatten är härliga ord som passar perfekt in på både BMW och GKSS Match Cup Sweden, säger Jonas Carlsson Dahlman, försäljningschef för BMW på Bilia Group.
– Att BMW i3 dessutom är gjord av bamburör från Bangladesh, återvunna pet-plastflaskor samt karossen helt i kolfiber gör den helt enkelt perfekt att visa upp för alla miljömedvetna besökare på Marstrand.

Under evenemanget kommer BMW att ha en monter i evenemangsområdet på Marstrand där de visar fyra modeller, elbilen BMW i3, Supersportmiljöbilen BMW i8, Nya BMW 530e Sedan Plugin samt Nya 540iA Touring.
– Det är bilar i världsklass som vi med stolthet visar upp. Att även få njuta av världens bästa segling, ett sommarvackert Marstrand och dessutom samtala med massor av trevliga besökare gör att veckan blir årets bästa.

– Det är väldigt intressant att följa BMW:s utveckling med miljöfordon och därför är det extra spännande att de vill använda vårt evenemang som plattform för att nå ut till våra besökare, säger Robert Magnusson, VD för World Match Racing Tour.

May 14, 2017 11:06:50 PM

Måns Holmberg Leads CFA Sports To Victory At Home Event Gothenburg Match Cup

This local Gothenburg team has consistently improved over three days to pull themselves to the top of the final standings at Gothenburg Match Cup and secure their second Championship level event qualification spot this season. Joining the Swedes at GKSS Match Cup Sweden will be Mirsky Racing Team, skippered by Torvar Mirsky, who end the regatta in second place with the all important ticket to Marstrand.

May 14, 2017 11:06:50 PM

Måns Holmberg Leads CFA Sports To Victory At Home Event Gothenburg Match Cup

This local Gothenburg team has consistently improved over three days to pull themselves to the top of the final standings at Gothenburg Match Cup and secure their second Championship level event qualification spot this season. Joining the Swedes at GKSS Match Cup Sweden will be Mirsky Racing Team, skippered by Torvar Mirsky, who end the regatta in second place with the all important ticket to Marstrand.

Being top of the leaderboard after the Round Robin series, Mirsky had the pick of opponent going into the semifinals and decided he fancied his chances against Patrik Sturesson’s all Swedish team, Cape Crow Vikings. The choice proved wise as the Australians took down the Vikings 3-0. Sturesson has had a strong regatta, but the match racing experience of Mirsky proved too much today. The team topped the table during day two proving they can make it at the top level and are certainly a team to watch through the season.
 
Making the top two ensured the Mirsky’s team qualification to WMRT Championship level event, GKSS Match Cup Sweden. Ecstatic over their qualification, Torvar commented, “We are over the moon and also relieved. We came all the way from Australia and to go back without the ticket to Marstrand would have been really disappointing. I have had two good results this season, at Match Cup Australia and now this weekend. It’s been five years since I raced as a skipper on Marstrand and it feels good to be back on the circuit. If we put our best foot forward I think we could go all the way at Match Cup Sweden.” 
 
The story was similar in the other semifinal where Måns Holmberg was left to face off against Denmark’s Joachim Aschenbrenner of ART Sailing. After a fierce prestart, Holmberg won the start and the team’s experience in the boat allowed them to focus on boat speed and hold their lead through to the finish. The Swedes continued this winning form to take three straight wins, crossing the line to cheers from the fans watching from the shores of GKSS, Gothenburg’s iconic sailing club and host to this event.
 
With the morning’s unstable breeze now holding at around 6knots, race control proceeded with the final in a first-to-two-point series. These light conditions made every manoeuvre critical. The Swedes took an early lead going 1-0 up. Recapping on the final race Holmberg remarks, “We were behind at the start but managed to force a split at the rounding. We exchanged the lead a couple of times on the upwind, but we got the right side at the rounding and then we capitalised on that on the downwind. Then it was all about securing the lead and we sailed with a lot of patience.” With wind dying further back down the racecourse, CFA Sports extended to a convincing win to take the series 2-0 and win the regatta.
 
Mirsky being a hugely experienced match racer on the World Match Racing Tour and Holmberg with his growing match racing experience and vast M32 sailing experience will both be tough opponents when they arrive to Marstrand for GKSS Match Cup Sweden and could cause an upset with the Tour Card teams.
 
GKSS Match Cup Sweden will be the third Championship level event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, to be sailed July 3-8th on the Swedish sailing hotspot island, Marstrand.

May 13, 2017 8:37:19 AM

Artemis youth racing steal early lead at Gothenburg Match Cup

At only their second World Match Racing Tour event, Artemis Youth Racing skippered by Rasmus Rosengren sneak out ahead on top of the leaderboard at the end of day one. In hot pursuit of the Swedes is the neighbouring rival ART Sailing from Denmark. All teams were fierce on the water today as they hunt the top two places for qualification to Match Cup Sweden.

May 13, 2017 8:37:19 AM

Artemis youth racing steal early lead at Gothenburg Match Cup

At only their second World Match Racing Tour event, Artemis Youth Racing skippered by Rasmus Rosengren sneak out ahead on top of the leaderboard at the end of day one. In hot pursuit of the Swedes is the neighbouring rival ART Sailing from Denmark. All teams were fierce on the water today as they hunt the top two places for qualification to Match Cup Sweden.

 

Clearly happy with the team’s performance, Artemis Youth Racing skipper Rasmus Rosengren commented, “Great performance from the team. We sailed the boat well around the course and couldn’t be happier with the result so far.”

In the middle of the leaderboard a tight battle has emerged with just one point separating four teams who hope to make the semifinals. Cape Crow Vikings could be the dark horse of this group with two races left to sail in Round Robin 1 meaning they are the only team with the chance to challenge Artemis Youth Racing for the top spot ending this Round Robin.

In a post racing debrief it was clear that Mirsky Racing Team are here for business. After building from a shaky first race, mainsheet trimmer Cameron Seagreen is ready for more, commenting “If we keep improving at this rate it will definitely be another great day tomorrow.” Skipper Torvar Mirsky summed up the conditions of the day describing the wind as “Difficult to read being off shore and it was hard to tell which way the next phase was going to be but as the day went on we were able to read it better.”

At the bottom of the leaderboard, AARHUS Innovator skippered by Denmark’s Jonas Warrer is still looking for their first win. The team are fast in the boat after an intense training period with both CFA Sports and Sailing Team NL last month but are not able to turn boat speed into race wins. Tomorrow the team will hope to come back with a clear mind set and wipe the slate clean. At Match Cup Australia in March this team looked to have potential by going the distance against Tour Card holder Chris Steele to be knocked out 3-2. They must find this rhythm again in order to improve their score going forward in the competition.

Round Robin 1 will conclude tomorrow morning before the teams get a second chance in Round Robin 2. Sunday will see knockout rounds with the top four moving forward to the semifinals. The top two finishers will progress to WMRT Match Cup Sweden to be hosted in July on the Swedish island of Marstrand.

Full results! 

May 11, 2017 7:46:31 AM

High stakes in Gothenburg Match Cup

This weekend’s Gothenburg Match Cup marks the final opportunity for teams to gain entry to GKSS Match Cup Sweden. A strong international line-up proves the popularity in Europe for the World Match Racing Tour at this first of many events on the continent this year.

May 11, 2017 7:46:31 AM

Runners and Riders for Gothenburg Match Cup

This weekend’s Gothenburg Match Cup marks the final opportunity for teams to gain entry to GKSS Match Cup Sweden. A strong international line-up proves the popularity in Europe for the World Match Racing Tour at this first of many events on the continent this year.

The Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS) will host eight teams on the racecourse just outside their clubhouse in Långerdrag, west of Gothenburg's city centre. The race area is to be tucked in close to shore within the city's southern archipelago, where the Americas Cup World Series raced in 2015.

Artemis Youth Racing are home for some last minute high performance catamaran training before the Red Bull Youth Americas Cup begins in Bermuda in mid-June. The all Swedish team, led by skipper Rasmus Rosengren, will carry high hopes for the event following several training periods recently in the M32, including this week.

"To win an entry ticket to Match Cup Sweden and to race at Marstrand would be fantastic because I have been watching the event since I was a kid and it is always one of the biggest sailing events in Sweden in the summer", says Gustav Pettersson, skipper of Artemis Youth Racing.

A local team who have been taking big steps forward saling the M32:s is Team Anna Östling. Anna Östling is the reigning World Champion and won the Womens International Match Racing Series with her team last year.

"We are looking forward to a chance at testing ourselves in M32 again. I hop we can perform well together onboard and show that we have developed pur skills since last season", says Anna Östling.

Torvar Mirsky's Mirsky Racing Team is the favourite going into this event following a third placed finish at Match Cup Australia earlier this year whilst Måns Holmberg of CFA Sports and Jonas Warrer of AARHUS Innovation are also expected to place highly after taking respectable finishes at the World Championship level event.

Caprice Match Race Team skippered by Kim Kling won this event when sailed in keelboats last year and Kling knows the race area well, however didn't perform as well as expected during the European World Tour level events he raced in last season. After a winter of training Kling will be looking for a performance increase this season.

Further local representation comes from the Cape Crow Vikings skippered by Patrik Sturesson and Team Anna skippered by Anna Östling. Cape Crow Vikings have spent the winter sailing the M32 Monaco Winter Series whilst Team Anna have hit M32 training hard both in Valencia and in Gothenburg this spring. Both teams should have great boat handling and will be looking to apply and adapt their match racing skills from keelboats to climb up the leaderboard during this event.

Closing out the starting eight is the second Danish entry, Aschenbrenner Racing Team. Skipper Joachim Aschenbrenner has posted mixed results since the M32 catamaran was introduced to the Tour last year, but has points on the WMRT leaderboard already this year from the Congressional Cup, the second World Championship level event of the 2017 season where the team placed 7th, ahead of several Tour Card holders.

The forecast is for mixed conditions of 5-16kts from the South East, which will deliver something for both the lightweight and the heavier teams. Whatever the conditions there is sure to be some fierce competition for the prize that awaits the top two teams, a trip to Marstrand for one of the biggest events in the sailing calendar, GKSS Match Cup Sweden.

Gothenburg Match Cup runs 12-14th May, with a double round robin Qualifying round followed by knockout semifinals and Final.

 

Apr 14, 2017 7:31:00 PM

Australia’s Harry Price Steals The Show at Miami Match Cup

At times today the young Australian looked to be struggling. After leading the qualifying session during the first two regatta days, today Price had a series of losses at the end of the qualifying series, but kept his calm when it mattered to sweep through the knockout stages and clinch the title. It was American Nevin Snow that Price took in the final, however both finalists earn a ticket to World Match Racing Tour Championship level event, Match Cup Sweden.

Apr 14, 2017 7:31:00 PM

Australia’s Harry Price Steals The Show at Miami Match Cup

At times today the young Australian looked to be struggling. After leading the qualifying session during the first two regatta days, today Price had a series of losses at the end of the qualifying series, but kept his calm when it mattered to sweep through the knockout stages and clinch the title. It was American Nevin Snow that Price took in the final, however both finalists earn a ticket to World Match Racing Tour Championship level event, Match Cup Sweden.

Harry Price with his Sydney based Down Under Racing is one of the more experienced teams at this event with it being their 3rd WMRT qualifier in the M32 catamaran so it was expected that he do well, however his 12-1 score at one time during qualifying shocked all. After dropping races through several unforced errors he lost his precious place on top of the leaderboard and gave the semifinal pick to Nevin Snow. 

When Snow picked fellow USA countryman Markus Edegran, Price was left to battle his semifinal against fellow Sydney sailor Evan Walker and his Team KA Match. In this first to 3-point series Walker convincingly took the first. In the second match Walker won the start and was ahead again. As the pair came down the second run the gap closed with each cross. Coming in towards the bottom gate Price owned the starboard advantage but still trailed, just. Without flinching Walker continued to the gate on port tack to cross his opponent’s bow. With a heavy last minute flick of the tiller Price sold the penalty and Walker was forced to slow, giving the win to Down Under Racing.
 
In the other semifinal, Nevin Snow’s 13FIFTY Racing dominated in a 2-0 win over E11EVEN Racing. Markus Edegran was the surprise of the regatta with this being his rookie entry to the professional match racing circuit. He looked strong in the early parts of the day, but couldn’t keep the winning rhythm when the pressure turned on for the knockout rounds.
 
With the finalists decided, so too were the invitations to the World Match Racing Tour Championship level event, Match Cup Sweden. Both Price and Snow will be heading to the Swedish sailing hotspot of Marstrand in July for the next Championship stage event on the Tour.
 
Due to time limitations, the race committee called the final to be a sudden death, single race match-up. Price was dominant in the prestart, nailing time back to the line and leading to the reach mark. The match was decided there and then with Snow never convincingly closing the gap.
 
Both Down Under Racing and 13 FIFTY Racing have looked dominant this week and neither will be an easy match come July when we get to Sweden. “The opponent I am most looking forward to facing is Taylor Canfield.” Commented Snow, previewing the event. “We’ve faced off several times but we’ve never beaten him. Perhaps in the M32 and in a new arena we will get the chance to get one or two back.”
 
Price is also looking forward to the next level challenge and remarked, “We’re ready to step it up in in Marstrand. We’re pretty happy with the performance here so want to keep this flow going and see how we fair against the big boys.” Both will now look to get more experience in the M32 over the coming months to ensure they are prepared for the event.

View full results!

Apr 3, 2017 8:14:01 AM

From black flag to crimsom blazer

In a series of matches that were as mercurial as the weather, Ian Williams (GBR) and his team GAC Pindar triumphed in the 53rd Congressional Cup, beating Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in a fifth and final winner-take-all match.

Apr 3, 2017 8:14:01 AM

From black flag to crimsom blazer

In a series of matches that were as mercurial as the weather, Ian Williams (GBR) and his team GAC Pindar triumphed in the 53rd Congressional Cup, beating Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in a fifth and final winner-take-all match.

Not since 2012 has Ian Williams [GRB] donned the coveted Crimson Blazer, the honor bestowed to the top names in sailing since 1965. What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing.

But Williams had been denied, after two consecutive Congressional Cup wins in 2011 and 2012; even as he reigned as six-time Match Racing World Champion. And in 2016, his team finished last in the Congressional Cup.
That shakeup was motivating, said Williams, who vowed to come back and redeem himself. He returned to Congressional Cup this week, building momentum throughout the five-day event. In the Quarter Finals he conquered Chris Steele (NZL), moving on to beat defending champion Taylor Canfield in the Semi Finals in three strokes; leading Williams into the Finals against Berntsson.

Races were aggressive, including two matches held as a thick bank of fog rolled through. "It's rare to race like that; difficult when you can't see the top mark," Williams said. But they were able to keep close to Berntsson, and get a win in the second match. "Johnie has been on fire this week, and we thought once we got a win on him, maybe we could break his spell."

In the fourth flight, that fire turned explosive. In a blistering pre-start, as the boats skimmed the pier, Williams was penalised for nosing in without room. Flagged, he continued his combat with Berntsson, sprinting toward the start line, but didn't keep clear of Berntsson, picking up a second penalty, then as he tacked back to clear the committee boat he was forced to fend off, warranting a third and terminal (black) flag. The race was over nearly as soon as it had begun.

"We were expecting it," Williams admitted, but they shook it off. "We just had to forget about it, and move on to the next race."

With wheels spinning, racing resumed, in a final winner-takes-all match. Splitting tacks, at the leeward gate Williams went left while Berntsson banked on the right side of the course ... and lost. With the late afternoon wind waning, Williams got the better breeze, and defeated Berntsson by over a minute.

Sundays final day of Congressional Cup racing had commenced in 11knots of southerly breeze, in Long Beach: one of North America's busiest, and premier seaports. As the waters sparkled in the bright sunshine, the 1.5nm Fleet Race and a $2K purse was won by Steele; but not without a fight from Sam Gilmour (AUS).

Going into the day, both Berntsson and Williams were within one point of the Finals. Each smartly dispatched their rivals: Taylor Canfield (ISV) and Phil Robertson (NZL) (respectively) – who went on to compete in the Petite Finals. In that contest, Canfield defeated Robertson 2-0 for third place in the Congressional Cup regatta.

Berntsson had cruised through Qualifying, finishing at the top of the leaderboard over 11 of the world's top yacht racing talents. His only losses during the week had been to Harry Price (AUS) and Gilmour (AUS) – two young talented Aussie, who were subsequently eliminated.

Berntsson had been on a roll and eager to win his second Crimson Blazer: having won the title in 2009. Bowing to Williams in the Finals, he said, "We're already looking forward to coming back next year."
Congressional Cup is held directly off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, which was abuzz with hundreds of spectators who turned out for today's exciting conclusion.

The World Match Racing Tour now moves on to Marstrand 3-8 July for Match Cup Sweden, one of Sweden's premier sporting events, which attracts over 100,000 spectators to the island paradise. The event will also be back in the high speed M32 so for crews it will be time to re-set and re-calibrate as the World Championship rolls onwards.

Mar 31, 2017 8:27:40 AM

Berntsson blasts through qualifying at Congressional Cup

"Mr Canfield, I like your jacket!" announced reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson (NZL), at the 53rd Congressional Cup's opening 'Meet the Skippers' dinner.

Mar 31, 2017 8:27:40 AM

Berntsson blasts through qualifying at Congressional Cup

"Mr Canfield, I like your jacket!" announced reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson (NZL), at the 53rd Congressional Cup's opening 'Meet the Skippers' dinner.

Robertson, hot off a win in Match Cup Australia, alluded to some unfinished business from last year, when he finished at the top in Qualifying, but was eliminated in the Quarter Finals – leaving the door open for Canfield to win his third consecutive Crimson Blazer.

The Crimson Blazer is the iconic prize and symbol of the Congressional Cup – along with the behemoth silver trophy on display at Long Beach Yacht Club.
“That’s mine!” chided Harry Price (AUS), pointing to the trophy, and joining the charge. Everyone is eager to unseat Canfield, number one-ranked by World Sailing; but the team best poised to crush Canfield, after two days of racing, appears to be Johnie Berntsson (SWE).

Berntsson and Canfield are matched point-for-point with nine wins each. The 2009 winner of the Congressional Cup, Berntsson has returned to Long Beach with a new, multi-cultural team, saying the mix is “challenging” – “but the really tight racing fires us up!” With one Dane, three Swedes and two Aussies, they are in first place at the end of Qualifying, winning the tie breaker over Canfield with a win in Flight 8.

Today’s variable winds fluctuated from a low of 5 knots to a gusty 20 knot breezes in the afternoon, which put a halt to racing as the skippers changed to smaller jibs.

With tomorrow’s forecast for more breeze, Principal Race Officer Randy Smith pressed to complete all 14 flights of Qualifying, and called for an 1100 start to Friday’s races.

Berntsson, Canfield, Robertson and Sam Gilmour (NZL) move straight to the Quarter Finals on Saturday, with Friday now a welcome day off. The balance will fight for their spots in the Repechage; an eight boat round robin, to determine which four move on … and which four go home.

The Congressional Cup is the second of seven stops on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club and raced in the Long Beach Sailing Foundation fleet of 37-foot Catalina keelboats. The competition continues through Sunday April 2, directly off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

View full results! 

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com for more information.

Mar 30, 2017 3:11:21 PM

Everyone gets a piece of the pie on day one of Congressional Cup

Brilliant sunshine greeted the all-star line-up of Congressional Cup 2017, racing along the shores of Long Beach, California. Conditions were nothing like last year's dismal, drizzly weather.

Mar 30, 2017 3:11:21 PM

Everyone gets a piece of the pie on day one of Congressional Cup

Brilliant sunshine greeted the all-star line-up of Congressional Cup 2017, racing along the shores of Long Beach, California. Conditions were nothing like last year's dismal, drizzly weather.

But the wind played havoc with racers none-the-less. Light breezes from the southwest built auspiciously, then plunged. The drop was so sudden, it threw Qualifying flight three into a frenzy …. a Swan Lake-like performance of boats grazing across the course with no apparent clue as to who was racing who. Caught in the shifts – from 185 degrees to 230 degrees – Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) lost to Harry Price (AUS) by a full minute, while Sam Gilmour’s (AUS) time over Nicolai Sehested (DEN) was nearly the same. And Johnie Berntsson (SWE) hammered Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) by a remarkable two minutes: a huge spread for such a highly-ranked field of sailors.

But just as suddenly the sea breeze filled in to a brisk 12-14 knots. Aschenbrenner rebounded with a win over David Storrs (USA), and Canfield returned to his winning form: ending the day 4:1 – tied with Berntsson. Both skippers are past Congressional Cup champions: Berntsson in 2009, and Canfield, 2014 – 2016. Like most of the teams on Day One, Berntsson said they “struggled with the details,” but added, “I’m happy, we had a good day and are staying in the game.”

Tied with three points each were Price, Gilmour, Phil Robertson (NZL) and Eric Monnin (SUI); followed by Aschenbrenner, Ian Williams (GBR), Chris Steele (NZL) and Scott Dickson (USA) each at two points.

Sehested and Storrs ended the day with one win each. “It was a bit of a tough day,” admitted Sehested, but he pointed out last year they moved up the leaderboard to second place overall, nearly capturing the title from Canfield, and was undeterred by his 1:4 start to the week.

And yet today, everyone got a piece of the pie, heralding the incredible level of competition expected over the next four days of Congressional Cup 2017.

This 53-year tradition, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, is the second stop on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, attracting a dozen of the top match racing teams from around the globe, as they vie for the Crimson blazer. Races will continue through Sunday April 2, beginning at 11:30 Pacific Time each day off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

View full results! 

Mar 25, 2017 1:07:39 PM

Phil Robertson shows how it's done at Match Cup Australia

New Zealand's Phil Robertson, the reigning world champion, made it look easy as he cruised to a 3–0 victory in the final of the Match Cup Australia, beating local skipper Matt Jerwood.

Mar 25, 2017 1:07:39 PM

Phil Robertson shows how it's done at Match Cup Australia

New Zealand's Phil Robertson, the reigning world champion, made it look easy as he cruised to a 3–0 victory in the final of the Match Cup Australia, beating local skipper Matt Jerwood.

“It was a very, very good day for us,” was Robertson’s description of the final. “We always try to learn at all the events, you’ve got to be taking whatever you can to make any marginal gains, and we managed to make a few and get up to speed.”

Talking about the conditions today he said, “today was a bit lighter, which was nice, and very shifty which played into our hands. The boys got the boat going fast, and going the right way, it seems to all fall into place if you can pull those two things off.”

The Kiwi put on a master class of match racing, winning all three starts, and only allowed Jerwood to cross in front of him once in the three races.

Matt Jerwood was gracious in defeat, “I’m incredibly proud of the guys, it’s always disappointing to lose, but Phil and his team were better than us this week, and we can’t wait to sail against him again.”

Robertson had progressed to the final by defeating another local skipper, David Gilmour of the host club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, 3 – 1 in the semi-finals, definitely finding the lighter breezes to his liking.

Until the final, Matt Jerwood had been the giant slayer of the week, moving smoothly through the opening rounds, until the quarter finals where another Kiwi, Chris Steele pushed him to five races. This seemed to set him up to cruise through the semi-final defeating Torvar Mirsky in three straight races, but the dream run ended in the final.

This was the first event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, a seven regatta circuit, which takes in venues in Europe, and the United States before ending in China for the World Championships.

Mar 24, 2017 3:53:39 PM

Western Australian bonanza at Match Cup Australia

Local skipper Matt Jerwood certainly overplayed the anxiety card on his way to becoming the third Western Australian skipper to make it through to the semi-finals of Match Cup Australia, the first event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour.

