Stage 1 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is celebrated as a spectacular success after Match Race France, 6 – 11 April 2010 drew to a close on Sunday. The exciting duel between Mathieu Richard (FRA), French Match Racing Team, and Ben Ainslie (GBR), TEAMORIGIN, in the finale which had spectators on the edge of their seats, culminating in a delighted Marseille that Richard won on French waters. Spectators and sailors alike enjoyed the excellent sailing throughout the week from these match racing rock stars.
The first day of racing saw a surprising win from wild card entry Gian Luca Perris (MON) who surprised himself as well as the seasoned Tour Card holders. He has only been match racing for three years, Perris commented on Tuesday’s victory, “Today has been the highlight of my sailing career it has been our dream to compete at an ISAF World Match Racing Tour event”.
However there was also success for both Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia, and Philippe Presti (FRA) French Match Racing Team, who do not hold 2010 Tour cards, Cian finished the event in fourth and Presti is in at seventh position.
There was a surprising knock out of two key Tour card holders in the quarter finals. Both Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team who did not make it through, last year both sailors were in the top two. Minoprio commented, “The ISAF World Match Racing Tour is definitely attracting most of the world’s top match racing helms and I really think the competition has ramped up a level since last year. I still think that I will be in the podium position again by the final overall event in December.”
Congratulations must go to the Yacht Club Pointe Rouge for their superb level of race organisation and hospitality enjoyed by all throughout the week. Christian Tommasini, President of Yacht Club Pointe Rouge at the opening ceremony said, “We are very happy to have such an exceptional sporting platform here in Marseille with Match Race France. I would like to thank the City of Marseille for their financial support in making this event happen and the confidence that the ISAF World Match Racing Tour has in our team to organise a successful event”. One of the ambitions for moving the ISAF WMRT forwards into 2010 is for it to be easily accessible for spectators to view and to follow online. During Match Race France the beach front area where crowds of spectators were based transformed into a buzzing beach style spectator venue with cafe’s, viewing points and children’s activities, including a carousel and a lake with remote controlled
yachts. The new online live commentary via the ISAF WMRT website was an instant success with a large international following. The online commentary will be a regular feature at all the match racing events on the Tour this year, television coverage will also be broadcast internationally.
Stage 2 of the ISAF WMRT will be held in Langenargen, Germany 19 – 24 May where Mathieu Richard, the current victor, will again be racing. Some key players will be approaching the stage 2 event aiming to turn their disappointing results at Match Race France round to points scoring matches at Match Race Germany.
Overall Standings After Stage 1
1 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 25 Points
2 Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 20 Points
3 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 15 Points
4 Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia 12 Points
5 Sébastien Col (FRA) ALL4ONE 10 Points
6 Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 8 Points
7 Philippe Presti (FRA) 6 Points
8 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 4 Points
9 Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA)
10 Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team
11 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
12 Gian Luca Perris (MON)