Mar 24, 2017 3:53:39 PM

Western Australian bonanza at Match Cup Australia

Local skipper Matt Jerwood certainly overplayed the anxiety card on his way to becoming the third Western Australian skipper to make it through to the semi-finals of Match Cup Australia, the first event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour.

Earlier in the day David Gilmour had gone through 3-1 against US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield, and Torvar Mirsky similarly eliminated Frenchman Yann Guichard.

Jerwood and his Redline Racing Team took it to five races against Kiwi Chris Steele before sealing his place in the semi-final. Jerwood went 2-0 up initially, but then Steele fought back to level the score, leaving Redline’s fans with their hearts in their mouths.

Talking about going into the decider the young Australian said, “we just tried to reset after our two losses, we were just feeling a little bit rushed in those two races, I don’t know why. We just got back into our normal groove, we knew what we had to do on the start, it was just about doing it.

“My boys sailed fantastically, we felt strong all day, we felt we could have taken him 3-0, but he’s a great sailor, he’s not going to go down that easily.”

The fourth semi-finalist is New Zealander Phil Robertson, the current World Champion, who eliminated the other Western Australian in the quarter finals, Steve Thomas, who went down 3-1 to his trans-Tasman rival.

After light winds in the morning, the seabreeze rolled up the river to give some knife edge sailing in the afternoon, which kept the crowds at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club on the edges of their seats. Jerwood’s eventual victory causing a roar of approval, as had Gilmour’s and Mirsky’s.

Semi-finals and finals will be sailed on Saturday.

Full results here!

Mar 23, 2017 1:19:38 PM

Mirsky & Thomas complete local lineup at match cup Australia

Royal Perth Yacht Club skipper Torvar Mirsky kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as he came back from 2–1 down to defeat Sweden's Nicklas Dackhammar to become the fourth local skipper into the quarter finals of the Match Cup Australia.

Mar 23, 2017 1:19:38 PM

Mirsky & Thomas complete local lineup at Match Cup Australia

Royal Perth Yacht Club skipper Torvar Mirsky kept the spectators on the edge of their seats as he came back from 2–1 down to defeat Sweden's Nicklas Dackhammar to become the fourth local skipper into the quarter finals of the Match Cup Australia.

Earlier in the day Steve Thomas, also of Royal Perth Yacht Club, had become a giant slayer, eliminating Tour Card holder Nicolai Sehested in three straight races, to join yesterday's local qualifiers David Gilmour and Matt Jerwood.

Thomas has seen his confidence grow since sweeping undefeated through last week's qualifier, then continuing his impressive performances this week. Attributing his teams success to on board communications he said, "for us just making sure we have good communication all the time is critical, and you know that when the communication breaks down that's when things go wrong, and were really disciplined on simple things and it's paying off for us."

Torvar Mirsky showed great composure to turn around a bad situation and come out with the right result, talking about what was going through his mind as he prepared for the deciding heat he said, "We didn't know what to feel, we knew we were sailing well, we know what to do and we just need to put it together.

"Nicklas just took it too us, he schooled us in three starts, and we just fought as hard as we could all the time, I think eventually we broke him and got a couple of good starts, and finally got up on him."

Also going through to the quarter finals today was reigning world champion Phil Robertson of New Zealand, who was pushed all the way by Sweden's Mans Holmberg.

The two northern hemisphere skippers to make it into the next round are Frenchman Yann Guichard and Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands.

Conditions on the Swan River today provided challenges in the shifty southerly wind, with gusts causing a few anxious moments, and some opportunities.

View full results here!

Mar 22, 2017 4:35:00 PM

David Gilmour Flies Local Flag Whilst Williams Makes Shock Exit

The upsets continue on the third day of the Match Cup Australia, as Ian Williams, who has won the world championship a record six times, is eliminated by local skipper Matt Jerwood. Williams and his GAC Pindar Team were never really in the game, with Matt Jerwood's Redline Racing leading all three races from start to finish.

Mar 22, 2017 4:35:00 PM

David Gilmour Flies Local Flag Whilst Williams Makes Shock Exit

The upsets continue on the third day of the Match Cup Australia, as Ian Williams, who has won the world championship a record six times, is eliminated by local skipper Matt Jerwood. Williams and his GAC Pindar Team were never really in the game, with Matt Jerwood's Redline Racing leading all three races from start to finish.

“We’re pretty stoked to have won that, it was great,” commented Jerwood through an ear to ear grin. He is full of praise for his team, and quick with self deprecation.

“My team is fantastic, Patrick, Niall and Alex, they are so up to speed with what needs to be done on the boat, we just got in front on the starts, then just sailed away,” was his run down of the races. Then he added “I don’t do a lot on the boat, I just sit there and don’t fall off, but it is quite mentally tiring”.

Others to go through to the quarter-finals in three straight races were Frenchman Yann Guichard and his Spindrift Racing, and Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands, defeating Sam Gilmour and Pieter-Jan Postma respectively.

The tightest match of the day was between Denmark’s Jonas Warrer and Kiwi Chris Steele, which went to a fifth and deciding race, Warrer had gone 2 – 0 up, but Steele clawed his way back to level the score. In the decider it was all over on the  line, with Steele sailing away unopposed. 

Home town skipper David Gilmour beat east coast rival Evan Walker from Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 3 – 2 in a series of tight races.

Match Cup Australia, the first event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, is being hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, and sailed on the Swan River. The event continues with further eliminations tomorrow, with the final on Saturday.

Mar 21, 2017 4:06:15 PM

Flying Dutchman disposes of Barkow & Anyon

Match racing is a cruel sport, there is no second, just winners and losers, and Sally Barkow and George Anyon were reminded of this today in brutal style. Both have been eliminated from the Match Cup Australia with Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Postma defeating both and making it through to the Super 16 Round.

Mar 21, 2017 4:06:15 PM

Flying Dutchman disposes of Barkow & Anyon

Match racing is a cruel sport, there is no second, just winners and losers, and Sally Barkow and George Anyon were reminded of this today in brutal style. Both have been eliminated from the Match Cup Australia with Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Postma defeating both and making it through to the Super 16 Round.

The elimination of Barkow, a Tour Card holder, could be the first in a series of upsets in this regatta, with so much talent lined up, no one is safe, and there will be more early exits tomorrow, when the super sixteen get cut down to just eight teams.

At the end of the group fleet racing stage of the event, there were clear leaders in groups one and two, but group three continued to provide nail-biting competition, with three teams tied for first place. In group one, Chris Steele ruled the roost despite having to count average points for today's four races, due to boat damage.

In group two, Taylor Canfield was the class act, chalking up a total of six wins and two second places, to win the group by nine points.

Frenchman Yann Guichard, and Australians Torvar Mirsky and Evan Walker all finished the series with 22 points in group three, and only one point back in fourth place is Ian Williams.

For Torvar Mirsky this is a dream return to the World Match Racing Tour after a four year absence, "I guess we're surprised to find ourselves equal first," he confessed, "we didn't come in with expectations of results.

"We just were focussed on sailing together, and I guess we're in that honeymoon period of sailing together, we're a new team and there's a bit of extra excitement with sailing together. It's nice to have this event here at our home club, so we're just happy and working hard. I think we're in with a good shot whatever happens."

While on the first day the teams were challenged by light and shifty conditions, today it was all blood and guts, with winds in the 20 to 25 knot range, and plenty of crashes and capsizes.

The event is being hosted by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and sailed on the Swan river. Tomorrow it is all match racing and the elimination of eight further teams, with the finals being sailed on Saturday.

Mar 20, 2017 2:55:45 PM

Canfield the standout on day 1 in Perth

In front of a packed lawn at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Taylor Canfield and his US One team are the standout performers of Qualifying Session 1 of Match Cup Australia. This is the first event of the 2017 World Match Racing Tour. Canfield, from the US Virgin Islands, chalked up three wins and a second place to dominate his group.

Mar 20, 2017 2:55:45 PM

Canfield the standout on day 1 in Perth

In front of a packed lawn at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Taylor Canfield and his US One team are the standout performers of Qualifying Session 1 of Match Cup Australia. This is the first event of the 2017 World Match Racing Tour. Canfield, from the US Virgin Islands, chalked up three wins and a second place to dominate his group.

"It was a lot of fun," he commented, "it's been a while since we've been match racing or fleet racing these boats. Today was a little bit experimental with a new team, and it was good to get out there and mix it up with some other boats." Though he admitted it is a bit early in the event to be reading too much into the results.

The Swan River's Freshwater Bay sparkled in the sunshine through the morning, with a good easterly breeze making for a great spectacle in the early races. While Canfield was showing that he's lost nothing in the off season.

Also at the top of the scoreboard in their respective groups of six teams were Kiwi Chris Steele in Group 1, and Frenchman Yann Guichard in group three.

Steele and his 36 Below Racing team also scored three first places, with a third place their other score, but they were penalized a further point for a collision. As a measure of the aggressive tactics on the racecourse, a number of penalty points were issued, with local wild card entry Matt Jerwood receiving two.

Group 3 produced the closest result of the day, which had the crowds on the edge of their seats, with Guichard and his Spindrift Racing team just one point ahead of joint second place held by Ian Williams, GAC Pindar and Torvar Mirsky. By the time group three got on the race course the wind had become light and shifty, which really challenged the teams.

Yann Guichard and the Spindrift Racing team probably have more multi-hull experience than any of the other teams, both in round the world multi-hulls, and super lightweight ones they sail on the Swiss lakes in summer.

Torvar Mirsky, one of the local skippers, said he was very happy with his results, "after four years away from the Tour, and new boats, we're really happy to be in equal second place, and just one point off the lead."

The event is being hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, which provides a magnificent venue, with a raised position that looks down on the racecourse, making their lawns a great grandstand.

View full results here!

Mar 20, 2017 8:05:31 AM

MATCH RACING GIANTS ARRIVE IN PERTH

The who's who of the match racing sailing world are rocking into Perth for the Match Cup Australia, the first Championship level event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, there are Olympic medallist of every colour, world record holders and world champions are as plentiful as confetti a wedding.

Mar 20, 2017 8:05:31 AM

Match racing giants arrive in Perth

The who's who of the match racing sailing world are rocking into Perth for the Match Cup Australia, the first Championship level event on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, there are Olympic medallist of every colour, world record holders and world champions are as plentiful as confetti a wedding.

Britain’s Ian Williams won this event last year, and he is back to defend his title, he has also won the Match Racing World Championship six times, a record in itself.

Commenting on sailing on the river instead of the ocean like last year he said, “it’s going to be flatter water, so that will change the racing a lot, I guess the handling will be a little easier, we’ll be able to get the boats a bit closer, but still just as fast, so I think it will be a great regatta.”

The current world champion is New Zealand’s Phil Robertson, and he is in town with his team to try and repeat last year’s success. Talking about the coming season he said, “We’ve got a title to defend, so we’ll be giving it a lot to make sure we’re strong enough to do it.

“The World Championships aren’t until October, so we’ve got time to warm up to it, and it’s all about that one event. We’ve been training in Valencia for the last few weeks, we’ve flown in today and we’re straight into it.”

However there are sixteen other skippers and crews in town who will do their best to keep both Williams and Robertson off the top step of the podium. Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands is another past World Match Racing Tour champion from the monohull era of the Tour, he is catching up with the multi-hull match racing style fast.

The Spindrift Team from France are led by Yann Guichard, a speed man who is completely at home in multi-hulls. Until now he has been more familiar with big multi-hulls and long distance records, but with the arrival of the M32s he has set his sights on capturing the Match Racing World Championship.

Another one who is stepping down in size to join the Tour is Dane Nicolai Sehested, a former Volvo Ocean Race skipper, who has brought a strong team with him. Also from Denmark is Jonas Warrer, one of the many Olympians in the line up, he won a gold medal in Beijing sailing the 49er.

Sally Barkow of the United States leads the all female and multi-national  Team Magenta 32, Sally’s depth and breadth of experience is enormous, from round the world racing to the Olympics.

The line-up isn’t short of very talented locals either, with brothers Sam and David Gilmour both skippering teams that will represent the host club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Torvar Mirsky is sailing for Royal Perth Yacht Club and Matt Jerwood is from South of Perth Yacht Club.

The event is being sailed on the Swan River’s Freshwater Bay, with the opening fleet racing rounds starting Monday 20th March to establish the seeding for the match racing which starts on Wednesday, with the final next Saturday 25th March.

Mar 13, 2017 1:34:58 PM

Match Racing World Champion Robertson Returns With Tour Card To Defend Title

Phil Robertson is back for the 2017 World MatchRacing Tour season with one goal - to defend his Match Racing World Champion title. After storming the Tour finale in Marstrand last year with his four-on-the-rack approach Phil reveals that he has more tricks up his sleeve this year.
 

Mar 13, 2017 1:34:58 PM

Match Racing World Champion Robertson Returns With Tour Card To Defend Title

Phil Robertson is back for the 2017 World MatchRacing Tour season with one goal - to defend his Match Racing World Champion title. After storming the Tour finale in Marstrand last year with his four-on-the-rack approach Phil reveals that he has more tricks up his sleeve this year.
 

The New Zealand team will need to hit the ground running at the championship season opener in Australia if they are to start building their campaign towards this year's worldchampionship, especially as they haven't seen an M32 since Marstrand last July. Phil said that it's been a good summer at home and that sailing has not been a huge focus, but expects his title defence tobe a greater challenge with others becoming M32 experts thanks to extensive off-season training.

Unlike many teams returning to the Tour this year, Phil Robertson Racing will continue with the same four-man crew that won in Marstrand. "I think I owe it to the boys to give them a shot at defending the title" declared Robertson.

When asked about the pressure of going into the new season as defender of the worldchampionship trophy Phil responded, "We'll definitely have a massive target on our backs and we need to pick up and perform where we left off in Marstrand."

Phil Robertson has the tenth and final Tour Card of the 2017 season, guaranteeing entry to all World Match Racing Tour championship level events in the build up to the WorldChampionship at the end of the season.  

The team have a short intensive training period planned in the M32 before the championship season kicks off in Australia during late March.


WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Phil Robertson 
Nationality: Kiwi (New Zealander)
Team name: Phil Robertson Racing
Year of birth: 1987-05-13
Result WMRT 2016: 2nd place

Feb 28, 2017 1:20:00 PM

GKSS to Host WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup

Gothenburg is the latest city to add to the growing list of WMRT World Tour level events that qualify teams into Championship level events and earn valuable points on the 2017 WMRT leaderboard. The WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup will be sailed on the beautiful Swedish west coast outside the GKSS clubhouse in Långedrag on May 12-14th, with the top two teams receiving invitations to GKSS Match Cup Sweden in July. 
 

Feb 28, 2017 1:20:00 PM

GKSS to Host WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup

Gothenburg is the latest city to add to the growing list of WMRT World Tour level events that qualify teams into Championship level events and earn valuable points on the 2017 WMRT leaderboard. The WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup will be sailed on the beautiful Swedish west coast outside the GKSS clubhouse in Långedrag on May 12-14th, with the top two teams receiving invitations to GKSS Match Cup Sweden in July. 
 

With a wealth of experience in hosting world-class sailing regattas including the Americas Cup World Series, Volvo Ocean Race, and of course Match Cup Sweden; Gothenburg city and its people embrace the sport of sailing and provide a warm welcome for this WMRT World Tour level event. In the heart of Gothenburg’s archipelago, the race area provides challenging conditions for crews to navigate the rocky waters and work the wind shifts and shadows to really test match racing skill. 

“GKSS are excited to be stepping up our level of involvement in 2017 with the World MatchRacing Tour. Becoming a title sponsor of GKSS Match Cup Sweden strengthens the club’s presence on a global scale and proves our commitment to Swedish sailing.” remarked Thomas Rahm, President of GKSS. “Also hosting this World Tour level event allows us to support local and international teams who do not hold a Tour Card to make their mark on the global match racing scene”.

As with the majority of World Match Racing Tour events, WMRT Gothenburg Match Cup will be sailed in high performance M32 carbon fiber catamarans provided by the Organising Authority and therefore teams are required to hold a valid M32 Match Racing License to sail in this event. For teams without a license there will be an M32 MatchRacing License Clinic held just across the water on the island of Hönö at Cape Crow Yacht Club May 9-11th. For further details on licensing and to book a place at one of our training or license clinics please visit m32world.com/m32-academy.

Gothenburg Match Cup will run May 12-14th, 2017 and is now open for entry. To request invitation please contact craig.mitchell@astonharald.com

For further information on GKSS please visit GKSS.se

Feb 23, 2017 1:15:00 PM

Swiss Match Race Gentleman Monnin Returns With 2017 Tour Card

The 2016 season tested the Albert Riele Swiss Team to the maximum and with mixed results the team found themselves in unfamiliar territory on the WMRT leaderboard. With a new setup in 2017, Eric believes his long-term game plan will kick in this year and the team see big improvements on the horizon.

Feb 23, 2017 1:15:00 PM

Swiss Match Race Gentleman Monnin Returns With 2017 Tour Card

The 2016 season tested the Albert Riele Swiss Team to the maximum and with mixed results the team found themselves in unfamiliar territory on the WMRT leaderboard. With a new setup in 2017, Eric believes his long-term game plan will kick in this year and the team see big improvements on the horizon.

Switzerland’s Eric Monnin has become part of the furniture of the World Match Racing Tour. A well respected match racer, Eric can turn up the heat on the water but knows how to be a gracious winner, and loser, on land. It is no secret to say that last year was a disappointment for the Albert Riele Swiss Team with Eric admitting, “we didn’t expect it to be that difficult”. 

But Eric hopes these problems are a thing of the past, and already this season at a WMRT qualifier event successfully tried out his new four person crew and finished the event in 4th position. Monnin has brought back his regular trimmer, Frenchman Julien Falxa, in this setup and replaces crew numbers with muscle power. Still undecided on which is the perfect setup, 2017 will see the team change between four and five person crew configurations to suit each venue. 

Eric is looking forward to stepping back in the M32 this season with a fresh mindset and new goals. “Its the long term that counts for us,” commented Monnin when asked what his goal was in 2017. It was the Swiss team’s World Sailing match race ranking that secured their 2017 WMRT Tour Card, so let’s hope they can continue their match racing success through this season and improve on last year’s final leaderboard position.

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Eric Monnin
Nationality: Swiss
Team name: Albert Riele Swiss Team
Yacht Club: Segel Club Stäfa
Year of birth: 1975
Result WMRT 2016: 17th place

Feb 7, 2017 9:18:44 AM

Sehested Brings Danish Dynamite to WMRT

Nicolai Sehested is known as the hard hitting, ‘never back down from a good fight’ skipper with the biggest smile. With a new team name (but still same long term sponsor formerly known as Trefor) EWII Racing and Nicolai Sehested from Denmark are back with a Tour Card for the 2017 season of the World Match Racing Tour
 

Feb 7, 2017 9:18:44 AM

Sehested Brings Danish Dynamite to WMRT

Nicolai Sehested is known as the hard hitting, ‘never back down from a good fight’ skipper with the biggest smile. With a new team name (but still same long term sponsor formerly known as Trefor) EWII Racing and Nicolai Sehested from Denmark are back with a Tour Card for the 2017 season of the World Match Racing Tour
 

When Sehested throws his hat in the ring, the rest of the teams can be sure that they will have to prepare for an opponent who will stop at nothing in order to reach his goals. The change from the very open and inviting character on dry land is remarkable when his will to win kicks in. Last season the team had a habit of winning the seeding rounds but fall short in the play-offs due to small mistakes. For the coming season the team’s success will be about harnessing the drive to win at every cost whilst minimising mistakes. The team, which consists of a bounty of experience from the Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series and Americas Cup is preparing for their first start of the season in WMRT MatchCup Australia. “I love building a strong team and we have a core crew that genuinely loves what we do and we’re really good friends. We know we have the speed and the boat handling so this year it’s going to be important to get the most out of our potential.” Nicolai Sehested comments and continues, “We love the Tour and only have one goal. To win it all!”

One thing is for sure - Nicolai Sehested has a plan and the other teams will do their best to keep watchful eye on the colourful Dane this season. 

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Nicolai Sehested
Nationality: Danish
Team name: EWII Racing
Yacht Club: Royal Danish Yacht Club
Year of birth: 1989
Result WMRT 2016: 5th place

Feb 3, 2017 10:01:01 AM

Meetingspot 2017 live broadcast on Youtube!

2017 will be a great year for sailing fans and Meetingspot 2017 will discuss the latest news from Volvo Ocean Race, Olympic Sailing, The World Match Racing Tour and the America’s Cup.

 

Feb 3, 2017 10:01:01 AM

Meetingspot 2017 live broadcast on Youtube!

2017 will be a great year for sailing fans and Meetingspot 2017 will discuss the latest news from Volvo Ocean Race, Olympic Sailing, The World Match Racing Tour and the America’s Cup.

 

The annual yacht-racing seminar Meetingspot is organized by Brandspot as a part of the opening of the Gothenburg Boat Show. We are getting close to the new season of the World Match Racing Tour that will visit Marstrand in July and things are heating up in Bermuda as the America’s Cup teams get ready for the final. Also, we can expect big news about the Volvo Ocean Race starting in Alicante in October.

Representatives from these leading yacht racing events will be taking the stage during Meetingspot 2017, which is held at The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Center.

You can catch the free live broadcast of the event on Youtube at 4 pm CET. 

Guests at Meetingspot 2017:
Santiago Lange, Olympic gold medalist Nacra 17
Richard Mason, COO Volvo Ocean Race
Tracy Edwards, Volvo Ocean Race Competitor
Camilla Nyman, CEO Göteborg & Co
Robert Magnusson, CEO World Match Racing Tour
Sam Murch, Operation Manager Aston Harald Sports
Mattias Dahlström, Race Director Aston Harald Sports
Anna Östling, Match Racing World Champion 2016
Fredrik Lööf, Artemis Racing
Staffan Sallén, Commodore Royal Swedish Yacht Club
Jack Griffin, Editor America’s Cup Experience
Rasmus Rosengren, Skipper Artemis Youth Team

 

Jan 20, 2017 9:16:00 AM

Canfield Returns as One of the Favourites in WMRT 2017 Season

Taylor Canfield and the US One team came into the 2016 season as the big favourites. They had won the majority of major M32 events in the previous season and spent more time in the boat than any other team and the expectations were great. After a shaky start in Fremantle the team cleaned out the rest of the season winning three consecutive events leading up to the WMRT Finals in Marstrand. At the finale they fell in an epic battle with Phil Robertson, but showed the world how strong this team can be. Taylor Canfield, representing US Virgin Islands, and his US One is back this season with a Tour Card and there is only one goal - the World Championship title.
 

Jan 20, 2017 9:16:00 AM

Canfield Returns as One of the Favourites inWMRT 2017 Season

Taylor Canfield and the US One team came into the 2016 season as the big favourites. They had won the majority of major M32 events in the previous season and spent more time in the boat than any other team and the expectations were great. After a shaky start in Fremantle the team cleaned out the rest of the season winning three consecutive events leading up to the WMRT Finals in Marstrand. At the finale they fell in an epic battle with Phil Robertson, but showed the world how strong this team can be. Taylor Canfield, representing US Virgin Islands, and his US One is back this season with a Tour Card and there is only one goal - the World Championship title.
 

Whilst the preparation was meticulous and focused around the M32 last year the team has broadened their horizons this season with GC32 and grand prix monohull racing. Taylor has also taken the chance to sail on the Star Sailors league. The team has tested new talent and will bring some changes to the line up where Cy Thompson and Trevor Byrd joins the US One squad which Canfield runs alongside long-term friend and team mate Hayden Goodrick. The preparation to gel the team together is picking up in Miami, USA before the first WC level event in Perth, Australia. 

“We selected a team this year where we’ve taken the physical side of match racing in the M32 in a higher consideration. I think this will help us in the venues where we have strong breeze like Perth and Marstrand.” Canfiled comments and continues, “The first year we had a head start on other teams thanks to the amount of time we spent in the boat. This year it’s going to be more about refining our skills as a team. The first year in M32 was a great success and we’re looking to have another great push and hopefully another great season.”

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Taylor Canfield
Nationality: US Virgin Islands
Team name: US One
Year of birth: 1989
Result WMRT 2016: 2nd Place

Jan 19, 2017 9:13:00 AM

Porec Returns Croatia To WMRT

The match racing tradition in Croatia runs deep and the Adriatic coast has seen many big match racing events over the years in locations such as Rovinj, Dubrovnik and Umag. Split was for many years part of the World Match Racing Tour in it's infancy but since 2007 Croatia has been outside of the grand prix match racing scene. 2017 marks the year when the legacy continues as Porec picks up the torch and brings back the World Match Racing Tour to the Adriatic. 
 

Jan 19, 2017 9:13:00 AM

Porec Returns Croatia To WMRT

The match racing tradition in Croatia runs deep and the Adriatic coast has seen many big match racing events over the years in locations such as Rovinj, Dubrovnik and Umag. Split was for many years part of the World Match Racing Tour in it's infancy but since 2007 Croatia has been outside of the grand prix match racing scene. 2017 marks the year when the legacy continues as Porec picks up the torch and brings back the World Match Racing Tour to the Adriatic. 
 

The city of Porec is placed in the middle of Istria in the north of the Croatian coastline. The popular summer resort brings perfect racing conditions for the M32 catamaran. On land Porec mixes its thousands of years of history in the old town with a bustling social life in restaurants and hotels in the harbour - a perfect setting for a Mediterranean style event. The owner of the WMRT, Aston Harald Sports, has signed a four-year deal with the local organiser Scandinavian tours. “We’re very proud to take Croatia back to the World MatchRacing Tour. In May this first year we will organise a WT level event with a $25,000 prize purse. This event will qualify to the WC event in North America in August.” Says Vedran Susic from Scandinavian Tours and continues, “But already next year we will step up to a WC level event. We believe a yachting country like Croatia deserves to be part of the worlds premiere racing circuit.”

"Porec is a fantastic partner to the WMRT not only because it is a stunningly beautiful venue with great racing conditions but also the city, community and local businesses in Croatia have really stepped up to make this all possible. We are very excited about this long-term agreement and to being able to continue the legacy of Croatian match racing.” Comments Robert Magnusson, CEO Aston Harald Sports.

WMRT Porec Match Cup will be sailed 26-28 May, 2017 in M32 catamarans. The WT event will qualify in to the WC event held in North America in August, 2017.
 
Invite requests to the WT events should be made through craig.mitchell@astonharald.com
For further information please visit www.wmrt.com

Jan 13, 2017 9:11:00 AM

Gilmour Snags Australian Tour Card For WMRT 2017

At age 23 Sam Gilmour from Perth, Australia has already reached the top three on the World Sailing match racing rankings with his Neptune Racing team. This feat has awarded him one of the two WMRT Tour Cards awarded to teams based on their ranking results. The team is looking to improve on their overall result on the WMRT this season with a new dedicated training program. 

Jan 13, 2017 9:11:00 AM

Gilmour Snags Australian Tour Card ForWMRT 2017

At age 23 Sam Gilmour from Perth, Australia has already reached the top three on the World Sailing match racing rankings with his Neptune Racing team. This feat has awarded him one of the two WMRT Tour Cards awarded to teams based on their ranking results. The team is looking to improve on their overall result on the WMRT this season with a new dedicated training program. 

 

“We’re very happy that we’ve got the WMRT Tour Card for this season. It means that we can focus on training and preparation for the big events. Last season it was 90% competing and 10% training, this season we’ll level that out.” Sam Gilmour comments from his home club Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, Australia. “We now have a much bigger understanding of what Neptune Racing needs to do to get a better result on the tournext year. Together with the club and with Matt Jerwood’s Redline racing, who came third in the WMRT Finals in Marstrand last season, we’ll have great chance to come well prepared for the first event on our home waters.” he says. 

Gilmour will be challenged from other local Perth teams like Jerwood, Mirsky and Thomas. His brother David Gilmour won the third WT event in Sweden in September 2016 and will be starting against his younger brother in the Northern Europe event later this spring. “Because of my father Peter’s career in match racing we have always followed him around the world during the Americas Cup and the WMRT. When we settled down in Perth it was inevitable that David, our younger brother Lachy and myself would start sailing. But we all want the helm so it’s inevitable that we’ll end up meeting each other. I’m looking forward to face-off with David.” Sam comments with a smile. Neptune racing is preparing for the season on the Swan River in Perth where the first event of the season will be held 20th-25th of March, 2017.

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Sam Gilmour
Nationality: Australian
Team name: Neptune Racing
Yacht Club: Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
Year of birth: 1993
Result WMRT 2016: 11th place

Jan 4, 2017 9:05:00 AM

WMRT Tour Card to Frenchman Yann Guichard

Yann Guichard came in to last season as a real dark horse. His talent in multihulls was unquestioned but his lack of experience in match racing made many people question his abilities. But after a strong result in the match racing for Team France in the Americas Cup World Series he was awarded a wild card entry to the first event in Fremantle. He did not disappoint his fans when the Spindrift Racing team reached the semifinals on their first try.

Jan 4, 2017 9:05:00 AM

WMRT Tour Card to Frenchman Yann Guichard

Yann Guichard came in to last season as a real dark horse. His talent in multihulls was unquestioned but his lack of experience in match racing made many people question his abilities. But after a strong result in the match racing for Team France in the Americas Cup World Series he was awarded a wild card entry to the first event in Fremantle. He did not disappoint his fans when the Spindrift Racing team reached the semifinals on their first try.

This was followed up by a place in the semis in Copenhagen and Newport and a heart stopping loss in the quarterfinals at the World Championship finals in Marstrand. No one should be surprised to see the skipper, who is flying the “Tricolore” flag of France, return with WMRT Tour card no. 5 for the 2017 season.


 
“We are still learning a lot about match racing and about the boat.” Yann Guichard comments from the Spindrift base in Saint-Philibert. This is the place from where the team is building their program for the WMRT 2017 season to try and improve on their fourth-place finish on the overall leaderboard from last season. Here they have a facility with gym, coaching rooms, dry base and a ramp down to great training conditions. After several great match racing teams on the World Match Racing Tour in past years, Spindrift Racing is the only French contender for the current season. Yann continues, “The team is training with our own M32 outside of our base and we have a program to improve our match racing as well as try and find more speed out of the boat. Maybe we will involve other teams as training partners to further increase the training. Our aim is to try and win. It will be though but I think we can do it.”

WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Yann Guichard
Nationality: French
Team name: Spindrift Racing
Year of birth: 1974
Result WMRT 2016: 4th place

Jul 10, 2016 12:34:09 PM

ROBERTSON IS CROWNED THE MILLION DOLLAR WORLD CHAMPION

Phil Robertson has been crowned World Match Racing Champion after beating Taylor Canfield in an epic, high-wind duel today in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour. 

Jul 10, 2016 12:34:09 PM

Robertson is crowned million dollar World Champion

Phil Robertson has been crowned World Match Racing Champion after beating Taylor Canfield in an epic, high-wind duel today in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour. 

The 29-year-old and his Robertson Racing crew also banked US $33,000 for winning in Marstrand, Sweden, plus a World Champion’s bonus of $1,000,000. It’s the largest prize money ever awarded in the sport of sailing, but Robertson’s whoops of joy and celebration were more about winning the title of Match Racing World Champion. “It’s a dream come true and the goal we’ve been striving for since 2009,” he told the crowd that he just done his best to drench with champagne. “ To do it here in Marstrand, I couldn’t think of a better place. Thank you all for watching, I hope it was entertaining because we sure had fun.”
 
There were so many twists and turns to the Final. Robertson was fast out of the blocks in the gusty wind which was bulleting through the fjord at up to 25 knots, with a nasty lumpy chop making it very difficult to maintain the speed on the light, 500kg M32 catamarans through the tacks. Canfield was handicapped by losing his tactician and mainsheet man, Chris Main, who took himself off the boat this morning due to a long-term shoulder injury flaring up. “It wouldn’t have been fair of me to go out there and hold the boys back,” said Main, close to tears at missing his shot at defending the title he won last year with Ian Williams.
 
With reigning World Champion Williams knocked out in the Quarter Finals, Canfield was able to bring in GAC Pindar crewman Garth Ellingham as Main’s stand-in. Able replacement though Ellingham was, getting the coordination and teamwork right on the M32 at this level requires split-second timing and telepathy between the crew, and US One looked vulnerable on the upwind manoeuvres.
 
However, Canfield seemed to have the measure of Robertson in the second match and they were neck and neck, on collision course at the top of the course with Canfield on the inside at the left turn mark. As Canfield tacked, Robertson tried to sneak inside him but misjudged the turn with disastrous consequences. Crash, crunch, and a hole in the US One float. "We're taking on water!" yelled Canfield, as the umpires slapped a penalty on Robertson. "Mayday! Mayday! We’re sinking!” Canfield and Robertson sure know how to ham it up and turn on the drama for the live TV coverage, but the drama had to go on pause while a spare boat was prepared for US One.
 
An extra penalty point against Robertson now put the scores to 1-0 in favour of Canfield. Match point to US One, and for a while it looked like the American team were going to take out the next match and win the title. But somehow Robertson found his way past Canfield at the top of the final upwind leg and charged down to the finish, punching the air in defiance. 1-1, and all down to the final match.
 
We had already seen a number of big nosedives and near capsizes, but even with so much at stake the teams were never going to hold back. Robertson observed to the cameras between races: “If you wanna win it, you’ve got to lick your stamp and SEND IT!”
 
Both teams threw everything at the final start and the first downwind charge to the bottom of the course. They were neck and neck going up the next upwind leg, as both crews wrestled their M32s through the tacks. Towards the top of the track for the last time the two boats converged on collision course and came to blows again, though this time only a glancing one. The umpires slapped a penalty on Canfield and Robertson seized the moment, racing away up the course and across the finish line to the roar of the crowd.
 
The Kiwis had done it. World Champions. Phil Robertson had become the first million dollar man in sailing, backed up by his athletic crew of fellow Kiwis: Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski. “We’ve been a super low-budget campaign,” said Robertson. “We’ve paid for everything ourselves this season. So we’re over the moon, just can’t believe it, we’re stoked.”
 
He paid tribute to Håkan Svensson, who took over ownership of the World Match Racing Tour last year, and whose company Aston Harald builds and promotes the M32 catamaran around the world. “The M32s are just so much fun. We’re having a blast. There have been a few sceptics about whether you can do match racing in multihulls. Well just take a look at that Final. I’ve never had so much fun match racing as in these cats.”
 
Canfield, even in his moment of defeat, was grinning from ear to ear. “It’s incredible what Håkan has created for us, we’re definitely back next year. Congratulations to Phil and his team in some of the most challenging conditions you could ask for.”
 
Earlier in the day, Robertson beat Matt Jerwood, Redline Racing from Australia 3-0 in their Semi Final match. Canfield had more of a fight with Chris Steele, 36 Below Racing from New Zealand, who pushed his training partner very hard, but US One scraped through to the Final 2-1. In the Petit Final to determine 3rd and 4th place overall, Jerwood beat Steele 2-0.
 
The spectacle of the Final drew some of the biggest Saturday crowds Match Cup Sweden has ever seen, with the cliff tops packed with over 30,000 spectators. Svensson was delighted with how his vision for a rejuvenated World Match Racing Tour had worked out. “We’ve had a great first season travelling the world, watching the M32s compete on the Tour for the first time. And today, the spectators, the sailors, the island of Marstrand, have done us proud,” he said. “We have been very lucky with great conditions this week, and the competitors delivered thrills, action and drama beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t wait to do it all again next season.”

Jul 9, 2016 4:57:03 PM

Phil Robertson wins the Match Racing World Championship 2016!

Phil Robertson racing won an incredible final against Taylor Canfield and his team US One. Congratulations to New Zealand! 

Jul 9, 2016 4:57:03 PM

Phil Robertson wins the Match Racing World Championship 2016!

Phil Robertson racing won an incredible final against Taylor Canfield and his team US One. Congratulations to New Zealand! 

Phil Robertson Racing

Skeppare: Phil Robertson 
Taktiker: William Tiller
Trimmare: Stewart Dodson
Fördäck: James Wierzbowski

Jul 8, 2016 2:17:57 PM

The ledgends of Hansen Hill

If you are at Marstrand you are probably wondering who the crazy Swedes are sitting on the hill on the opposite side of the Race Arena from the Match Cup Lounge. Let our Press Office volunteers tell you all about them. 

Jul 8, 2016 2:17:57 PM

The ledgends of Hansen Hill

If you are at Marstrand you are probably wondering who the crazy Swedes are sitting on the hill on the opposite side of the Race Arena from the Match Cup Lounge. Let our Press Office volunteers tell you all about them. 

After a long walk in strong wind a couple of our we, the Press Office volunteers, reached the top of what is locally known as “Hansen Hill”. We found five people sitting in the storm eating smoked mackerel, drinking beer and enjoying sailing. They call themselves the “fanatic fans of Hansen”.

They looked at us with surprise and said “there aren't many who take the time to climb up here and visit”.

Every year since 1995 these fans have been sitting on the same place supporting Björn Hansen. Usually they are a bigger crowd but after Hansen was knocked out, five of them decided not to climb to the top this day. Sadly, one of the fans sprained his knee when climbing down the other day, something they aren't that totally surprised about.

Those still standing are:
Sunkan Sundqvist – an old sailor and a true fan of Björn Hansen. He is also this year’s winner of "Gotland Runt".

Anders Rydén – a guest from Stockholm who has been visiting Marstrand evry year for 22 years running.
Mari Hansen – the wonderful fiancée of Björn Hansen from Åland.

Labbe – a true legend with family of 50 generations from Marstrand. His family has been working as commandants on the fortress for several years.

Malena Palm – A new supporter who is here for the second time. She is just hanging around and enjoying being a part of Hansen Hill. 

We asked them which sailor they are cheering for now and they all agreed that Ian Williams would have deserved to win after many years of good sailing and second places after Hansen.

If you get the opportunity to climb Hansen Hill and say hello to the fanatic fans, take it! You won't regret it!

// Helena and Norea, Press Office Volunteers. 

Jul 8, 2016 2:00:02 PM

Follow the quarter finals live from Marstrand!

Jul 8, 2016 2:00:02 PM

Follow the quarter finals live from Marstrand!

Follow the action from Marstrand via livestream!

 

Chris Steele and 36 Below Racing are through to the semifinals after an impressive match against Ian Williams – the reigning world champion has been knocked out.

Taylor Canfield and Us One beat Hans Wallén Racing in three straight mathces. Now we will find out which team will follow them to the semi finals. Follow the action from the last quarter finals and semi finals at Marstrand live from 2.00-5.00 pm!

Jul 8, 2016 8:47:46 AM

Sweden pins its hopes on Wallén the Warrior

Hans Wallén is looking to uphold the honour of the Swedes in Marstrand, venue for the climax of the World Match Racing Tour. The 55-year-old is the last of five Swedish skippers standing as the World Championship Finals enter the Quarter Final stage on Friday.

Jul 8, 2016 8:47:46 AM

Sweden pins its hopes on Wallén the Warrior

Hans Wallén is looking to uphold the honour of the Swedes in Marstrand, venue for the climax of the World Match Racing Tour. The 55-year-old is the last of five Swedish skippers standing as the World Championship Finals enter the Quarter Final stage on Friday.

Wallén, an Olympic silver medallist from Atlanta 1996, put in a superhuman effort to overcome Sam Gilmour’s early advantage in their Super 16 battle. Gilmour has been one of a number of young Australians that have really surprised some of the more experienced teams with their mastery of the M32 in the high-wind short-course racing on the Marstrand fjord this week. But the veteran Swede kept faith in his own abilities, and the commitment of his crew.
 
With Gilmour sailing fast and sitting on match point, Wallén would have to summon the energy, nerve and skill to win four straight matches, virtually unheard of at this level. “I was quite confident we could do it,” he said. “We had solid speed, solid manoeuvres, the spirit in the boat was really high.”

IT’S THE CAPSIZE THAT TURNED IT
 
The Swede was in little doubt about when the turning point in his fortunes occurred. “I think the race yesterday when they [Gilmour’s crew] flipped at the top mark. They were ahead, made a tack, we got around between them and the mark, they flipped and capsized. That was the moment where we turned the match around.”
 
Where one young Australian failed to advance, another lit up the race track to secure an unexpected place in the last eight. Matt Jerwood beat the Danish skipper Nicolai Sehested convincingly. “I don’t know if Nicolai was slightly off his game, because he’s a great match racer,” said Jerwood. “We stuck to our guns, worked to our plan and the starts just worked out for us. And with the 49er racing we’ve done in Fremantle out in the big waves, the M32 really isn’t that much of a handful, even in today’s strong breeze.”
 
While the first half of the Super 16 draw was full of surprises, the higher-seeded skippers in the second half of the draw progressed with little trouble. Johnie Berntsson ended up on the rocks after fluffing a tack in the prestart of match 2 and was pulled off by a safety boat. This mishap made Ian Williams’ job easier than expected, the reigning World Champion from Great Britain beating the Swede 3-0.
 
Young Sydney sailor Murray Jones pushed Taylor Canfield all the way round the track, showing a similar knack of taming the beast as his compatriot Jerwood. The difference came in the start, however, with Canfield always in control and managing to keep Jones at bay for a 3-0 victory. Yann Guichard dominated Switzerland’s Eric Monnin in their contest, the fast Frenchman also going through on 3-0.

SPANISH IN THE GROOVE
 
It was a tighter battle between Iker Martinez and Mattias Rahm, the Spanish Olympic Champion against the Swede with long experience of the M32. A few days of practice in Marstrand have worked wonders for the fast learning Martinez, however, and he beat Rahm 3-1. It was a brutal day’s sailing, and Rahm took a blow to the face during a gybe when he was hit by the taut mainsheet as the traveller car rocketed across the back of the boat. “It was a nasty smack in the face,” said Rahm. “We had almost 25 knots of wind at times, it was survival conditions, and you have to do everything you can to stay on board the boat. We won one race, but we didn’t have a chance in the other ones. Iker sailed better.”
 
With Wallén the only Swede still in the competition, the thousands of spectators who crowd the rocks and cliff-tops of Marstrand will be cheering him on tomorrow against Taylor Canfield, who is many people’s pick for taking the winner’s bonus cheque of $1 million two days from now. For all of US One’s reputation, Wallén was sounding bullish in front of the crowd at the evening press conference. “Taylor has a big advantage with his tactics, and in lighter winds. But we hope to bring a few tricks of our own. I think we’re going to win quite comfortably, 3-0.”
 
Canfield escalated the good-natured trash talking with his own comeback to his Quarter Final opponent. “The limping old man over there? I don’t think it’s going to happen. Definitely, the old boys are going to struggle. It’s day five in the event, they’re getting tired and the young guys on US One are just getting started.”
 
Live coverage of Friday’s Quarter Finals will be shown at  www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Swedish time.
Jul 7, 2016 8:20:47 AM

A Torrid Tale of Collision, Capsize, and the Charge of the Light Brigade

The Super 16 knock-out round of the World Championship Finals sizzled with excitement and controversy today, as the World Match Racing Tour heads for a climactic finale in Sweden.

Jul 7, 2016 8:20:47 AM

A Torrid Tale of Collision, Capsize, and the Charge of the Light Brigade

The Super 16 knock-out round of the World Championship Finals sizzled with excitement and controversy today, as the World Match Racing Tour heads for a climactic finale in Sweden.

Strong, northerly winds blowing across the island of Marstrand offered up a different race course and a different challenge from previous days. It brought out the best of some of the young Antipodean teams who have flown half way round the world for a shot at the $1 million bonus prize money for the winner of this event. The likes of Western Australia’s Sam Gilmour and Matt Jerwood might have thought their chances of the big prize were pretty slim, but on the evidence of today’s performances by the young sailors from Perth, they might just have a shot if the big breeze stays up.
 
Jerwood took his opening match against the highly rated Danish skipper, Nicolai Sehested, and then came within a hair’s breadth of taking a second win until a small tactical error at the final turning mark let Sehested off the hook. 1-1. Jerwood made amends with another win in the third match, taking it to match point. Once again in the fourth match Jerwood got the better of Sehested in the start and led to the bottom gate. But opting for the left-hand side of the first upwind leg put the Aussie at a disadvantage on port tack as they two boats converged at high speed on the first cross.
 
Too late, Jerwood realised he had nowhere to go as Sehested was on a collision course with right of way. The Dane bore away too late to avoid contact and bashed into the Aussie boat, ripping the carbon hiking rack clean away from the rest of the M32 catamaran. After a 30-second consultation between the umpires, Sehested was black flag disqualified for failing to avoid the collision and causing serious damage. The end of the race, and this evening both skippers went to the protest room to make their case, waited to hear their fate from the jury. For that reason, both Sehested and Jerwood were tight lipped about the detail of the incident. “Big crash, rack came off,” said Sehested. “It was a big hit,” agreed Jerwood, “and probably quite expensive.”
 
Yes indeed, both teams will be in sore need of getting further through the competition to cover their damage deposit before they can start counting what’s left for them to fly home with. The jury concluded that Jerwood be given 1 penalty point, and Sehested 2 points. This means the Australian still sits on match point tomorrow, while the Dane needs to win four straight matches in order to get to the Quarter Finals. A tough prospect for one of the favourites among the 20 international teams that have come to Marstrand.
 
Like his fellow Australian, Gilmour found himself in a commanding position over Hans Wallén and looked headed for the Quarter Finals until Gilmour and his crew fluffed their lines at the windward mark. Wallén had just snuck around the mark ahead of Gilmour who was slow out of a tack. “The wind came in strong, about 20 knots,” said the skipper. “We came round with not much speed at the top mark, we deployed the gennaker a bit early and the boat was straight over. There was no opportunity to bail out of it.”
 
Wallén may have wriggled free and won that match, but Gilmour is growing in confidence and still sits on match point. “We were leading every match and we just made some small errors; we are still at match point and the boys are sailing the boat really well. Every race we do, we feel like we’re faster.”
 
Another Swede that likes the high winds but failed to make much of an impact today against Phil Robertson was Nicklas Dackhammar. “Phil just had our number today,” said Dackhammar. “I did some bad starts and we got a penalty, we were against a great team and they really pushed hard today.”
 
As well as dominating the starts, Robertson was also very fast in the strong wind, partly because all four sailors on his team sit on the rack while every other skipper sits in on the hull. "Four on the rack,” said Robertson, “and we're off like a bridesmaid's nightie!" The wily Kiwi has spotted a loophole in the M32 class rule. “We were sailing the boat underweight at other events, so we dropped our crew weight to less than 300kg.” This is the magic number where lighter teams are permitted to have all the crew hiking on the outriggers, whereas most teams are operating at the crew maximum of 350kg, with the helm sitting inboard.
 
“We found people cleverer than us sailors, some proper mathematicians, to do the sums for us,” said Robertson. “They worked out that even with our lighter crew weight, we’d have more righting moment. About 10% more. And it felt pretty good today. We were fast against one of the fastest high-wind teams in the M32.” Some of the other crews are certainly grumbling about the legality of what Robertson has done, but no one has actually found the grounds to throw the book at him. With the breeze set to be strong on Thursday too, Robertson may prove a real handful, especially if he stays sharp in the pre-starts. Could this be the Charge of the Light Brigade?
 
In the other Super 16 match of the day, Chris Steele turned on the afterburners to beat Australia’s Steve Thomas 3-1.
 
The Sail-Offs took place earlier in the day, with Mattias Rahm dispatching the winner of the past four years in Marstrand, Bjorn Hansen, 2-0. All the other matches went 2-1, with Eric Monnin beating Evan Walker, Murray Jones beating Sally Barkow, and Johnie Berntsson beating Keith Swinton.
 
Thursday’s schedule sees the conclusion of the Super 16, with even stronger breeze on the Marstrand forecast.
 
Live coverage will be shown at  www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Swedish time.

Jul 6, 2016 2:43:10 PM

Star sailors of tomorrow compete in Jr Cup

Many of the best sailors in the world have gathered at Marstrand this week for the match racing World Championship Final. But on Friady spectators have a chance at seeing the Swedish sailing stars of the future when the final of Junior Cup is decided on the Race Arena. 

Jul 6, 2016 2:43:10 PM

Star sailors of tomorrow compete in Junior Cup

Many of the best sailors in the world have gathered at Marstrand this week for the match racing World Championship Final. But on Friady spectators have a chance at seeing the Swedish sailing stars of the future when the final of Junior Cup is decided on the Race Arena. 

Junior Cup is organized by the Swedish Sailing Federation and has been a part of Match Cup Sweden for many years. This year a record number of 126 sailors are competing during the three exciting and fun days of the regatta, which up until the final is raced on a course just next to the Race Arena.

The young sailors are between 9-20 years old and are competing in teams of three in sprint-races - intense and fast races with 6 boats at a time. Race manager Theres Wolgast’s ambition is to inspire more young people to continue sailing. “Junior Cup can be compared to the soccer tournament Gothia Cup in Gothenburg."

Elin Nordin, 16, Linnea Darin, 16, och Lovisa Darin, 14, from Kullavik have entered the event to build meet new friends and to have fun. Elin, when asked to describe the event with three words says it is “inspiring, developing and fun” and adds “I enjoy that they mix up the sailing with other fun activities on land.”

Don’t miss the final of Junior Cup on Friday at 1.00 pm on the Race Arena and the prize giving ceremony on the Main Stage. 

Jul 6, 2016 8:37:41 AM

WALLÉN DOUBLE-BULLETS INTO SUPER 16

Hans Wallén bounced back from a slow start in Marstrand to win his last two Qualifying heats and earn a place in the Super 16 of the World Championship Finals of the World Match Racing Tour.

Jul 6, 2016 8:37:41 AM

WALLÉN DOUBLE-BULLETS INTO SUPER 16

Hans Wallén bounced back from a slow start in Marstrand to win his last two Qualifying heats and earn a place in the Super 16 of the World Championship Finals of the World Match Racing Tour.

Today was the second and final day of the fleet racing phase of the competition, with 20 international teams divided into four groups of five. For the bottom two in each of those groups, they go into Wednesday’s Sail Offs to determine which four teams live to fight another day in the competition, and which four go home early.
 
The 55-year-old Wallén started the Tour season in startlingly good fashion, battling his way through to the final of the first event in Australia. But since then the Olympic silver medallist from Sweden has struggled, including the early stages of this week. “We were lacking confidence, we weren’t getting the right spirit in the boat,” said Wallén. “The first two races of today, our heads weren’t in the right place but then I said, ‘It’s time for us to behave like winners, for us to approach the start like we own it.’ So that’s what we did, and it worked.”
 
The Swede finished 2nd in his Group behind the imperious Taylor Canfield and US One who were making it look easy. The young Steve Thomas from Australia claimed the final guaranteed spot in the Super 16, relegating two more experienced Swedish skippers - Mattias Rahm and Björn Hansen - to the Sail Offs. Even if Hansen has won the previous four Match Cup Sweden regattas at this spectacular island venue, the ‘Master of Marstrand’ is not surprised to find himself at the bottom of the order this year. “We haven’t sailed the M32 that much, and we’re still struggling, still developing, and having extreme fun. We’re discussing each manoeuvre, trying new things, and we tacked differently in all four races. But we’re getting better; we averaged 5th yesterday, averaged 3rd today, so maybe tomorrow we will average 1st!”
 
Hansen will be battling with Rahm for survival in the competition. When Wallén was asked which of his two fellow Swedes would make it through, he said: “I’m definitely going to cheer for Björn, he’s my friend. Mattias gets so nervous - even though he has sailed the M32 five years. Bjorn has the guts, and he knows that Mattias gets nervous, so he needs to take advantage of that. Björn is the cool guy.”
 
Out of all four Qualifying Groups, Yann Guichard’s dominance of his fleet was the most impressive. The Frenchman won five out of the eight heats, finishing on 12 points to Phil Robertson’s 24 points, the New Zealander taking 2nd place, just a point ahead of Matt Jerwood from Perth. The young Australian was delighted to have made it through to the Super 16. “It’s our best performance of the season so far, and it was nice to win a race today,” he said.
 
Iker Martinez also won five heats in what was arguably the toughest Group of the draw. The 49er Olympic Champion and Volvo Ocean Race veteran relegated one of the hot favourites, Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested, to 2nd, with Nicklas Dackhammar of Sweden in 3rd.
 
Racing in the lighter winds of the afternoon, Ian Williams came through his Group in good shape, beating Chris Steele of New Zealand and Sam Gilmour of Australia. However, the GAC Pindar skipper had a wobbly last race - starting over the line early and picking up an umpire penalty. Watching from the shore, arch rival Taylor Canfield speculated that maybe the reigning World Champion was looking to ‘throw’ a race on purpose. “Maybe Ian’s thinking about who he wants to line up against in the Semi Finals,” said Canfield. But Williams, asked if that’s what he’d been up to, said he didn’t deserve that much credit for being clever enough to know the permutations and implications. “It might have looked like we were trying to lose,” he laughed, “but no, we were just making a bit of a mess of the start and picking up that penalty.”
 
Whoever Williams faces in the latter stages - assuming he makes it that far - is unlikely to be a pushover. The game moves on with every event and teams that were struggling to challenge the favourites at the start of the season are now posing a regular threat. With every day that passes, the chance of winning the $1 million prize bonus for the victor of Marstrand draws closer. The tension is building.
 
Wednesday’s schedule starts with the bottom eight teams competing in the Qualifying Sail Offs, to see if they can fight their way through to the Super 16 and the knock-out phase of the competition.
 
Live coverage will be shown at  www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Swedish time.

Jul 5, 2016 1:58:37 PM

Watch the deciding Fleet Races live!

Watch the deciding races of the qualifying fleet races here and click here for live Swedish commentary! 

Jul 5, 2016 1:58:37 PM

Watch the deciding Fleet Races live!

Watch the deciding races of the qualifying fleet races here and click here for live Swedish commentary! 

Jul 4, 2016 10:34:00 PM

Guichard comes from behind to win breezy first day in Marstrand

The World Championship Finals of the World Match Racing Tour opened in the best possible way today, with Marstrand delivering strong breeze and sunny skies for the 20 international teams competing in Sweden.

Jul 4, 2016 10:34:00 PM

Guichard comes from behind to win breezy first day in Marstrand

The World Championship Finals of the World Match Racing Tour opened in the best possible way today, with Marstrand delivering strong breeze and sunny skies for the 20 international teams competing in Sweden.

With so much at stake, with a $1 million bonus up for grabs for the winner, it was vital for the big players to get off to a good start in Qualifying, which consists of four Groups of five teams competing in a series of short, sharp fleet races. Off the start line and in the early stages of his four heats, Yann Guichard looked to be in trouble. But the Spindrift skipper stayed patient, relied on some sensational boatspeed as he has done all season, and battled his way through to the front, finishing the day with the best scoreline of 2,1,1,1.
 
The very last race of the day saw Guichard comfortably out in front towards the top of the last upwind leg when even the usually impeccable Frenchman fluffed his final tack towards the top gate mark. Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson pounced on the French error and surged into the lead on the final high-speed run towards the finish line. But Guichard was closing fast and Berntsson made a desperate bid to shut his rival out of the finish, forcing Guichard into the boundary ropes and just metres from Marstrand’s rocky shore. Berntsson looked set to take the win but the umpires decided otherwise, forcing Flux Team to take a penalty which relegated the Swedes from first to last. Ouch! Berntsson would have been sitting in 2nd overall in his Group, but now sits in 2nd last ahead of Keith Swinton, but behind Matt Jerwood and Phil Robertson in 2nd and 3rd.
 
Although Guichard is undoubtedly quick, he said it’s sometimes about knowing when to take your foot off the gas to grab a tactical advantage on the tight race course. “Sometimes you have to accept that you must slow down,” he said. “Our team work was really great, a very solid day for us.”
 
Berntsson was by no means the only one to fall foul of penalties, and nor was he the only Swede. In another very tight battle for the finish of a Group 1 heat, Mattias Rahm was duelling with Taylor Canfield. “We could have held Taylor on a bit longer and gybed later and we probably would have won,” said Rahm. “We were a bit too nice to him, and then Taylor was quite aggressive to us.” There was contact as US One luffed Rahm Racing and not only did Rahm take a penalty that relegated him to last place, he was given a further 2-point penalty for contact. “I think the penalty rule is a bit skewed,” said Rahm, and even Canfield agreed. “The way the rules are set up, the right of way boat is getting off the hook if there's a collision, and the boat in the wrong is getting a 2-point penalty,” said the US One skipper. “So there are situations where it could be better for you as right of way boat to hit a competitor.”
 
As the tension ratchets up towards the end of the week, Canfield - who leads Group 1 after today’s scores of 1,2,5,1 - predicts more shenanigans. “There's definitely not going to be fewer collisions as the week goes on. As we get into the match racing and the knock-out rounds, I think it's going to get more aggressive and you'll probably see more collisions.”
 
Even Ian Williams fell foul of the 2-point penalty today yet showed his class to be leading Group 2 with scores of 1,1,2(+2),2, for a total of 8 points. It has been a torrid time for Great Britain in the past week, with the country deeply divided by the Brexit vote to leave the EU, and blood on the floor of the Houses of Parliament with political suicides and assassinations. Yet the GAC Pindar skipper has risen above the problems back at home and was looking on the positive side of Brexit this week. “I think the pound to dollar exchange rate has changed a lot, so the $1m prize for the winner is worth more than it was,” he said brightly. “I voted Remain [in the EU], and I lost that one, but perhaps we can get some revenge this week.”
 
In Group 3, Nicolai Sehested sits tied on points with Iker Martinez for the lead. Like Guichard, the young Dane shows an incredible ability to bounce back from poor starts and bad situations. Martinez, the talented Olympic Champion and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, was pleased to have finally got some practice in the M32 before race day. “We came to Newport a few weeks ago and we were learning as we went along,” said the Spaniard. “Here in Marstrand the team has done a few days’ practice and now we are competitive, we feel good. But you look at all the top teams and they all have their own M32 for training. For us to take the next step for next season, that’s what we need to do.”
 
Tuesday’s forecast looks very similar to today’s, and no one will be complaining about that. Marstrand delivered great racing for the sailors and great spectating for the crowds, who across the week are expected to be well in excess of 100,000.
 
Live coverage will be shown at  www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Swedish time.

Jul 4, 2016 2:30:47 PM

Watch the racing live!

Jul 4, 2016 2:30:47 PM

Watch the racing live!

Jul 4, 2016 11:03:13 AM

Race Schedule for Monday and Tuesday

Check out the schedule for the Fleet Racing on Monday and Tuesday.

Jul 4, 2016 11:03:13 AM

Race Schedule for Monday and Tuesday

Check out the schedule for the Fleet Racing on Monday and Tuesday.

Jul 3, 2016 10:38:17 AM

LET’S FACE THE MUSIC, AND DANCE

With 20 teams about to compete at the World Match Racing Tour Finals, the sense of expectation is growing by the hour in Marstrand, Sweden. There’s a crackle of electricity in the air, a tension that you only get around a major sporting event. It’s not often that a sailing competition attracts a live audience of more than 125,000 spectators across the week, so that might have something to do with it. But it’s even less often that you get the chance to race for $1 million, and it will be fascinating to see who copes with that kind of unprecedented pressure.
 

Jul 3, 2016 10:38:17 AM

Let’s face the music, and dance

With 20 teams about to compete at the World Match Racing Tour Finals, the sense of expectation is growing by the hour in Marstrand, Sweden. There’s a crackle of electricity in the air, a tension that you only get around a major sporting event. It’s not often that a sailing competition attracts a live audience of more than 125,000 spectators across the week, so that might have something to do with it. But it’s even less often that you get the chance to race for $1 million, and it will be fascinating to see who copes with that kind of unprecedented pressure.
 

Predicting a winner at a match racing regatta is generally a fool’s game, but let’s have a go anyway! First, there are five Swedish skippers who go to Marstrand with the cheer of the crowd behind them and, in most cases, good knowledge of the waters. Nicklas Dackhammar’s experience of fleet racing the M32 makes him fast, particularly in the strong winds, but his lack of match racing could tell against him in the latter stages. Johnie Berntsson’s long match racing history is great for close battles, and he’s proving a fast learner in the M32 having only started sailing the catamaran a couple of months ago. But he still has some way to go on the cat racing learning curve.
 
Bjorn Hansen is similar to Berntsson, with a lack of M32 experience, but with the kudos of having won the past four events in Marstrand in the DS37 keelboats. No one rises to the challenge of Marstrand quite like Hansen although racing high-speed multihulls in the rocky confines of the island’s southern inlet changes the game significantly. For this reason Mattias Rahm is the Swede with perhaps the highest chance of success in Marstrand, having won the event once but also with an extensive M32 racing pedigree. Last but not least of the Swedish contingent is the 55-year-old Hans Wallén who reached the final of the windy event in Fremantle at the beginning of the year. He too has done a lot of racing in the M32s, and his Olympic silver medal from 1996 suggests Wallén has the mental strength for the big occasion. “When I was younger I was nervous before the start, I’d get the butterflies,” says Wallén. “I’ve noticed that lately I've not been so nervous and that has worried me that maybe I need the nerves to make sure I'm focused and concentrating. Maybe if I reach the final in Marstrand I'll get the butterflies back.”
 
Like Hansen and Berntsson, the challenge for other match race specialists has been how quickly they can adapt their sailing skills from the slower pace of the heavy keelboats to the faster pace of the lightweight M32. Australia’s Keith Swinton and Switzerland’s Eric Monnin have both struggled to make their mark on the new-look Tour. Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested, on the other hand, has adapted quickly to the faster pace of competition and on his day is capable of beating anyone. The same can be said of Phil Robertson, the mercurial Kiwi who reached the final of Newport, Rhode Island, a month ago before falling to Taylor Canfield.
 
Match racing skills are not the only prerequisites for success on the Tour these days, however. There have been a couple of skippers with no prior match racing experience that have managed to climb far through the knock-out stages with raw speed and a surplus of talent. Yann Guichard is the only skipper to have reached the Semi Finals of all three M32 events on the Tour so far this season. The Frenchman draws on all his long and extensive experience racing multihulls at the highest level, from the Olympics to the America’s Cup World Series to racing non-stop around the world.
 
With a broad CV to rival Guichard’s, Iker Martinez has skippered teams three times in the Volvo Ocean Race, he’s campaigned Nacra 17 catamarans for the Olympics, and he’s won gold and silver medals at the Olympics in the 49er. The fact that the Spaniard reached the Final of Copenhagen in his first ever Tour event speaks volumes for the talent and self-belief of Martinez. Their lack of match racing experience on the Tour is a chink in their armour, but it would be foolish to discount Guichard or Martinez as possible winners in Marstrand.
 
Ian Williams has always prided himself on an ability to adapt himself to the demands of any keelboat on the World Match Racing Tour. Even in the new era, the six-time World Champion has also proven very adaptable to the M32, dominating the first ever M32 in Fremantle where he lost only one match in the whole regatta. The Briton hasn’t been quite as dominant since then, looking vulnerable in the lighter conditions, although his dogged determination and will to win is second to none. While Williams starts as one of the favourites, he’s playing down expectations, trying not to think about the money. “I think when you are one of 20 teams, it is not that high odds on winning it, so you don’t think about the money too much. I guess that might change if and when you get closer to the Final. I suspect it will start to affect some people and inevitably the pressure will build.”


 
Aside from Hansen and Rahm, Williams is the only other skipper of this year’s line-up to have won in Marstrand. Even so, if you were forced to pick a stand-out favourite, Taylor Canfield is it. The US Virgin Islander didn’t excel in Fremantle, finishing just 7th, although he bounced back by winning the next three Tour events in Long Beach, Copenhagen and Newport, Rhode Island. That bare statistic suggests Canfield should be the runaway favourite in Marstrand, but some of those victories haven’t come easy and even the cocksure Canfield won’t be taking it for granted. With so much at stake, winning in Sweden is going to require a dose of luck, and nerves of steel. Time to face the music.
 
The World Match Racing Tour Finals start in Marstrand, Sweden, this Monday, 4 July. For more info, please visit: wmrt.com!

Jun 30, 2016 9:27:24 AM

WHO WILL MASTER THE MYSTERY OF MARSTRAND?

Marstrand has never been an easy place to master. Ever since 1994 when Swedish match racing legend Magnus Holmberg organized the first high-profile racing there, this small island has played host to some of the greatest match racers in the world. It will do so again just a few days from now, when Marstrand stages the World Match Racing Tour Finals.

Jun 30, 2016 9:27:24 AM

Who will master the mystery of Marstrand?

Marstrand has never been an easy place to master. Ever since 1994 when Swedish match racing legend Magnus Holmberg organized the first high-profile racing there, this small island has played host to some of the greatest match racers in the world. It will do so again just a few days from now, when Marstrand stages the World Match Racing Tour Finals.

The build-up to the WMRT Finals has always been intense, but never more so than this year. That’s because 20 international teams are getting ready for a battle that, for the victor, will unlock a prize purse of $1 million. It’s the biggest payout that the sport of sailing has ever seen.
 
The prospect of winning so much cash can mess with even the coolest customer’s mind, and even without that glittering, tantalizing prize, Marstrand has always been a pressure cooker environment. With more than 125,000 spectators lining the shore, how could it not? The Swedish sunseekers sunbathe on the rocky shores that line the race course, but they’re not just there for fun. They know their racing too, and they know when they’re watching a world class contest.
 
Not that the spectators will have seen anything quite like this before. Because this is the first year that the competition switches from the old DS37 keelboats to the high-octane M32 catamarans. Hitting speeds of up to 30 knots within the narrow, unyielding confines of the Marstrand Fjord, the sailors have only the smallest margin of error before they’re in danger of slamming their carbon-fibre vessel into the rocks.
 
The Fjord is an interesting piece of water from a meteorological point of view too. The big Atlantic weather systems that roll in from the west tend to go either north or south of Marstrand, with the larger islands in the archipelago drawing the rain away from the local area. Marstrand itself tends to be a sun trap, which is another reason why all those spectators love the place so much.
 
Aside from the on-the-water demands and vagaries of the race course, one of the big challenges for international visitors to Marstrand is how to get a good night’s sleep. Summer time is party time on the island, and the temptation to stay out late is great. And because it never really gets that dark at this time of year, actually getting to sleep can be a problem in itself. Perhaps the legendary Australian, Peter Gilmour, had the right answer. He made friends with a local family with a house on the other side of Marstrand Harbour and took a small boat backwards and forwards each day, so as to get away from the pressure cooker atmosphere in the race village. It seemed to work pretty well for Gilmour. He won the event eight times, and he did win at his first attempt.
 
Of this year’s 20 entries, only three skippers have won here before – Williams of Great Britain and two home-grown talents, Mattias Rahm and Bjorn Hansen. Based on past form, Hansen clearly gets Marstrand like few others, having won the event on five occasions, including for the past four years straight. On that basis, you’d have to say Hansen would be the favourite, except that 2016 is a gamechanger with the introduction of the M32 catamaran and a new style of match racing. The Swede’s limited experience in the M32 makes it less likely that he’ll be able to follow the past four years with yet another victory. But then again this is Marstrand, a magical place with a hint of mystery, and anything could happen in a week’s time. Expect the unexpected.

Jun 28, 2016 12:05:18 PM

Turkish Airlines presents new “Sailors Lounge” at Marstrand

Turkish Airlines have had a successful partnership with Match Cup Sweden since 2013. Now they will increase their support for the World Match Racing Tour event at Marstrand with a brand new “Sailors Lounge” where the elite competitors in the regatta can relax between races. 

Jun 28, 2016 12:05:18 PM

Turkish Airlines presents new “Sailors Lounge” at Marstrand

Turkish Airlines have had a successful partnership with Match Cup Sweden since 2013. Now they will increase their support for the World Match Racing Tour event at Marstrand with a brand new “Sailors Lounge” where the elite competitors in the regatta can relax between races. 

Turkish Airlines started working with Match Cup Sweden in 2013 with the goal set at increasing the awareness of the brand in Sweden. It will now maintain its support for Sweden’s biggest annual sailing event, in the framework of the signature of  a new three-year partnership deal.

“Turkish Airlines is very pleased with the outcome of the event for the past few years where we got a good exposure. Today we’re proud to be named a market leader from Gothenburg and Stockholm to many worldwide destinations via Istanbul”, says Ömer Faruk Sonmez, General Manager of Turkish Airlines Sweden.”

Turkish Airlines is well known for a high level of service and a perfect example of this is its CIP Lounge at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul which was named the “World's Best Business Class Airport Lounge” in survey made by Skytrax in 2015.

“Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul has become a special place that many travellers desire to spend their time in. And being inspired from this matchless environment, this year we will build a Turkish Airlines Sailors Lounge at Marstrand, by wishing for its special guests to experience a memorable time in this exclusive area.” says Ömer Faruk Sonmez.

Sailor’s Lounge is an area in the Race Village at Marstrand where the elite match racing teams competing in the World Match Racing Tour regatta can relax when they are not racing on the water.

“The event at Marstrand is a perfect venue for Turkish Airlines to get exposure for its brand as we have over 100 000 visitors every year. This summer the racing will be more exciting than ever as we are introducing top modern M32 Catamarans in the event. This will make the sailing a lot more physical for the competitors so I’m sure they will enjoy the Turkish Airlines Sailor’s Lounge”, says Erica Berghagen, Project Manager of Stena Match Cup Sweden at Brandspot.

Carrying 61.2 million passengers in 2015, with a significant increase on its Business Class passengers, Turkish Airlines continues its expansion by reinforcing its position and energy with significant growth figures. Match Cup Sweden started at Marstrand in 1994 and this year the event is the World Championship Final and the final stage of the World Match Racing Tour. The event takes place July 4th – 9th

About Turkish Airlines:

Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is a 4-star airline today with a fleet of 317 passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to 289 destinations worldwide with 240 international and 49 domestic. According to Skytrax survey of 2015, Turkish Airlines was chosen "Europe's Best Airline" for the fifth and "Best Airline in Southern Europe" for the seventh consecutive time. Having won in 2010 the world's "Best Economy Catering Service", in 2013 the world’s "Best Business Catering Service", and in 2014 "Best Business Catering Service" awards, Turkish Airlines was  awarded in 2015  the world's “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” and "Best Business Airline Lounge"  prizes in the Skytrax survey. More information about Turkish Airlines can be found on www.turkishairlines.com.

 

Jun 7, 2016 6:28:03 AM

US One Captures Championship in Newport

After an all but washed out penultimate day of the World Match Racing Tour Newport, Newport laid it on today with Taylor Canfield and his US One team claiming the Championship. 

Jun 7, 2016 6:28:03 AM

US One Captures Championship in Newport

After an all but washed out penultimate day of the World Match Racing Tour Newport, Newport laid it on today with Taylor Canfield and his US One team claiming the Championship. 

The organisers were able to run the complete schedule of semi-finals and finals. Throughout this the competing teams fought tooth and nail on their nimble hull-flying M32 catamarans, bringing gasps ranging from excitement and euphoria to shock from the crowds assembled round the Fort Adams race course. If there were still any doubts about the new look World Match Racing Tour - the change to catamarans and new courses, etc – today they were fully allayed.  

“It has been brilliant,” said Håkan Svensson, owner of the World Match Racing Tour. “We have had all of the conditions: It has been foggy, windy, there’s been no wind, there’s been lead changes, obstacles in the course and some of the teams haven’t found their way around the course. There has been everything: A fantastic and enjoyable week.”
Worthy winner US Virgin Island skipper Taylor Canfield and his US One Team comprising Chris Main, Hayden Goodrick and Ricky McGarvie, overcame New Zealand’s Phil Robertson’s WAKA Racing 3-1, but not without drama by the cart-load. Having now won two M32 events in succession on the World Match Racing Tour as well as dominating the M32 Scandinavian Series last season, Canfield’s team surely now represents the benchmark among M32 campaigns.

Canfield attempted to explain their success: “We have put the time in, we’ve been pushing hard and making sure that we are learning throughout all of this, including all the qualifying events, to make sure that we continually grow as a team, which is important to us.” 

In today’s final Robertson claimed the first match, but Canfield then won the next three to clinch first prize. While Canfield ultimately prevailed, there were many many occasions when it could have gone the opposite way. 

In the final, deciding fourth race, Canfield had aggressively and repeatedly luffed Robertson out of the start. Finally, as both boats ran back downwind, attention focussed on Canfield as, incredibly, for a second time in the finals, he hooked a mooring buoy located in the middle of the course. What many failed to notice was that while this was happening Robertson had passed the wrong side of the first reaching mark of the course. The Kiwi skipper led around the course oblivious to this until being informed while rounding the final mark… 

“We obviously missed the first mark so technically we never sailed the first lap, so they were still waiting for us to do that... which was a little bit interesting.” Robertson explained later once he’d come to terms with it. “In the heat of the moment people were making mistakes like that and the courses are a bit new and different to everyone. But that was a big, costly mistake…”

 

An equal eye-opener was the second race. This Canfield somehow managed to win, despite picking up two penalties and there being two collisions along the way. 

Earlier both semi-finals matches had been decided 2-1 with Canfield overcoming Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar team and Robertson beating France’s Yann Guichard and his Spindrift racing crew. Williams subsequently came out on top in the best of one Petit Final, to secure third place overall. 

Håkan Svensson told the assembled crowd at the prize giving ceremony: “It is great to bring the World Match Racing Tour to Newport. It is one of my most favourite places on the planet. It has been a long time, since I came here for the first time in 2010 with Puma. To see everyone who is so interested in sailing to come out and ask questions is such fun. Thank you so much.” 

The first, second and third placed finishers today walked away for the World Match Racing Tour Newport with prize money of US$ 33,000, US$ 23,000 and US$ 18,000 respectively. 

All eyes are now on the final event of the season, the World Match Racing Tour Finals in Marstrand, the picturesque island on Sweden’s west coast over July 4th-9th. This event features the distinct incentive of a winner-takes-all first prize of a cool US$ 1 million as well as the Match Racing World Championship title.  

“There will be more on for the finals in Marstrand,” warns favourite Taylor Canfield. “Everyone is going to want it that much more when that much money comes into play and that is going to change people. But if we can stay just as neutral as we can and do what we’ve done for the last couple of events, then we’ll have got a good shot at it.” 
 

The first, second and third placed finishers today walked away for the World Match Racing Tour Newport with prize money of US$ 33,000, US$ 23,000 and US$ 18,000 respectively. 

All eyes are now on the final event of the season, the World Match Racing Tour Finals in Marstrand, the picturesque island on Sweden’s west coast over July 4th-9th. This event features the distinct incentive of a winner-takes-all first prize of a cool US$ 1 million as well as the Match Racing World Championship title.  

“There will be more on for the finals in Marstrand,” warns favourite Taylor Canfield. “Everyone is going to want it that much more when that much money comes into play and that is going to change people. But if we can stay just as neutral as we can and do what we’ve done for the last couple of events, then we’ll have got a good shot at it.” 

Jun 3, 2016 9:53:06 AM

16 Down to 8

10-15 knot winds off Fort Adams enabled the race organizers to pile in a full day of competition at the World Match Racing Tour Newport, to conclude the Super 16 Knockout round. The gusty conditions on Newport Harbour once again made for nail-biting racing with much hull flying and lead changes.

Jun 3, 2016 9:53:06 AM

16 Down to 8

10-15 knot winds off Fort Adams enabled the race organizers to pile in a full day of competition at the World Match Racing Tour Newport, to conclude the Super 16 Knockout round. The gusty conditions on Newport Harbour once again made for nail-biting racing with much hull flying and lead changes.

The busy Super 16s comprised eight first-to-three points matches, the seeding determined by the first two days of Qualifying with the result that a further eight skippers are today heading home.

A few of these series went 3-0: Dackhammar and his ESSIQ Racing Team winning the Swedish derby against Johnie Berntson’s FLUX Team; Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar taking out Matt Jerwood; Nicolai Sehested’s Trefor Match Racing beating Eric Monnin; Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing coming out on top against Swedish Olympic silver medallist Hans Wallén; and Swede Stefan Rahm conquering Sally Barlow’s Team Magenta 32. But these definitive scorelines mostly didn’t reflect the closeness of the racing and the numerous spectacular moments that stirred the crowds gathered along the shoreline of Newport’s historic Fort Adams.

Johnie Berntsson looked to be in a commanding position to claw back a point in his third match against Nicklas Dackhammer having won the start and then led around the course. Coming into the last mark Berntsson appeared to have his young rival put away…until disaster struck.

“We’d pushed him out to the boundary and were inside and had room at the mark, when the traveller got stuck,” admitted Berntsson. With FLUX team unable to come down, Dackhammer sneaked inside, claimed his third win and so a berth in tomorrow’s Quarter Finals. Berntsson said that a lot of races hadn’t gone their way, which he attributed to a lack of practice in the M32 catamaran. “We were trying to watch what Nicolai’s team was doing to copy them. We fell down on our own skills, which we need to improve.”

Dane Nicolai Sehested and his Trefor Match Racing crew was dominating their series against Eric Monnin; however, a superb final hull-flying run by the Swiss team made it seem certain they would recover a point. As Monnin recounted: “We did a very nice gybe set at the top mark and got the puff and we were very fast and strong. I knew we were coming back into the mark with the right of way, so we rounded ahead of him, but we got a penalty for going outside the boundary - which I don’t remember.”

Otherwise Monnin said he was pleased with how they had sailed in Newport. “It was our best Super 16 in terms of the quality of what we did, but there were too many problems.”

Spindrift racing skipper Yann Guichard was pleased to have turned the Quarter Final result from Fremantle around on his Super 16 adversary today, Hans Wallén. “Our team work and team spirit today were really good because Hans Wallén is a really aggressive competitor.” Guichard said that since Copenhagen they have been working on their starting in the M32, which paid off today, along with excellent crew work. “I am very happy today to get three in a row.”

 

Team Magenta 32’s U.S. helmswoman, Sally Barkow, seemed personally deflated after her matches against Sweden’s Stefan Rahm: “I think the boat was going well and we were sailing okay in the boat, but I was making some bad decisions. You could tell we were doing well, because we were gaining, but around the course, we were being too risky.

“The first race we were behind and we gained, but not enough to pass. In the second race we were ahead and there was an OCS which didn’t get reconciled, but then I gave it away on the dial-down, just by not being clear on what we are trying to achieve. The third one we gave away on the pre-start, when we didn’t get our heads out of the boat and see the big shift.”

A seasoned match racer, Barkow is enjoying match racing the M32, although Team Magenta 32 remains on a steep learning curve: “There is a heck of a lot to learn. It has been interesting to watch the different techniques and timings which are working. No one is really regimented about it yet. I think we are right in the game, but we just need to put it together a bit cleaner.”

Some matches went to the wire including the U.S. derby where Taylor Canfield and his US One Team eventually overcame Californian sailor Michael Menninger and his 13 FIFTY crew. The ‘Aussie-Kiwi’ dust-up that concluded the day between David Gilmour and Phil Robertson saw some of the most aggressive and high speed racing. But after Gilmour won the opening match, Robertson claimed the next three.

Tomorrow the World Match Racing Tour Newport progresses to Quarter Finals with a live broadcast once again starting at 2pm local time (1800 UTC), viewable on wmrt.com

Jun 1, 2016 10:33:18 AM

Newport Turns It On

After yesterday’s torrential rain and pea soup fog that restricted visibility on the race course, today Mother Nature smiled upon Newport, Rhode Island. The early morning mist burned off, finally revealing Goat Island and downtown Newport (invisible all of yesterday) and the sun came out allowing a gusty sea breeze to build into the high teens.

Jun 1, 2016 10:33:18 AM

Newport Turns It On

After yesterday’s torrential rain and pea soup fog that restricted visibility on the race course, today Mother Nature smiled upon Newport, Rhode Island. The early morning mist burned off, finally revealing Goat Island and downtown Newport (invisible all of yesterday) and the sun came out allowing a gusty sea breeze to build into the high teens.

Day two of the World Match Racing Tour Newport saw a continuation of the Qualifying fleet racing rounds, used to determine the seeding going into the Super 16 knock out match racing rounds. With the M32 teams divided into four groups of five for the Qualifying fleet racing, the aim for crews today was to get into the top three in their group, guaranteeing a Super 16 berth. The bottom two in each group will get to match race in the ‘Sail Offs’ first thing tomorrow morning, the winner of which will get one of the final Super 16 spots.

First on today were the continued races for Group 2. This developed into a heavyweight bout between young Scandinavians, Dane Nicolai Sehested and his Trefor Match Racing crew and Swede Nicklas Dackhammar and his ESSIQ Racing Team. A late charge from Sehested, posting a 2-1-1-2 today, caused him to end the day tied for the top with his Swedish opponent, to win on countback.

Sehested commented: “We are pretty happy winning the group, but, as we proved in Copenhagen (when we also won the group), anything can happen when it comes to the knock-out stages. We are happy and we sailed well, but we are just going to keep our heads down. It’s a good start, but means nothing yet.”

Compared to yesterday’s racing, today competition followed more conventional lines, such as actually being to see the weather mark and the course boundaries… “Today it was a bit more about doing your job right rather than waiting to get lucky. Yesterday was more about gambling, and we got lucky, but we prefer fair conditions.”

Group 4 saw New Zealander Phil Robertson and his WAKA Racing team displacing Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing crew from the top spot. However grabbing the headlines in the latter races was Spanish double Olympic gold medallist and round the world sailor Iker Martinez. In the penultimate race he was awarded an impressive three penalties, while in the final race he managed to capsize his M32 catamaran.

“It was the first day of my sailing the M32 in these conditions - I have to learn about how to sail them. To start with, we couldn’t tack…,” explained Martinez whose only other visit to Newport was as skipper of MAPFRE in last year’s Volvo Ocean Race. “Plus the boundaries were very close to the marks and where I was steering from, it was difficult for me to see the marks…”

Finishing uncharacteristically at the bottom of his group, Martinez gets to compete in the Sail-Offs tomorrow against young Australian David Gilmour. Martinez is anticipating that he and his crew will perform in less wind, as they did in Copenhagen and will prefer the match racing format with less boats on the course. 

The stand-out performer of Qualifying was Chris Steele whose average score of 1.71 will make him top seed in tomorrow’s Super 16 Knockout round. But again it was not the winner in this group that stole the limelight. Former World Match Racing Tour champion and WMRT Copenhagen winner, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield, claimed today’s first two races, but in the third and final race was black flagged when he failed to keep clear of Australia Keith Swinton’s Team Accure which was unable to avoid a capsize. However finishing third was enough to get Canfield a Super 16 berth.

Six-time match racing world champion, GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams had a ‘black and white’ Qualifying, scoring a mix of 1s and 5s, but enough for him to come out on top in Group 3. Nipping at Williams’ heels was the all-American crew of Californian Michael Menninger, previously part of American Youth Sailing Force which competed in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco three years ago. Menninger finished second in the group, just four points adrift of Williams, despite trawling the weather mark in the penultimate race.

“We are happy as a group to get into the next round,” said Menninger.  “We still have some work to do as a team. I have some experience sailing the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup so I’m used to fleet racing starts in catamarans, but it was a team effort.”

Tomorrow conditions are set to be rain-free and will be fractionally lighter. The regatta enters its match racing phase starting with the Sail-Offs before launching into the Super 16s.

May 31, 2016 11:34:34 AM

Newport Fog Creates Testing Opener

In yacht racing, sailors are often at the mercy of the wind and occasionally too much of it or too little. However on the opening day of the World Match Racing Tour’s Newport stage, crews faced a fog so thick that at times it was hard to see the bows of their M32 catamarans, let alone marks of the course. 

May 31, 2016 11:34:34 AM

Newport Fog Creates Testing Opener

In yacht racing, sailors are often at the mercy of the wind and occasionally too much of it or too little. However on the opening day of the World Match Racing Tour’s Newport stage, crews faced a fog so thick that at times it was hard to see the bows of their M32 catamarans, let alone marks of the course. 

As the banks of fog rolled through Newport Harbour and the wind fluctuating from six to 16 knots, the race officials on the course off Fort Adams, had to shoehorn in racing as and when they could.

As usual with the modern-day WMRT race format, the first two days of this event are Qualifying fleet races to determine day three’s ‘Super 16’. Five high performance M32 catamarans are being used, so the 20-strong line-up has been divided into four groups and through patience the race committee was able complete all but two races of today’s full schedule. 

Stand-out performers of the day were New Zealand’s Chris Steele and his 36 Below Racing crew in Group1, Sally Barkow’s Team Magenta 32 in Group 2 and the Yann Guichard-skippered Spindrift racing crew from France in Group 4, none of whom finished a race lower than second. 

This was particularly good for M32 newcomer New Zealand’s Chris Steele: “I am really happy with the way the guys are sailing with the boat. It was pretty tricky out there and we didn’t come close to flipping it over. We just kept it clean.”

Steele attributed their result today to having come into this regatta fresh from last week’s qualification event. “That was massive in our preparation for this event. While we aren’t anywhere near some of the other top teams, coming off three days of racing is what helped this morning,” concluded Steele. 

While fog is normally associated with light or no wind, in New England you can get fog AND wind. 
Executive Director of Sail Newport, Brad Read explained today’s pea soup conditions: “Generally this is the worst time of the year for fog because the ocean is so cold. But today’s fog was also caused by all the moisture from the tropical system that went into the Carolinas and is why it is so humid at the moment.” 

The lack of visibility created some unique problems on the race course. “Today you couldn’t even see the reach mark,” said Swede Stefan Rahm, who’s boat capsized during the third race of Group 1. “You can get a bit disorientated when you don’t see the marks, but it is not a big problem. The worst part was that you couldn’t see the boundaries. It was really hard to see where you had to tack.” 

During the first group’s racing, the M32s were sailing under full mainsails in wind gusting to 16 knots. In this even the normally immaculate Taylor Canfield and his US One team got caught out and flipped their M32. 

Coming out on top in Group 3 was GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams, but he ended the day only a point ahead of American Michael Menninger’s 13Fifty Racing after taking not one, but two, course marks for a trawl during his group’s final race. 

Proving that the World Match Racing Tour Newport could be the occasion that the girl-power of Team Magenta prevails, American skipper Sally Barkow is ahead in Group 2. “We are just trying to keep improving and these conditions are favourable for us.” 

Barkow is perhaps more used to racing in Newport and New England than many other crews here and noted that it was difficult to sail their M32 as they would normally, with the water and gust patterns obscured in the fog. “It is tricky because we normally change modes on the boat with every knot change of pressure.” 

Sadly while on the water almost a full day of racing was completed, the Memorial Day holiday in Newport suffered both from occasional rain as well as the fog. However according to Brad Read, conditions are set to perk up tomorrow. “This morning the forecasters were saying that it is going to be sunny for the next three or four days.” 
 

May 30, 2016 3:01:00 PM

Marstrands Havshotell new caterer to Match Cup Sweden

Marstrands Havshotell will be taking the catering at Marstrand to a new level as the official caterer of Sweden’s biggest sailing event – a new food concept for visitors and a Champagne bar on the roof of Södra Strandverket. 

May 30, 2016 3:01:00 PM

Marstrands Havshotell new caterer to Match Cup Sweden

Marstrands Havshotell will be taking the catering at Marstrand to a new level as the official caterer of Sweden’s biggest sailing event – a new food concept for visitors and a Champagne bar on the roof of Södra Strandverket. 

“We get to be a part of creating one of the best sailing events in the world together with the whole island. It highlights Marstrand and advertises the venue when it is at it’s best”, says Daniel Svensson, CEO of Marstrands Havshotell.

The hotel has been working with the event for several years but now they are taking over the responsibility for the catering to the event under the brand “Ottos på ön” (Otto’s on the Island), hinting at the hotel’s own fish and crayfish restaurant Ottos Kök (Ottos Kitchen). This includes serving meals at all the official events of Match Cup Sweden and a Champagne bar on the roof of Södra Strandverket. Also, the very popular “After Sail” bar at Södra Strandverket will be back again this summer and manged by Marstrands Havshotell with live entertainment and DJ:s in the evenings. 

“This feels like a natural step for us in working with Match Cup Sweden. We have developed a new food concept for visitors to the event so that they can get great food when they are watching the sailing out on the cliffs by the arena”, says Svensson.

“We are very happy to be working with Marstrands Havshotell. With experience from their high level of service we are positive that they will help make Match Cup Sweden 2016 a big success”, says Erica Berghagen at Brandspot AB who organize the event together with The Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club. 

Read more about Marstrands Havshotell here! 

May 23, 2016 1:58:04 PM

US favourite to claim World Match Racing Tour Newport

At least three teams will be flying the Stars and Stripes next week at the World Match Racing Tour Newport, off the US yachting capital’s historic Fort Adams and more could join them following the final qualifier event taking place over 26-28 May.

May 23, 2016 1:58:04 PM

US favourite to claim World Match Racing Tour Newport

At least three teams will be flying the Stars and Stripes next week at the World Match Racing Tour Newport, off the US yachting capital’s historic Fort Adams and more could join them following the final qualifier event taking place over 26-28 May.

A former Olympic Yngling and Match Racing World Champion, Sally Barkow will be stealing the headlines in Newport as skipper of what is at present the sole all-female crew. And she’s likely to do well: At the last World Match Racing Tour event two weeks ago in Copenhagen, she finished sixth of 20 teams, claiming major scalps along the way.
 
But favourite for the Newport title is Taylor Canfield and his US One team. The US Virgin Islands skipper dominated the 2015 M32 Scandinavian Series. He goes into Newport having won the last tour event in Copenhagen a fortnight ago. In fact, so far Canfield’s only small hiccup in the one design M32 catamaran occurred at the first WMRT event of 2016 in Fremantle, Western Australia when he finished seventh.
 
“We actually sailed quite well in Fremantle,” Canfield maintains. “Out of the 20 teams we had the lowest score in the fleet racing, but then I made a couple of bad starts in the match racing… that happens.”
 
This season there are two World Match Racing Tour events in the US. In April Canfield won the Congressional Cup in Long Beach, for a record third consecutive year. He would like to have both 2016 US WMRT trophies on his mantlepiece.
 
Canfield is also looking forward to showcasing the WMRT in the US with its new format: Aboard ultra-high performance M32 catamarans, on flexible windward-leeward courses with reaching starts and finishes, and the first cull of teams coming after two days of fleet racing.
 
“It's great to have two WMRT events in the US this year. Finally, all of our fans and supporters will be able to experience our racing first hand. In Newport we will have the people behind us and many family and friends will be there to witness the spectacle of the World Match Racing Tour. This new WMRT format is fast and high adrenaline - the M32s racing off Fort Adams will be a spectacle people shouldn’t miss!” 
 
While Canfield starts the World Match Racing Tour Newport with everything to lose, Chris Poole and his Riptide Racing Team have everything to gain. They are perhaps closest to being a ‘local’ team: All but one are New Englanders - they come from every state, apart from Rhode Island.
 
While Canfield started young and now, aged 27, is top dog in the M32 cat world, Poole, just two years younger, is a few rungs down the ladder. He only raced an M32 for the first time this spring, when he got use of Charlie Enright’s boat in Bermuda. Yet after just four days of training, they were okay come race day, says Poole: “We were up and down - we had one race win and some deep finishes, but we worked out our strengths and on day two we played to those: We started well and were very consistent.”
 
Ultimately Canfield won on 15 points with GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams a point behind and Poole on 17. “After five days of catamaran sailing in my entire life – that was pretty amazing,” Poole observes.  
 
So how competitive will Poole be in Newport? “I’ve got the same guys with me that I’ve had at all the M32 events - so that’s going for us. We might surprise a few people. The downside is that we haven’t had as much time in the M32 in these events as everyone else.”
 
Like Canfield, Poole says the Newport event will be a ‘must-see’. “I think it is going to be one of the best events we’ve seen on the Tour. Fort Adams has so much shore line - it is the perfect stadium for the M32s. Plus it’ll be flat water, without the waves of Fremantle and conditions should be good with a nice sea breeze.”
 
An additional eight teams will fight for the remaining three of the 20 berths available at the WMRT Newport this week. Among them are four more US teams. Mark Mendelblatt is the most accomplished having represented the US at the Olympic Games in both the Laser and the Star and been afterguard in the America’s Cup and on numerous big boat campaigns.

Further local match racing talent comes in the form of William Gammell, while also entering the fray are two of the original Rhode Island M32 owners and their teams: Malcolm Gefter and Michael Dominguez whose respective Lift Off and Bronco crews have the advantage of having had the longest tenure in the M32 class.
 
Organised in association with Sail Newport, the World Match Racing Tour Newport runs from Memorial Day, May 30th, until June 4th out of Fort Adams State Park. The race course is located off downtown Newport, between Fort Adams and Goat Island.
 
For spectators there will be free admission to watch the racing. Ashore there will be family-friendly entertainment including food and beverages, live music and a beer garden. For more info: wmrt.com

May 19, 2016 5:20:47 PM

Barkow looks forward to big home support in Newport, R.I.

After wowing the spectators in Copenhagen last week, Sally Barkow and her all-female team on Team Magenta 32 are looking forward to a big reception on home waters for the World Match Racing Tour Newport.

May 19, 2016 5:20:47 PM

Barkow looks forward to big home support in Newport, R.I.

After wowing the spectators in Copenhagen last week, Sally Barkow and her all-female team on Team Magenta 32 are looking forward to a big reception on home waters for the World Match Racing Tour Newport.

Newport, Rhode Island, boasts a long history of match racing like no other venue in the world, so it’s fitting that 20 of the highest-calibre skippers are flying in from every corner of the globe to compete in this six-day battle for match racing supremacy in the USA’s most celebrated sailing city.
 
Newport may only have a population of 25,000, but this place is sailing crazy and the international crews can expect a big reception when they start racing on Monday 30 May. Local fans will perhaps save their biggest cheers for current Tour leaders Taylor Canfield and his crew on US One, victors of the last two events in Copenhagen and California. Or maybe for Chris Poole from Falmouth, Maine, who  with his Riptide Racing crew is competing in the Qualifier event and is building up to racing in his first ever Tour event. Or, to judge by the whoops of the spectators in Copenhagen, it could be that Wisconsin’s Sally Barkow and her girls on Team Magenta 32 draw the biggest applause.
 
Barkow came within a hair’s breadth of beating Canfield in their Quarter Final match in Copenhagen, and the former Olympian and Volvo Ocean Race veteran says the support of the Danish crowd really gave her a shot in the arm. She’s looking forward to even bigger support on home waters. “I’ve raced in Newport a few times and it’s a really great community that absolutely loves sailing,” she said. “Last year we were there for the Volvo Ocean Race and had a lot of support from everybody there. When we came off the water in Copenhagen it was really cool to get that support and it's something I haven't felt before.
 
“Even coming off the Volvo or the Olympics, it's a very different vibe on the Tour. It feels like you're part of a real sport, and I think there is a change in the atmosphere about how people are viewing sailing. We had so much [spectator] support for the Volvo, but this action on the M32 race course is so much more intense that people emotionally attach with it and when you come ashore they really can't help but share their emotions with you. I can't wait to feel that in Newport.”
 
This is the first year that the World Match Racing Tour is being staged in high-speed M32 catamarans, which have revolutionised the game dramatically. It’s a bold new format, with reaching starts demanding split-second timing and course boundaries that have changed the rules and priorities of boat-on-boat tactics and race strategy.
 
The World Match Racing Tour is hosting the event in partnership with Sail Newport, the city’s leading public sailing facility established more than 30 years ago and which has been instrumental in maintaining Newport’s international profile in the sailing world. Sail Newport’s director Brad Read predicts a big week for the Tour and a great show for fans and spectators. 

"Fort Adams State Park is a stunning venue offering a natural amphitheater for on-the-water stadium racing,” said Read. “World Match Racing Tour Newport will offer great spectator entertainment. Admission is free, there’s free parking, food, family activities and live play-by-play and commentary. And Sail Newport is running Try Sailing! opportunities all week for anyone that wants to experience sailing and see the WMRT action from the water. We’ve made sure that, whoever you are and however much or little you know about sailing, you’re going to have a great time when you come to World Match Racing Tour Newport.”

 

Barkow is looking forward to competing on the close-to-shore race course, which will be set between Fort Adams and Goat Island. “It’s going to be a really good race track off Fort Adams, hopefully tricky, a bit unpredictable with a variety of conditions to really test us and the other teams.”

Racing begins on Monday 30 May, with the live-televised Final set to take place from 2pm on Saturday 4 June.

May 16, 2016 2:04:49 PM

Canfield cashes in on Martinez mistake to conquer Copenhagen

Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One, has won World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen after beating Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espana, in the most extraordinary circumstances. After taking straightforward wins in the first two matches of the final, in the third match Canfield found himself in a much tougher battle with the 2008 49er Olympic Champion who was improving by the race.

May 16, 2016 2:04:49 PM

Canfield cashes in on Martinez mistake to conquer Copenhagen

Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One, has won World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen after beating Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espana, in the most extraordinary circumstances. After taking straightforward wins in the first two matches of the final, in the third match Canfield found himself in a much tougher battle with the 2008 49er Olympic Champion who was improving by the race.

The early lead went to Canfield who always looked stronger at the start, but Martinez found a way past at the top of the beat. With the gusty wind pulsing hard, both boats nosedived badly on the downwind leg, and they regrouped in time to discover they were rapidly converging - collision course - on the same leeward gate mark. Martinez never gave Canfield mark room, forcing US One to ride over the top of the buoy and hooking it up underneath the trampoline.
 
Martinez, charging his way up the course, was given a penalty by the umpires and the match effectively restarted from scratch. However it wasn’t long before the Spaniard had sailed clear of Canfield again and looked set to win the match and take the score to 1-2. Just a 100 metre dash to the finish line to keep Spanish hopes and dreams alive, but no! The Team Espana crew unfurled the gennaker in the mistaken belief that they had another lap to complete. Canfield, some way behind, steered US One across the line unchallenged and undefeated, 3-0 in the Final. Victory in Copenhagen, and $33,000 richer.
 
“Oh my god, a bit of a relief seeing Iker deploy the gennaker,” said Canfield immediately after the race, scarcely able to believe his luck and feeling a bit sorry for his rival. “Tough to keep track of all the laps. We didn’t sail the race we’d have liked to, but we’ll take the win for sure. Spirits on US One were high, very intense, we were still pushing hard to get back into the race, but he made the last mistake, and we’re OK with that.”
 
Martinez can’t have been happy with his lap-counting error but by the time Team Espana returned to shore they were all smiles. Asked exactly what happened in that last race he joked: “I don't remember anything! But I was telling my team, ‘Look, if we focus and we win, we will never come back - ever - because then they might beat us the next time! So I think [today’s outcome], that’s the best that could happen to us. We are more than proud to be here, in second place.” And so they should, having never raced an M32 together before and Martinez with no prior match racing experience. Canfield exposed Martinez’s matchracing naivety a number of times, but the double Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper showed an incredible ability to learn and was never expected to progress so far through the competition on his Tour début.
 
Earlier in the day Martinez had seen off the last remaining Scandinavian in the competition, Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Dackhammar Racing, in a tense Semi Final. On the other side of the draw Canfield came out on top of Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift racing. In the one-race Petite Finale the Swedes beat the French to take the bottom step of the podium. After only just scraping through the early rounds of the fleet race qualifying, third place was an impressive result for Dackhammar who looked stronger and stronger throughout the six days. “We're super happy, 3rd is a great result for us,” said the young Swede who has the taste for even greater success in the next two months. “We'll take one place more in Newport and one place more in Marstrand. I think we have a lot of things to work on, but we have sailed really well here and we just need to work on a few things.”
 
This week has produced some stunning racing, with many high points, not least Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32, coming so close to eliminating US One in their nailbiting Quarter Final match. But Canfield rode his luck to come through all the way to victory. After finishing 7th in Fremantle two months ago, the US Virgin Islander’s campaign is well and truly back on track. US One take home a winner’s cheque for $33,000 from a total prize purse of $200,000. But there’s scant time for celebration as World Match Racing Tour Newport is just a couple of weeks away, and that’s one that US One will surely want to win on home waters. However, there will be 19 other international teams doing their very best to make sure that doesn’t happen. The focus of $1m prize money for the winner of the final in Marstrand this July is really beginning to focus the sailors’ minds, and ramp up the intensity as the Tour approaches its climax.


May 12, 2016 1:01:00 AM

Berntsson gets upper hand over Barkow in ding-dong battle

Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32, was pulled up yesterday for swearing live on camera at the World Match Racing Tour in Copenhagen, so she has resorted to an angry growl as her family-friendly alternative to letting off steam.

May 12, 2016 1:01:00 AM

Berntsson gets upper hand over Barkow in ding-dong battle

Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32, was pulled up yesterday for swearing live on camera at the World Match Racing Tour in Copenhagen, so she has resorted to an angry growl as her family-friendly alternative to letting off steam.

There was plenty of growling from the Team Magenta 32 skipper this afternoon, but plenty of grinning too in her ding-dong match against Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team. As the previous M32 Tour event in Fremantle proved a few weeks ago, the lead changes in a catamaran match race can be far in excess of what we saw on the old format Tour in monohull keelboats.
 
All three of the Barkow v Berntsson matches were humdingers, the result never certain until the end. But with three matches down, the Swede sits on match point for tomorrow’s conclusion of their Super 16 match-up. Barkow’s head was spinning from all the frenetic action on board. A lot easier, she said, to call tactics when you’re watching from shore than it is from your own boat in the thick of battle. “We gave it away a lot, Johnie gave it away a lot,” she said. “It felt crazy, at times we were inches from crossing, there were… I don’t know how many lead changes. I think tomorrow we need to try and calm it down.”
 
Today was Berntsson’s first experience of match racing in the M32 yet he took to it like a duck to water. He’s not short of years on the Tour, but it was impressive how quickly he is putting the game together in this new format. “I’m learning as we go round the course, just listening to what my crew tell me to do. They’re my coaches and I just need to keep on doing what I’m told.”
 
There were twists and turns in the duel between Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar and Evan Walker (AUS), KA Match/ CYCA, particularly in the second match. The reigning World Champion was all over the young Aussie in the pre-start, shutting him out of the start line and surging to a massive, impenetrable lead. Or so it seemed, because the breeze - although averaging 12 knots - was fickle and shifty and Williams seemed to fall out of phase towards the final top mark. Walker closed the gap and found himself within striking distance down the final run when he managed to roll GAC Pindar for the most unlikely of comeback victories. That said, Williams still sits on match point with a 2-1 lead this evening.
 
Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One, leads Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing, 2-0, and it’s 2-0 so far for Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift racing, versus Michael Hestbaek (DEN), Team Hydra. But the Olympic Dane is dangerous and remains optimistic that he can overturn the Frenchman’s advantage. In his earlier battle with Hans Wallén (SWE), Wallén Racing, he dispatched the Fremantle finalist 2-0, so Hestbaek shows that he fears no one despite his lack of M32 match racing experience.
 
Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking made an appearance at the event today, catching up with his former Volvo rival Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espana, who was one of those that didn’t race today. The Spaniard’s turn will come tomorrow when he goes up against the young Kiwi Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing. The 49er Olympic Champion is sailing with a very experienced crew that includes his former Luna Rossa America’s Cup team mate Pierluigi de Felice, Volvo Race veteran Pablo Arrarte and up and coming 49er talent Diego Botin. “The Tour is a great place to be, the boats are super exciting and these events have the right profile for our sponsors. Now we just have to learn the art of match racing, because there is not much history of match racing in Spain.” With multiple matches per day, Martinez couldn’t have found a better place to learn his trade.

Thursday sees the conclusion of the Super 16 to determine which of the original 20 teams makes it through to the Quarter Finals in sunny Copenhagen. Live coverage will be shown at www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Danish time.

May 11, 2016 9:45:35 AM

Maybe Old Dogs can learn New Cat tricks after all

For all their many years of experience on the World Match Racing Tour, Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team, and Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Nautiska Racing were not expected to make it very far this week in Copenhagen.

May 11, 2016 9:45:35 AM

Maybe Old Dogs can learn New Cat tricks after all

For all their many years of experience on the World Match Racing Tour, Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team, and Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Nautiska Racing were not expected to make it very far this week in Copenhagen.


 
But the wily old Swedes defied the odds to make it through to the Super 16 without having to submit themselves to the pressure of the Sail-Offs. Out of the four Qualifying Groups, Group 4 was the most competitive. Even Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar struggled yesterday but today the six-time World Champion hit his stride to break clear. For the other four skippers trailing in Williams’ wake, it all came down to who beat who in the last of their seven heats.
 
Berntsson burst off the line to take the lead just when he needed it, his first race win propelling him to 2nd in his group just a point ahead of Hansen, whose 3rd place took him safely through to the Super 16 Knockout a point in front of Michael Hestbaek (DEN), Team Hydra. The Dane’s flashes of brilliance yesterday earned him two race wins, but he couldn’t repeat that kind of form today.
 
Much more surprising though was to see Hans Wallén (SWE), Wallén Racing, struggle, the Fremantle finalist not enjoying the softer breezes seen in Copenhagen so far. “These light winds are good for the new teams,” said the Olympic silver medallist. “There are not many multihull skills required in these conditions, so the learning curve is easier for them. It would be nice to have the stronger winds [like Fremantle] but I don’t think we’ll get them this week,” he shrugged philosophically.
 
While Wallén’s expectations are high, Hansen says he is just enjoying the ride, his first competitive outing on the M32 catamaran. “I think our experience counts for something although we have lost a large part of the tactics from the old style of match racing. This new kind of sailing needs a lot of strategy and fast decision making, which hopefully is something we already have from the match racing world.”
 
Berntsson puts his early success down to “a good team spirit” and an eagerness to soak up as many lessons as possible. “Any mistakes we make, we don’t get upset, we just store them in the knowledge bank as we try to learn how to sail these boats. We have zero multihull racing experience but one of the crucial things that helped us get into the boat so fast is that we’re used to learning new techniques and new boats from our years on the Tour. Even though the catamaran is different we understand the process of how to set up a boat for maximum speed.”
 
Other easy winners of their qualifying groups were Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One, and Mattias Rahm (SWE), Rahm Racing. It was a close battle for top honours between young gun Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Trefor Matchracing, and round-the-world veteran Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing, but in the final race the fearless Dane got the better of his French rival and topped the group by a point.
 
After a slow start on day one, Sally Barkow (USA) and the all-girl crew on Team Magenta 32 started firing on all cylinders. They saved the very best for the last race of the day, pulling an aggressive luff on Taylor Canfield at the start, sticking a penalty on US One as they cruised away to an easy victory, their first of the World Match Racing Tour.
 
While Barkow enjoyed last year’s Volvo Ocean Race, she’s loving the short-course high-adrenalin competition on this year’s Tour. “You get on the race course and it’s just about ripping around the track. At any moment one of the girls will shout out about just how much fun they’re having. The Volvo was great but that long distance racing can get monotonous after a while. This is putting the fire back in us. This is a Tour that we’ve been trying to get on to for a really long time,” she added. “We’re older than we look. We figured this would be a good time to be in the learning game, to get into the M32s while everyone’s learning too.”
 
For Barkow and the others in the Super 16, tomorrow will be mostly a rest day, or a time to plan their strategy for the up-coming match racing. For all his match racing experience, Hansen professes to have little idea of what to expect. “We don’t have a clue what will come in the next few days, we’ve never done it before. But we hope our match race experience will help us somehow or another. I’m just jealous about all these young guys coming into this game from fast cats and 49ers. I wish I was 30 years younger. This is so fun to do, we’ve got a big smile on our faces, and we’re enjoying every moment.”
 
Wednesday is Sponsor Day, an opportunity to entertain corporate guests and VIPs, and then it’s time for the bottom eight teams to enter the Qualifying Sail-Offs, to see if they can fight their way through to the Super 16, the beginning of the knock-out phase of the competition.

Live coverage will be shown at www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Danish time. 

May 9, 2016 5:44:00 PM

Sehested and Canfield set early pace in Copenhagen

Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Trefor Matchracing, and Taylor Canfield (USVI), US One, have set the early pace at the World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen, both skippers winning three of their four fleet race qualifying heats today.

May 9, 2016 5:44:00 PM

Sehested and Canfield set early pace in Copenhagen

Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Trefor Matchracing, and Taylor Canfield (USVI), US One, have set the early pace at the World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen, both skippers winning three of their four fleet race qualifying heats today.

Some of the newcomers to the Tour have also showed flashes of brilliance in today’s light conditions, three-time Danish Olympian Michael Hestbaek (DEN), Team Hydra, winning two of his heats against an experienced group that included reigning Tour World Champion Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar. The 49er Olympic gold medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espana, won one of his heats easily, although finished 4th in the next. Consistency is very difficult in these short-course races lasting little more than 10 minutes, and that’s the difference between the talented Tour rookies and the more seasoned M32 sailors like Canfield.
 
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky all day in sunny Copenhagen, the most beautiful conditions you could wish for. Except that the wind took a while to materialise this morning, making the early session for the first group a challenge of sniffing out the strongest of what few gusts could be found on the race course close to shore. Canfield was slow out of the blocks. “We were coming in a bit late and were telling the Magenta girls to get moving,” said the US One skipper. “We were both late accelerating and we got left behind.” But Canfield waited his turn and managed to grind his way back to 3rd, almost to 2nd by the finish. There were no further mistakes by the US Virgin Islander after that early error, as he won his next three heats.
 
Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32, was delighted to have trimmer Annie Lush back on board after the British sailor had been out of action for four months from a dislocated elbow, a rare and painful injury that in Lush’s case was the result of landing badly on the M32 trampoline while training in Lanzarote at the beginning of the year. “We have been sailing with a substitute for a few months,” said Barkow, “but the timing’s better on board when we’ve got all girls sailing. The boys like to do it faster, with grunt, but we find we can get the same thing done with better timing.”
 
Team Magenta 32 is the only all-female crew of the 20 international teams gathered in Copenhagen, and lies in 3rd equal with Steven Thomas (AUS), Royal Perth Yacht Club, after today’s racing. The aim of the first two days of fleet race qualifying is to finish in the top three of your five-boat group to ensure a smooth path towards the knock-out match racing stages.
 
It has been a mixed bag of fortunes for the Swedish crews here. Mattias Rahm (SWE), Rahm Racing, leads his group with solid scores of 1,2,2 ahead of Iker Martinez. But the last group of the day, Group 4, produced the closest competition. Ian Williams won the last heat to just about top the group by a single point from Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team, good work by the Swede who has just bought his own M32. But the runner-up in Fremantle just two months ago - Hans Wallén (SWE), Wallén Racing, - lies in 4th with Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Nautiska Racing, in 5th place. Not a great start for the experienced match racer although the points remain very close in this group and tomorrow offers plenty of opportunity for redemption.
 
For first-timers like Michael Hestbaek, for all his experience in Olympic and America’s Cup competition, today’s racing was a big eye-opener. “It was intense, I mean, really intense,” said the Dane. “You’re waiting to go racing, then you get on the boat and literally a minute later, you’re in the starting sequence! There’s no time to think, the blood starts pumping and you are in this intense experience where you barely have to think. In fact I could barely speak, my mouth was so dry from, I don’t know what, adrenalin maybe? I was making calls to the crew but I could barely get my words out.” With finishes of 1,5,1,4, Hestbaek has seen both ends of the fleet. “I can tell you that wasn’t my plan, but it was very clear why we won when we won, and why we lost when we lost. It is very exciting racing, the M32 is so responsive on the tiller, and I can’t wait to get back into it tomorrow.”
 
Tuesday concludes the fleet racing phase, and is a crucial day for the lower-placed teams to fight their way up the rankings and do their best to avoid the Play-Offs.

Live coverage will be shown at www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Danish time

Apr 25, 2016 4:09:42 PM

New Page

The bitter rivalry between Ian Williams and Taylor Canfield has been the defining story of the World Match Racing Tour in recent years. Even with the switch from keelboats to M32 catamarans, the rivalry looks as strong and closely matched as ever.

Apr 25, 2016 4:09:42 PM

Copenhagen set for another Canfield v Williams clash

The bitter rivalry between Ian Williams and Taylor Canfield has been the defining story of the World Match Racing Tour in recent years. Even with the switch from keelboats to M32 catamarans, the rivalry looks as strong and closely matched as ever.

The next event of the ‘short season’ of 2016 is the World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen, taking place from 9 to 14 May, and the action is set to take place in Tuborg Havn, just a stone’s throw from the centre of Denmark’s stunning capital city.


Taylor Canfield


It has been a fascinating start to the season, with the professional crews scrabbling to learn the new skills required to get the high-speed 500kg M32 around the track as quickly as possible. The reaching start requires time-on-distance skills to be sharper than ever.

Taylor Canfield and US One were widely reckoned to be the favourites for the first 2016 event in Fremantle, having put in a lot of training and competition time on the M32 circuits in Scandinavia and the USA. The US Virgin Islander started out well, emerging from the fleet racing rounds as top qualifier of the 20 teams, but ultimately only finishing 7th overall after falling to Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested in their Quarter Final. 

Williams had been the dominant force in the keelboats, taking a record six world titles including the 2015 championship. Recent months have seen him training hard with his new crew of multihull veterans, but even he was somewhat surprised at just how well things went in Fremantle. After losing his opening match to young Aussie Sam Gilmour, Williams stepped up a gear and didn’t drop a match from then onwards, dispatching the Olympic medallist from Sweden, Hans Wallén, 3-0 in the final.

 
Ian Williams 

The next event was a return to more familiar territory for Williams, and most of the teams for that matter. With the Congressional Cup taking place in Catalina 37 keelboats, this should have been right up the reigning World Champion’s street. Instead, inexplicably, he took a turn down a wrong alley, his keelboat skills refusing to fire on all cylinders as Williams crashed out of the competition in the first round. That hasn’t happened in a long while.

Looking back at the first two events, Williams commented: "It's certainly been a season of extremes so far. We worked hard to get ready for Fremantle, but I don't think many people put us down as favourites for winning there, including ourselves. I'm really pleased we managed to get our act together so quickly as a new team."

Asked what went wrong at the Congressional Cup however, Williams said: "There was always likely to be a consequence to putting so much focus on the M32, but for the overall goals of the season it makes sense to concentrate our effort and attention on the new platform. I'm looking forward to showing what GAC Pindar can do in Copenhagen."

Where Williams faltered in California, Canfield was in his element as he steered US One to their third consecutive victory at the Congressional Cup, the first time anyone has scored a hat trick in the 57-year history of this prestigious match racing classic. "Winning the Congressional Cup was a big morale boost for US One," said Canfield. "It was good to come back from that after a disappointing event in Fremantle. We know we're better than that, and we've been working hard to make sure we come back really strong for Copenhagen."

Of course, by no means is this just the Canfield and Williams show. For starters, there are a few Scandinavian crews that will have something to say about that, especially the Danes such as Sehested who was looking fast and dangerous in Fremantle. If he can just curb his wilder instincts, the young Dane could well put a good series together, maybe win. Just across the water from Copenhagen is Sweden, from where some other hot teams will be arriving, not least Fremantle finallist Wallén and another consistent M32 performer, Swedish ex-Olympian and America’s Cup veteran, Mattias Rahm.

In Australia we saw some young twenty-somethings from the local area qualify for the Tour regatta and scare some of the seasoned internationals with some barnstorming performances. The same could happen for whichever teams make it through the qualifying regatta for Copenhagen, which takes place 2-4 May. 

Apr 11, 2016 6:30:00 AM

Record Three-Time Win for Canfield

Taylor Canfield and his US One Sailing Team triumphed in the Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), after five days of “unbelievable match racing” – making him the first skipper to win three Crimson Blazers back-to-back, in the 52-year history of the legendary regatta.

Apr 11, 2016 6:30:00 AM

Record Three-Time Win for Canfield

Taylor Canfield and his US One Sailing Team triumphed in the Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), after five days of “unbelievable match racing” – making him the first skipper to win three Crimson Blazers back-to-back, in the 52-year history of the legendary regatta.

The five-day World Championship event had been beleaguered with unseasonable weather: light and shifty breezes, rain, and calms. That PRO Randy Smith and WMRT Racing Director Craig Mitchell were able to pull off the series, was a near miracle. The repechage was terminated; series were shortened to first-to-two.

But the racers were unflappable, and ever favourable about their participation in the Congressional Cup; known as the ‘granddaddy of match racing’ and a gateway to the America’s Cup.

And finally today, Long Beach delivered. The steady breeze and sunshine this world-class venue is known for arrived, just in time for the Semi Finals and Finals Sunday. 

Canfield beat Semi Finalist Scott Dickson (USA) in three successive matches, racing so close to the spectator-lined pier, that Dickson’s spinnaker grazed it; earning him a penalty he couldn’t shake. At the same time Sehested was duelling Sam Gilmour (AUS) in a breathtaking Semi Final series that went to the full five matches. 

The legs were short, to ensure completion of the series; providing few passing lanes, but plenty of excitement. The Congressional Cup had entered a new era of competition, with exhausting, aggressive pre-starts crammed with headsail changes, luffing and tacking duels galore. 

Gilmour defeated Dickson, to take third place in the event. “This is probably the best regatta I’ve been to in the world,” Gilmour said, speaking of both the level of competition and hospitality.

In the first of the Finals, Canfield defeated Sehested handily, with a thirty second lead. It looked like the two-time defending champion had the title sewn up. But in the second match, Sehested retaliated, crossing the finish line three seconds ahead of Canfield. And as he rallied strong in the final sudden-death bout, it appeared that Canfield had met his match. Sehested led his rival by mere seconds around the course, then Canfield hit the leeward gate, and was flagged.

“I was definitely a little worried at that point. I made a simple mistake, a stupid error,” Canfield confessed. “But the boys were calm.”

Pressing up the course, he continued, “We had nothing to lose, so we parked it up at the top mark.” They luffed Sehested. “The execution was spot on, and Nicolai made a small mistake,” Canfield said, a penalty that scrubbed Canfield’s. 

“At this level. you make an error and your competition takes full advantage of it.” Back in control, Canfield kept Sehested pinned, saying, “I was very confident on that last run, that we were set up to hold them out at the pin end.” US One Sailing Team shut the door on Sehested, took the match, and the Congressional Cup.

Canfield was greeted at the Long Beach Yacht Club by his dad, Bill, and girlfriend Stephanie Roble, 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Wearing an ISV flag like a cape, he looked a bit like a super hero: a super hero drenched in champagne.

He was pleased, he said, not only with this three-peat, but also for logging the seventh Congressional Cup win for St. Thomas Yacht Club. Member Peter Holmberg is a four-time Crimson Blazer winner, in 1998, 1998, 2001, 2002. “We’re closing in on Peter’s record, Canfield added, with a smile. “We’ve got a couple more in us, we’ll be back.”

Carried to the poolside stage by his crew, to don his third Crimson Blazer and hoist the Congressional Cup trophy, he commended his crew. “We lost four races all week … to be at this level, racing against the top teams in the world: that’s the world champion team I have behind me.”

 

“We had one hand on the trophy,” said a disappointed Sehested. “It’s the closest match racing I’ve done in a long time.”

“But we’ve had a fantastic week, It’s our first Congressional Cup, but definitely not our last. We feel so welcome here.”

He echoed the sentiment of many of the sailors, who had experienced the unrivalled hospitality and pleasure of the annual Long Beach Yacht Club event.

“Every year we come back because of you, great Long Beach people,” said fifth place Phil Robertson (NZL). “We had a ripper.”

The World Match Racing Tour now moves on to Copenhagen, Denmark 9-14 May where the battle will restart for the 2016 World title.



Results after Qualifying

1. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 10-1
2. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 8-3
3. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 8-3
4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 8-3
5. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 7-4
6. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing 6-5
7. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team 4-7
8. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing 4-7
9. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 4-7
10. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 3-8
11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 2-9
12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 2-9

Quarter Finals Results

Match 1 Sam Gilmour (AUS) 3 v 2 Phil Robertson (NZL)
Match 2 Scott Dickson (USA) 3 v 2 Chris Steele (NZL)
Match 3 Eric Monnin (SUI) 0 v 3 Taylor Canfield (ISV)
Match 4 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) 0 v 3 Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

Semi Final Results

Match 1 Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 3 v 2 Sam Gilmour (AUS)
Match 2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) 3 v 0 Scott Dickson (USA)

Petit Final Result

Sam Gilmour (AUS) 2 v 0 Scott Dickson (USA)

Final Result

Taylor Canfield (ISV) 2 v 1 Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

Overall Results

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
2. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing
3. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing
4. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing
5. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
6. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing
7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing
8. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team
9. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team
10. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32
12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar

Apr 7, 2016 7:12:23 AM

The Fur Flies at the Congressional Cup

On the opening day of the 52nd Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour, one-dozen of the world’s top ranked skippers scrapped on the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. And nothing was predictable about today. Not the wind direction, nor velocity, nor the outcomes.

Apr 7, 2016 7:12:23 AM

The Fur Flies at the Congressional Cup

On the opening day of the 52nd Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour, one-dozen of the world’s top ranked skippers scrapped on the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. And nothing was predictable about today. Not the wind direction, nor velocity, nor the outcomes.

Johnie Berntsson, primed after three days of racing at the Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche, chased Keith Swinton’s tail in a masterful pre-start tacking duel that had spectators on their toes, in awe. Berntsson won that dog-eat-dog match, finishing the day 3-2.

Reining World Champion Ian Williams’ bark was seemingly worse than his bite, as he wrapped up 0-5; while Nicolai Sehested, racing in his first Congressional Cup, was the alpha dog of the day: undefeated at 5-0. Waka Racing’s Phil Robertson was nipping at his ankles, at 4-1, despite ‘shooting the dog’ (shooting a vile alcoholic beverage garnished with a Vienna sausage, at “Dogs” bar in Long Beach). Chris Steele finished 4-1 also.

The day began with 6 to 8 knots from the southwest providing classic Long Beach conditions. Four flights of Qualifying were pulled off smartly, until a sudden wind shift that put racers practically on the beach. After a lengthy postponement the wind shifted right again, and built: to a stunning 20 plus knots that spread white caps across the bay, and threw green water over the bows of the Catalina 37s.

Despite the ‘ruff’ conditions, Sally Barkow and her all-girl crew accomplished their first and only win of the day, against Ian Williams – proving they have no problem playing with the big dogs.

Congressional Cup, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, continues through Sunday April 10. The top four after Qualifying will advance to Quarter Finals, while competitors ranked five to 12 will sail repechage from which the first four will advance.

Racing takes place daily beginning at approximately 1130 directly off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can watch world class yacht racing for free. Live commentary explains the ins and outs of match racing and tactics, while viewers also enjoy music and entertainment, refreshments, shaded bleachers, and an enthusiastic crowd of fellow boaters.

Results after Qualifying Day 1

1. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 5-0
2. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 4-1
3. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 4-1
4. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 3-2
5. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team 3-2
6. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 3-2
7. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 3-2
8. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing 2-3
9. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 1-4
10. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing 1-4
11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 1-4
12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 0-5
 

Mar 7, 2016 12:40:38 PM

Williams the conqueror

Reigning World Champion Ian Williams swept aside Hans Wallén 3-0 to win the final of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, the opening event of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season. 

Mar 7, 2016 12:40:38 PM

Williams the conqueror

Reigning World Champion Ian Williams swept aside Hans Wallén 3-0 to win the final of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, the opening event of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season. 

Even though the GAC Pindar skipper has won a record six world titles on the Tour in the days of slow keelboats, the level of his domination in high-speed M32 catamarans took even the British skipper by surprise.
 
Williams was keen to put the praise on his three hard-working crew mates, the engine room of GAC Pindar - Mark Bulkeley, Garth Ellingham and Brad Farrand. “There’s always a lot of focus on the skipper, but this really is a team sport. It’s pretty obvious which way to point a fast boat like an M32 so my job is relatively easy, it’s what the guys do in front of me that really counts.”

In the morning, the wind was gusting unpredictably off Bather’s Beach for the Semi Finals. Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested was expected to give Williams a tough battle having been the class act of the previous day’s high-wind racing. At the start of the first match Sehested was penalised for starting too early by the umpires. “Actually both Williams and ourselves were over but the message didn’t get through correctly from the race committee to the umpires,” said a frustrated but philosophical Sehested. “We shouldn’t have been penalised but we were and that was the race gone right there.” Sehested appealed the call but to no avail.
 
The start of match two, and moments after the start Williams’ gennaker unfurled too soon - the result of a bad furl during an aggressive pre-start between the teams. Sehested surged into a seemingly unassailable lead until his gennaker started unfurling on the first beat - again the result of operator error at the leeward gate. Match two, and match point to Williams.
 
Finally in match three Sehested got his groove on, surging away to a good lead until - disaster - he capsized at the leeward turning mark. “I did a normal turn but I hadn’t noticed that our boards weren’t in their correct position,” said Sehested. “The leeward one was up and the windward one was down, and the lift from the windward board tipped us in. Frustrating, but that’s sailing. We gave Ian two of those races on a plate. But overall we’re pleased with how we sailed this week. A new team, we’re fast, and we’ll come back strong for the next event.”

 

So Williams was through to the Final 3-0. There was a good battle on the other side of the Semi Final draw, although Hans Wallén’s experience in the M32 catamaran proved too much for Yann Guichard who lost 3-0 to the Swedish crew.
 
In the Petit Final, the race for 3rd overall, Guichard beat Sehested 2-1.
 
For the Final later on in the afternoon, when the breeze had turned to an offshore moderate wind, Williams looked more in control during the pre-start maneuvering and generally got the better of Wallén from early on in each match. The exception was match three when an unforced error by Williams during the pre-start entry resulted in penalty on the British team. However the Swedish advantaged proved short-lived as Williams found a different path down the first run and surged into a lead that he would extend all the way to the finish.
 
With 20 international teams from all kinds of grand prix sailing backgrounds, it wasn’t meant to be like this. Williams was expected to be there or thereabouts, but not to dominate quite like he did. Going back two days to the start of the match racing phase of the competition, Williams lost his opening match to the young Sam Gilmour, son of Williams’ past nemesis - the legendary Peter Gilmour. But that would prove to be the only loss in 13 matches on the way to the Briton lifting the trophy.

Asked why he had been so dominant, Williams offered this: “If there’s one thing that I think I’ve always been good at throughout my career, something I’ve been very focused on, is looking at ways of improving different parts of what we do, always trying to learn and move things on.” With that in mind, and this being the first time we’ve seen M32s being raced on the World Match Racing Tour, Williams was also asked how his team of day one in Fremantle, just five days ago, would have performed in the Final. “No chance. You can see how much the quality of the sailing and the racing has moved on with each day here. We’re so much better than we were, and of course we’re going to need to keep on improving throughout this year. We can’t afford to stand still.”
 
Wallén probably wasn’t expected to make the Final, but the Olympic silver medallist was rightly proud to have done so. “We are happy, only frustrated that we couldn’t give Ian more of a fight. In these moderate conditions and stable wind direction there were very few passing lanes,” said the Swede.

 

Williams raised the trophy aloft and accepted a winner’s cheque for USD 33,000, his team’s share of a USD 200,000 prize purse. Now the game moves on to three other international venues before the big finale this July, the World Championship Finals in Marstrand, Sweden. The winner’s prize is USD 1million, so the teams will be practicing hard over the next four months to close the gap to the new standard set by Williams this week in sunny, sensational Fremantle.

WMRT Fremantle 2016 - Final Results

1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar  $US 33,000
2. Hans Wallén (SWE) Walleén Racing $US 23,000
3. Yann Guichard (FRA) Spindrift Racing $US 18,000
4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing $US 18,000
5. Matt Jerwood (AUS) Redline Racing $US 12,000
6. Murray Jones (AUS) Full Bants Racing $US 12,000
7. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One $US 12,000
8. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Rahm Racing $US 12,000
9. Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing  $US 5,000
10. Evan Walker (AUS) KA Match/ CYCA $US 5,000
11. Steven Thomas (AUS) Royal Perth YC $US 5,000
12. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing $US 5,000
13. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team $US 5,000
14. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing $US 5,000
15. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing $US 5,000
16. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) Dackhammer Racing $US 5,000
17. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 $US 5,000
18. Brett Burvill (AUS) Edge Racing Team NYC $US 5,000
19. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Royal Danish YC $US 5,000
20. Mark Whittington (AUS) South of Perth YC $US 5,000
 
For full leaderboard visit wmrt.com

Mar 6, 2016 12:30:00 AM

Conquered Canfield backs Sehested to go all the way

Nicolai Sehested today cast aside any idea that Taylor Canfield and US One were the event favourites, ruthlessly dispatching the American team 3-1 in their Quarter Final match at the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle.

Mar 6, 2016 12:30:00 AM

Conquered Canfield backs Sehested to go all the way

Nicolai Sehested today cast aside any idea that Taylor Canfield and US One were the event favourites, ruthlessly dispatching the American team 3-1 in their Quarter Final match at the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle.

The young Dane is showing no fear of any opponent, and nor should he, the way he is tearing around the track in the M32 multihull this week. To look at his crew’s devil-may-care attitude to throwing the boat around, you would never know the Viking raider was racing this challenging boat for the first time this week, with a team that have never sailed together before. Canfield on the other hand has been racing the M32 for more than a year but couldn’t match Sehested off the high-speed reaching starts, nor could the 2013 World Champion catch the great Dane around the race course.
 
“You make some small mistakes and you pay big for them,” shrugged an unusually downbeat Canfield at the evening press conference. “Once they were ahead they were uncatchable. We made a couple of mistakes in the pre-start, down to bad communication on my part, and we couldn’t catch up after that.”

Sehested looks fast and loose downwind, ready to let the M32 rip at all times, even when the Fremantle Doctor - the strong local afternoon breeze - is pumping hard. He didn’t deny it. “I don’t think we hold back, we keep pushing, it’s the only way to learn how to sail these boats,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep up with the crew, I don’t want to be the one that lets them down by holding back.”
 
The simplest Quarter Final victory went to Great Britain's Ian Williams who despatched Sweden’s Mattias Rahm 3-0 in a superior performance by the GAC Pindar crew. As the reigning and six-time World Champion, Williams was the undoubted master of the slow keelboats, but he’s proving to be a fast learner in the multihulls. “The fleet is improving so fast that if we’re only as good as today, we probably won’t be good enough tomorrow,” said Williams, who faces Sehested in the Semi-Finals. “Nicolai is very dangerous, his team beat us in Poland last year. We’ll take on board the lessons from today and see what we can do.” The historical statistics are etched in Sehested’s memory too. He hasn’t lost to Williams in the past 12 months, even if those matches were in keelboats, nothing like the M32.

 

Two young Australians, Matt Jerwood and Murray Jones, put up a good fight against some older, more experienced multihull racers. Local Perth sailor Jerwood took two matches off Olympic silver medallist Hans Wallén before the Swede hit his stride to go through to the Semi-Finals. The ever upbeat Jerwood would love to come back for more. “It’s been great to have the event here in Fremantle. There’s so much sailing history here with Australia II in the museum, it was the first place that saw a foiling Moth sailing, people here really embrace sailing. I’ve never had so many people come up to shake my hand, to congratulate us. Can’t wait to do some more M32 stuff this year.”
 
Jones gave Yann Guichard a few scares, especially when the Frenchman made an unforced error during one pre-start. “We were going really fast downwind, and I tried to gybe on the foil. We capsized, but no damage, everyone was OK on board. Five minutes later we’re back upright and ready again. I’ve never seen this before on this size of boat. Normally you break something when you capsize, but not today.” Although Jones won that race by default, Guichard quickly reverted to business as usual. Even though he has next to no experience in the M32, his deep background in racing all kinds of multihulls - from Olympic Tornados to the giant 40m, round-the-world Spindrift 2 - equips Guichard with a natural feel for what makes the M32 tick. Even against the wily Wallén, he’ll be fast and dangerous.

So tomorrow it’s Williams v Sehested, and Wallén v Guichard. With the pre-event favourite out of the running, Canfield was asked who he’d back for the overall win, for the US$33,000 prize money tomorrow afternoon. “Sehested. He was fast against us today, and I think he’ll do it again tomorrow.” Will Canfield’s confidence be a curse on the Dane? Or is Canfield right to foresee the young Viking doing another smash-and-grab assault on his more experienced competitors on the final day, the climax of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle?
 

Results after Day 5

Through to the Semi Finals:

Ian Williams (GBR) v Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
Hans Wallén (SWE) v Yann Guichard (FRA)

Results in Quarter Finals:

Nicolai Sehested (DEN) beat Taylor Canfield (ISV) 3-1
Yann Guichard (FRA) beat Murray Jones (AUS) 2-1
Hans Wallén (SWE) beat Matt Jerwood (AUS) 2.5-1.5
Ian Williams (GBR) beat Mattias Rahm (SWE) 3-0

Mar 5, 2016 12:30:00 AM

YOUNG GUNS GIVE OLD GUARD A HEART MURMUR

The young guns from Australia were showing the more experienced teams the way round the race course today on day four of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle. Sam Gilmour set the tone for an unpredictable day on Bather’s Bay when the local Australian sailor beat reigning World Champion Ian Williams from Great Britain in their opening match. That kind of upset didn’t happen very often in the keelboat era.

Mar 5, 2016 12:30:00 AM

Young guns give old guard aheart murmur

The young guns from Australia were showing the more experienced teams the way round the race course today on day four of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle. Sam Gilmour set the tone for an unpredictable day on Bather’s Bay when the local Australian sailor beat reigning World Champion Ian Williams from Great Britain in their opening match. That kind of upset didn’t happen very often in the keelboat era.



It was a blast from the past to see a Williams v Gilmour match, even if this Gilmour – Sam – is the less experienced son of the legendary Aussie match racer Peter Gilmour. The Gilmour v Williams match races of past decades were aggressive affairs in keelboats.

Today’s battle was in high-speed M32 catamarans, and Sam Gilmour showed a clean pair of heels to Williams off the start line of match 2. It looked like the young Australian was going to take Williams to match point, but a tactical error – undertacking the layline – handed the lead to GAC Pindar. From then on Williams was unstoppable and went through to the Quarter Finals 3-1.

Some other young Antipodeans gave their more experienced rivals from overseas a similar scare. New Zealand’s Chris Steele took a match off regatta favourite Taylor Canfield before US One hit their stride to win the next two and sit on match point going into tomorrow. Australia’s Evan Walker took two matches off Mattias Rahm before the Swede managed to beat the younger team in their deciding match. Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Steve Thomas smashed and grabbed the first match off Nicolai Sehested, but the Danish skipper bounced back with three straight wins.

So by and large, the more experienced overseas teams did squeak through to the Quarters, but not Nicklas Dackhammar who fell 3-0 to local talent Matt Jerwood. The harsh scoreline doesn’t really tell the full story though, as the Swede who had been so fast the previous day in the strong conditions of the Fremantle Doctor was dogged by some unfortunate gear failure in match one.

Dackhammar was leading the first match when a badly executed gybing furl forced him to park up at the bottom of the course and let Jerwood slip by for an easy win. The second match was a non starter as Dackhammer sustained damage to his boat in the pre-start and was unable to complete the race, handing the victory to Jerwood to trail 0-2. In the deciding match, Jerwood beat Dackhammar fair and square. “We rode our luck today,” admitted Jerwood, “but we’re very happy with how we sailed too. We’re over the moon. We woke up this morning and we thought if we could put it together we could beat him. We’re going to go out tomorrow with the same attitude and see what we can do.”

Rahm was breathing a sigh of relief after beating Walker in a tense battle. “We were trying to be aggressive in the pre-start and on the race course - and it was getting us into trouble,” said the Swede who has plenty of M32 fleet racing experience, but for whom today was a baptism of M32 match racing as much as it was for the other 15 teams. “After the first race we decided to keep it simple, rely on sailing fast and clean, and that worked much better for us. We’ll be starting tomorrow with the same approach when we line against Ian Williams. He’s the reigning world champion, but racing in these boats is a new game for everyone so we’re confident we can give him a good battle.”

Another Swede with good experience of the M32 – Olympic silver medallist Hans Wallén – overcame Switzerland’s Eric Monnin to go through to the Quarter Finals. France’s Yann Guichard sits on match point after beating Western Australia’s hottest match racing talent Keith Swinton 2-0. New Zealander Phil Robertson will be kicking himself that he isn’t sitting on match point after gifting Australian Murray Jones a point when the more experienced Kiwi wrapped his M32 around the leeward mark whilst in a comfy lead. Instead Robertson and his crack squad sit on 1-1 against the up-and-coming Jones.

 

It has been that kind of day, a shake-up of the old order in match racing. By and large, experience has shone through, but not without a few scary moments along the way. As for Jerwood, he’s rubbing shoulders with the big boys tomorrow when we see who can muscle their way out of the Quarter Finals and into the final four.
 
Results after Day 4

Through to the Quarter Finals;

Matt Jerwood (AUS) beat Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) 3-0
Ian Williams (GBR) beat Sam Gilmour (AUS) 3-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) beat Evan Walker (AUS) 3.5-2
Hans Wallén (SWE) beat Eric Monnin (SUI) 3-1
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) beat Steve Thomas (AUS) 3-1

Remaining Round of 16 matches;

Taylor Canfield (ISV) v Chris Steele (NZL) 2-1
Yann Guichard (FRA) v Keith Swinton (AUS) 2-0
Phil Robertson (NZL) v Murray Jones (AUS) 1-1

Mar 4, 2016 1:50:35 PM

‘STRONG-WIND SEHESTED’ CLOSES IN ON WOUNDED WILLIAMS

Day 3 of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, and every day the sailors are gaining more confidence competing in the strong Western Australian breeze. Today Danish skipper Nicolai Sehested used some unusual techniques to charge into the lead in two of his three races and close the gap on reigning Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams.

Mar 4, 2016 1:50:35 PM

‘Strong-wind Sehsted’ closes in on wounded Williams

Day 3 of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, and every day the sailors are gaining more confidence competing in the strong Western Australian breeze. Today Danish skipper Nicolai Sehested used some unusual techniques to charge into the lead in two of his three races and close the gap on reigning Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams.

After a Pro-Am racing session this morning under typically bright, blue skies, the aim was to complete the fleet racing phase of the competition. The five teams in Group A raced in the lightest breezes of the regatta on day one, but today they raced in the strongest. Williams had dominated in the lighter winds, taking all three races in his first session. Today however he struggled, due partly to problems with his gennaker furling system which was causing the big headsail to unfurl at inopportune moments. “Some exciting moments,” said the British skipper who scored finishes of 5,3,3 in the five-boat group. “We had a lot of issues but I think we'll be able to brush off today. It’s not much to do with tactics when it’s that strong, keeping the boat in good shape around the course is the main thing.”

Williams clings on to his lead in Group A, although two teams closed the gap to the leader, Sehested winning two races and local Perth sailor Steve Thomas winning the other. Thomas has a good pedigree in skiff racing, being a former 29er World Champion and an Olympic campaigner in the 49er. He is learning quickly in the M32 catamaran, whose lightweight 500kg construction makes it very fast to accelerate but also requires nerves of steel when the boats are converging on each other on the very confined race course in Bathers Bay The action takes place just metres from the Fremantle shore lined with spectators and sunbathers soaking up the Australian sunshine and the excitement of watching 20 of the world’s best teams working at their limits.

The strong wind gave the Pro-Am guests an incredible ride in the morning, and the strengthening breeze and rising waves made the afternoon session of fleet racing highly entertaining for the crowds, but a little too windy for the schedule to be completed today. The M32s have been hitting close to 25 knots boatspeed with one reef in the mainsail, and there is an option to depower further to two reefs. This might make the boat more manageable but it also means the gennaker can’t be used, and this is an option most of the sailors would prefer to avoid. “With two reefs the boat would be fine upwind,” said round-the-world sailor Yann Guichard from France. “But downwind could be boring, just sailing slowly in a straight line. It’s not what this type of racing should be about. These boats are fantastic, they are built for speed and we want to give the spectators something to enjoy.”

 

Watching the boats charging downwind this afternoon was heart-in-mouth stuff. Sehested was pulling involuntary ‘wheelies’ on his M32 with the familiar national boxing kangaroo logo, the logo that powered the winged-wonder Australia II to America’s Cup victory in 1983. Today Sehested was doing his own impression of a bouncing kangaroo down the bumpy race track; with both curved foils pushed fully down, the Danish M32 launched out of the water for a heart-stopping moment before crashing back into the water and charging forwards until the next wheelie. The leaping looked out of control, but somehow the young Dane managed to tame his kangaroo safely to the bottom of the course, while others decided to sail more conventionally with just one foil down – not as fast but much more stable.

Such are the kind of risk/reward scenarios that the M32 sailors face moment by moment in this high-octane, short-course racing. It’s all a far cry from the more sedate keelboat racing of past years. The sailing is both mentally and physically exhausting, and also very exhilarating.

Delays to the race schedule this afternoon forced the race committee to cancel the remaining qualifying race of Group A and select the the top four teams from each of the qualifying groups to advance to the final 16.  From tomorrow, the competition begins again for the start of the knockout stages, the boat-on-boat match racing combat.

Qualifying Results

Group A Qualifiers
Ian Williams, GBR (GAC Pindar)
Nicola Sehested, DEN (Trefor Match Racing)
Steven Thomas, AUS (Royal Perth YC)
Evan Walker, AUS (KA Match, CYCA)

Group B Qualifiers
Taylor Canfield, ISV (US One)
Mattias Rahm, SWE (Rahm Racing)
Murray Jones, AUS (Full Bants Racing)
Chris Steele, NZL (36 Below Racing)

Group C Qualifiers 
Phil Robertson, NZL (Waka Racing) 
Hans Wallen, SWE (Wallen Racing)
Yann Guichard, FR (Spindrift Racing)
Matt Jerwood, AUS (Redline Racing)

Group D Qualifiers
Niklas Dackhammer, SWE (Dackhammer Racing)
Keith Swinton, AUS (Black Swan Racing)
Eric Monnin, SUI (Albert Riele Swiss Team)
Brett Burville, AUS (Edge Racing Team NYC/JBSC)

For results and updates, and LIVE coverage daily from 1400 (West Australia time) visit www.wmrt.com

Mar 3, 2016 12:17:44 PM

The doctor delivers double dose of thrills

The second day of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle served up some high-octane excitement, as the 20 international teams did battle with each other and the Australian elements today.

Mar 3, 2016 12:17:44 PM

The doctor delivers double dose of thrills

The second day of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle served up some high-octane excitement, as the 20 international teams did battle with each other and the Australian elements today.

Today was the second day of fleet race qualifying, and the famous Fremantle Doctor was blowing harder than day one, gusting up to 25 knots with a few nasty waves making Bather’s Bay a tough, unyielding race course.

For the fleet racing, the 20 teams are divided into four groups of five. Last on from the previous day were first on this morning, to give each of the groups the best chance of a varied set of conditions. Like clockwork, the breeze builds throughout the day, so now it was a chance for Group D to experience the lighter end of the wind spectrum. Sweden’s Nicklas Dackhammar put the hammer down to win three heats and take second in the next, making him the clear winner of his group.

Western Australian Keith Swinton had his back against the wall after a poor start to his regatta on Wednesday. The top three in each group are guaranteed a way through to the knockout stages when the match racing begins, while the bottom two have to fight it out for a place in the play-offs tomorrow. So it was important Swinton upped his game in front of his home crowd in Fremantle. And he did. “We had a bit of a shocker yesterday, a few unforced errors, but we talked it through last night and managed to execute the basics much better today,” said Swinton, whose scores of 2,4,2,1 lifted him to 2nd place in the group.

 

Phil Robertson sailed a solid day, aided by his new team that includes America’s Cup veterans like Pierluigi de Felice and Xabi Fernandez, and won Group C ahead of Olympic silver medallist Hans Wallén from Sweden and the Spindrift crew from France skippered by Yann Guichard.

By the time the third group headed out on to the water, the Fremantle Doctor was in full swing, the breeze gusting up to 24 knots with some short, sharp waves adding extra spice to the recipe. Taylor Canfield had been tied with Mattias Rahm after day one, but the stronger breeze clearly suited the US One crew who fired in four bullets. Even Canfield’s crew had their dicey moments, including the exit out of one high-speed gybe when the boat leaned alarmingly on its side and looked in big danger of flipping over. Canfield appeared unfazed by the incident. “That was a very physical day on the water and very challenging conditions,” he said. “The other guys were pushing hard, but if you want to be at the top you have to push hard and live on the edge. We had some close calls at times, but always in control.”

Rahm scored a string of 2nd's behind Canfield and acknowledged that Canfield was pushing harder downwind, but feels that he has the edge for tacking and upwind speed. “I saw Taylor and his team were close to tipping it over,” Rahm said in the press conference after racing. “They were worth their wins today, but we have more to give.”

Sensing the opportunity for some psychological warfare, Canfield took aim at his Swedish rivals Rahm and Dackhammer. He believes the shift of gears into match racing will suit him better than the Swedes, and wasn’t scared of telling them so. “We know that when it comes down to those pressure situations, Mattias and Nicklas will struggle in those situations.”

 

Already the boat-to-boat combat has begun even before the match racing, with a tight situation at the leeward gate resulting in Denmark’s Joachim Aschenbrenner capsizing while trying to avoid a collision with Chris Steele from New Zealand. No one was injured and the boat was upright again in just five minutes, with no damage to equipment, only some slightly bruised egos.
 
Reigning World Champion Ian Williams enjoyed a perfect start to his regatta on day one, but the GAC Pindar skipper and the rest of Group A have to wait until tomorrow to complete their qualifying after final session of racing was cancelled due to the ever-increasing breeze.

Friday’s schedule starts with some Pro-Am Racing in the morning, then it’s Group A’s turn to finish their racing, followed by the Play-Offs to determine which of the bottom eight teams can secure one of the four remaining spots in the match racing, and which four teams go home for an early bath.

Live coverage will be shown at www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Western Australian time (CET+7hrs).

Check out the full results here!

 

Mar 2, 2016 3:12:00 PM

A fast start from ground zero

The strong breezes of the Fremantle Doctor delivered a fast start to the opening day of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season today in Fremantle, WA. 

Mar 2, 2016 3:12:00 PM

A fast start from ground zero

The strong breezes of the Fremantle Doctor delivered a fast start to the opening day of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season today in Fremantle, WA. 



The idyllic Western Australian coastal town of Fremantle saw 20 international crews begin their fast and furious battle for supremacy in the M32 catamarans, a giant leap from the more sedate keelboats traditionally associated with world-class match racing.

However, the first two days are all about whittling down the 20 teams to the last 16 with a series of short, sharp fleet races, with the teams divided into four qualifying groups of five.
With the fast-reaching starts – another major change to the traditional format of the World Match Racing Tour – the premium on making a quick and pinpoint accurate start is higher than ever.

Reigning world champion Ian Williams and his crew on GAC Pindar pulled the trigger earlier than their competitors, and just a second too early for the start gun. The British crew was forced to furl the gennaker and wait for the fleet to cruise past before the umpires released them from their painful starting penalty. At this stage the morning breeze was still soft and fickle. Williams played the classic back marker’s card of desperation – or inspiration - gybing away from the pack in search of something different. The six-time match racing World Champion was rewarded with an extra gust of wind on his side of the course, to sail from last to first by the bottom gate marks. From then on Williams defended his new-found lead to win his first race, and then won his next two.

None of the other three group winners was able to match Williams’ perfect hat trick. The favourite for this regatta, Taylor Canfield, sailed well, but not quite well enough to win his group today. Instead Canfield’s US One sits tied with Sweden’s Mattias Rahm but second on tiebreak. Canfield said: “Our starting was a little off, we wanted the pin end of the line most of the time, but sometimes we paid a high price for trying to go there.”

Former Olympic sailor Rahm reckons he has probably had more time on the M32 thanks to competing on the M32 Scandinavian Circuit last season, although former 49er World Champion Ed Smyth is a brand new addition to the team for this week. “Ed’s experience racing in the Extreme Sailing Series and this kind of short-course racing was very good for us today,” said Rahm. “He always knows where we are on the course and what the next move should be.”

With just four crew on board, the sailors are always overloaded with too much to do, and even just three 10-minute races takes a massive physical toll on everyone except the helmsman. US One crewman Hayden Goodrick commented: “You don’t want to blow your wad on day one. This is a long regatta and it’s about keeping something in the tank for the end of the week.”

As the day got older, so the breeze got stronger and the later groups were racing in up to 20 knots, hitting speeds of up to 21 knots with one reef in the mainsail. Kiwi professional Phil Robertson brings the perfect mix of experience in world-class match racing and short-course multihull racing. Helped by the likes of 49er Olympic Champion and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Xabi Fernandez, the Kiwi won his group quite easily.

Another highly experienced multihull racer, Yann Guichard, only managed 4th in the same group, although he could be forgiven for not being quite up to speed in the M32 yet. “The last race I did was around the world, which lasted 47 days,” smiled the Frenchman who skippered the giant 40m trimaran Spindrift 2 on its Jules Verne attempt to break the record of fastest sailboat around the world. Now he shifts his focus to races that last just 10 minutes. “However long the race, you still need to concentrate all the way round,” he said. “Today we made many basic mistakes, in manouveres for example, but the conditions were fantastic and we were having fun even if we weren’t winning. We hope to learn quickly.”

While there were clear leaders to emerge from three groups, the last group of the day delivered a very close three-way battle for bragging rights, with Switzerland’s Eric Monnin, Western Australia’s Sam Gilmour and Sweden’s Niklas Dackhammar each taking a race win, but with the Swiss crew topping the group leaderboard.

The shock of the last group was to see experienced Aussie match racer Keith Swinton struggling in last place, even with a 2nd place in the middle race. For Swinton’s Black Swan Racing there is local pride at stake and he will be thinking hard about what changes they need to make if they’re to survive their way through to the knock-out stages of the competition, when it moves into one-on-one match racing.

 

For all 20 teams, the learning curve in this new era of racing is extremely steep, and the team that learns quicker than the rest can expect to do very well, both here in Fremantle and for this short season for the World Match Racing Tour which reaches its crescendo this July in Marstrand, Sweden at Match Cup Sweden.

Thursday’s racing concludes the qualifying series of fleet racing, and the forecast of a more forceful Fremantle Doctor promises to deliver more spectacular racing for the spectators, both at the venue and live online.

Live coverage will be shown at www.wmrt.com from 1400 local Western Australian time (CET+7hrs)

Mar 1, 2016 11:48:00 AM

Fremantle again at the centre of world-class match racing

Back in 1987, the eyes of the sailing world were on Fremantle in Western Australia for the America’s Cup. Now almost 30 years on, Fremantle once again hosts some of the greatest match racers of the modern era, with the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season about to commence on Wednesday.

Mar 1, 2016 11:48:00 AM

Fremantle again at the centre of world-class match racing

Back in 1987, the eyes of the sailing world were on Fremantle in Western Australia for the America’s Cup. Now almost 30 years on, Fremantle once again hosts some of the greatest match racers of the modern era, with the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season about to commence on Wednesday.

Just as Dennis Conner and Stars & Stripes wrenched back the Cup from Australia on the turbulent waters of the Indian Ocean, Taylor Canfield and his Team US One are hoping they can exert their early advantage in a new season of the Tour, having lost out to Ian Williams and GAC Pindar in last season’s finale a little over a month ago.

Even Canfield could not deny that the British skipper was the master of the keelboat era of the Tour, his January victory at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia bringing Williams a record sixth world title. The US Virgin Islands sailor, more than 10 years Williams’ junior, burst on to the Tour to win the world title from his arch-rival in his first full season on the circuit back in 2013, but has struggled to match Williams since.

Now with the switch from the slower keelboats to high-performance M32 catamarans for future editions of the Tour, Canfield once again fancies his chances at winning another world title. TeamUS One have the benefit of more than a season competing in M32 fleet racing circuits both in the USA and Scandinavia. With that experience Canfield’s crack crew go into Fremantle as the clear favourites.

However other teams have been working hard to close the experience gap, not least Williams who has been putting in the hours in Bermuda over the past few weeks since his Monsoon Cup victory. GAC Pindar pushed US One hard at the second event of the M32 Series Bermuda, and was the top-performing team on the final day of light winds. “It was great to win that second day,” said Williams.

There are other teams who will be relishing the switch to fast multihulls, such as those with experience of the Extreme Sailing Series. Amongst these are Tour Card holders Phil Robertson, the New Zealander and a long-time Tour participant, and Yann Guichard from France. The Frenchman may be a Tour virgin and without the strong match racing background of other crews, but there isn’t much anyone can tell Guichard about sailing at high speed. The skipper of Spindrift Racing has competed in Extreme 40s, AC45s and foiling GC32s. This past winter he skippered the 40m giant trimaran Spindrift 2 on a 47-day circumnavigation of the globe, coming tantalisingly close to breaking the record for fastest around the world.

 

Their M32 experience will stand two Swedish skippers in good stead, Tour Card holder Mattias Rahm and Wild Card invitee, Hans Wallen, an Olympic silver medallist in the Star keelboat. There is also strong Australian talent competing in Fremantle including young Western Australian sailors such as former 29er World Champion Steve Thomas and 49er campaigner Sam Gilmour.

The six-day regatta in Fremantle, taking place off the famous Bather’s Beach, is the first of five World Championship Events across three continents - Australasia, Europe and America, all leading up to the finale of this so-called ‘short season’ which culminates with the World Championship in Marstrand this July. With 20 teams competing in Fremantle, the first two days of the regatta are fleet racing, which sees the 20 split up into four groups of five boats, and each group scheduled to complete four or five back-to-back races each day. Then the second phase of the regatta moves into a knock-out match racing contest more in line with the typical elimination format of the World Match Racing Tour.

With the racing taking place close to shore, and each race lasting an average of 12-14 minutes, the competition will be fast and furious, and perfect for spectators and VIP corporate guests to enjoy all the action.
 
Racing is being broadcast LIVE on the web, and you can watch each day at wmrt.com from 1400 Western Australia time (0700 CET).
 
WMRT FREMANTLE - Team list 

Ian Williams, GBR                 GAC Pindar
Taylor Canfield, ISV              Team US One
Phil Robertson, NZL              Waka Racing
Keith Swinton, AUS               Black Swan Racing
Eric Monnin, SUI                   Albert Riele Swiss Team
Yann Guichard, FRA              Spindrift Racing
Mattias Rahm, SWE              Rahm Racing
Sally Barkow, USA                Team Magenta 32
Nicolai Sehested, DEN           Trefor Match Racing
Chris Steele, NZL                  36 Below Racing
Hans Wallen, SWE                 Wallen Racing
Niklas Dackhammer, SWE      Essiq Racing
Sam Gilmour, AUS                 Neptune Racing
Matt Jerwood, AUS                 Redline Racing
Murray Jones, AUS                 Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
Evan Walker, AUS                  Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 
Steve Thomas, AUS                Royal Perth Yacht Club
Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN  Aschenbrenner Racing Team
Mark Whittington, AUS           South of Perth Yacht Club
Brett Burvill, AUS                    Edge Racing Team


2016 WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR 

2-7 March 2016 - World Match Racing Tour Fremantle
5-10 April 2016 World Match Racing Tour Long Beach/Congressional Cup (monohull event)
9-14 May 2016 World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen
30 May - 4 June 2016 World Match Racing Tour Newport
Finals: 4-9 July 2016 World Match Racing Tour Marstrand, Sweden
 

Feb 5, 2016 10:22:00 AM

Ian Williams Dominates Monsoon Cup To Win 6th World Title

Ian Williams (GBR) dominated Taylor Canfield (ISV) to win the Final of the Monsoon Cup 3-0, sweeping the GAC Pindar skipper to his sixth World Championship title on the World Match Racing Tour. Williams has extended his record as the most successful match racing skipper in the history of the Tour.

Feb 5, 2016 10:22:00 AM

Ian Williams Dominates Monsoon Cup To Win 6th World Title

Ian Williams (GBR) dominated Taylor Canfield (ISV) to win the Final of the Monsoon Cup 3-0, sweeping the GAC Pindar skipper to his sixth World Championship title on the World Match Racing Tour. Williams has extended his record as the most successful match racing skipper in the history of the Tour.

 

While Canfield was getting the better of his arch-rival in the pre-starts, once out of the blocks GAC Pindar was just coaxing maximum speed out of the FarEast 28R keelboat on the challenging, ever-changing Straits of Johor.

The British skipper admitted that the US Virgin Islander had brought his “A game” to the pre-starts, as US One managed to stick penalties on GAC Pindar in both of the final two matches. However Williams had a clear boatspeed edge that left Canfield scratching his head. The British skipper paid tribute to his team – mainsheet trimmer Gerry Mitchell, headsail trimmer Mal Parker and tactician Chris Main – for digging him out of a few holes. “I can’t say enough about these guys, I feel like I let them down a bit today. A fantastic job by all of them and to come back in that last race, buried off the line, a penalty down, to be able to overtake and sail away was just amazing. Chris was nailing the shifts, and Gerry and Mal were keeping us fast. We could cross when we needed to, and that was the key to that match.”

 

Canfield, the 2013 World Champion, was understandably downbeat. “After dominating all three starts, it’s definitely not what we hoped for,” said the US One skipper, for whom the new era of M32 multihull racing can’t come fast enough. “Ian and his guys sailed a hell of a day; they took down Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and took us down in the Finals. We thought we were going pretty well, starting well, but they simply outsailed us in the Finals. I’m looking forward to the next rematch.”


 
The previous evening, Canfield had attempted to upset team morale on GAC Pindar by announcing that he would be racing next season with Williams’ tactician, Chris Main. However, Williams said the announcement had achieved the opposite effect. “I think it really helped clear the air between me and Chris. It galvanized the team and really helped lift us to a higher level today. So, thanks for that Taylor!” And so the bitter rivalry continues as the Tour moves into multihulls. “It does feel like the end of an era,” said Williams of his time racing monohull keelboats, and now looking forward to a new format Tour in high-speed M32 catamarans. “It’s an era we’ve dominated, thanks to these guys, and thanks to GAC Pindar.”

The path to the Final had been very straightforward for both teams, with Williams outsmarting Hansen in all three pre-starts to win 3-0, the same score by which Canfield dispatched Eric Monnin (SUI).
 
In the Petit Final, Hansen beat Monnin 2-0 and took 3rd overall in the regatta. “We’re disappointed we didn’t manage to do better this time,” said the Swede. “We were quite depressed after we came in from the Semi Finals, but I have to admit after watching the Finals and what Ian and his team did, picking almost every shift, having fantastic speed in the boat, maybe we weren’t so bad. I’m extremely impressed with GAC Pindar. They really deserved the win this time.”

At the prize giving ceremony at the Hotel Jen in Puteri Harbour, His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, The Sultan and Sovereign Ruler of The State and Territory of Johor Darul Ta'zim presented the Garrard-designed World Match Racing Tour Championship Trophy to Williams and his crew. Also in attendance was YB En Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Malaysian Minister for Youth and Sports, and YB Dato' Zulkurnain Hj Kamisan, Johor Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage committee chairman.

From a total prize purse of US$440,000 for the World Match Racing Tour, Williams’ season victory earns him US$80,000. He also receives 310,000 Malaysian Ringgits (approx US$75,000) for his Monsoon Cup victory. After finishing runner-up at the Monsoon Cup, Canfield finished 2nd overall in the Tour standings with Hansen 3rd for the season.
 
Now the teams have just a month to regroup and ready themselves for a very different challenge in Fremantle, Australia, where we will see 20 teams doing battle in M32 multihulls for the first time, competing on the World Match Racing Tour 2016.
 
For the latest standings and scores on the Monsoon Cup - http://wmrt.com/component/wmrt/event_results/105.html
 
Finals REPLAY - https://livestream.com/WorldMRT/mc15-finals
 
2015 WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR LEADERBOARD
1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 142pts
2. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 132pts
3. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 130pts
4. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 100pts
5. Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox 96pts
6. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 96pts
7. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing 92pts
8. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 76pts
9. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing 76pts
10. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 65pts

2015 World Match Racing Tour Season Finale World Championship Event – Monsoon Cup
OVERALL RESULTS


1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
2. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
3. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing
4. Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox
5. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing
6. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing
7. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
8. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
9. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
10. Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing
11. Maximilian Soh (SIN) Team Red Dot
12. Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (MAS) hazOne Racing Team

Jun 25, 2015 5:51:00 PM

ASTON HARALD AB ACQUIRES WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR

Today marked a historic day for sailing's longest-running professional series with the purchase by Sweden's Aston Harald AB of the iconic World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Pro Match Tour Ltd, the Bermuda-based owner of the Tour and Aston Harald, manufacturer of the M32 racing catamaran and organiser of the M32 Series, concluded the sale at Aston Harald's new manufacturing and technology centre on the island of Hönö, near Gothenburg, Sweden. Aston Harald will take over the operations of the Tour from 1 July.

Jun 25, 2015 5:51:00 PM

ASTON HARALD AB ACQUIRESWORLD MATCH RACING TOUR

Today marked a historic day for sailing's longest-running professional series with the purchase by Sweden's Aston Harald AB of the iconic World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Pro Match Tour Ltd, the Bermuda-based owner of the Tour and Aston Harald, manufacturer of the M32 racing catamaran and organiser of the M32 Series, concluded the sale at Aston Harald's new manufacturing and technology centre on the island of Hönö, near Gothenburg, Sweden. Aston Harald will take over the operations of the Tour from 1 July.

The acquisition marks a major step forward for the ISAF sanctioned World Match Racing Tour, as Aston Harald also announced plans to construct a series of identical M32 catamarans to be based in the USA, Europe and Asia to be used at future World Match Racing Tour events.

Håkan Svensson, CEO and Owner of Aston Harald commented; "Conquering the World Match Racing Tour has proved one of the sport's toughest challenges. With the rapid innovation of top-level sailboat racing and the growing popularity in multihull racing, we're now in a position to help talented young sailors work toward a career at the highest level of the sport through the M32 Series and now the World Match Racing Tour."

James Pleasance, Executive Director of the World Match Racing Tour added, "The acquisition is a very exciting development for the Tour. Over the last year, we have been looking at ways to bring multihull racing into the WMRT and the M32's by Aston Harald are the perfect solution to take the Tour to the next level of professional match racing."

Aston Harald AB has formed a new Management Board for the World Match Racing Tour including the current core team of James Pleasance (Executive Director), Craig Mitchell (Tour Director) and Ivan Tuen (Brand and Marketing Director). Legendary Swedish America's Cup sailor and former World Match Racing Tour Champion Magnus Holmberg also joins Aston Harald AB as Sporting Director and will work with the M32 Series, and the World Match Racing Tour, which he helped create in 1999. The team will maintain its office in London and establish a new office at Aston Harald AB on the Island of Hönö, Sweden.

More details of the purchase and the future of the World Match Racing Tour will be provided at a press conference during the Stena Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand on Friday, July 3 2015

Visit www.wmrt.com for more news from the World Match Racing Tour

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Media Contacts

Fabian Bengtsson
Press Officer GKSS Match Cup Sweden
fabian@brandspot.com
+46 (0) 704 59 72 12

Ben Blake
Marketing, media and PR manager, World Match Racing Tour 
ben.blake@astonharald.com
+46 723 241992

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