Marstrand, Sweden - Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stage 5 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour, has attracted an abundance of the World’s leading men’s and women’s match racers. They are all magnetized year after year to the racing hot spot of Marstrand for guaranteed packed out days of pure match racing perfection.
Since 2000 when the ISAF World Match Racing Tour founded, the Swedish leg of the series has had a distinguished role of honour including esteemed America’s Cup names; Dean Barker, Russell Coutts, Chris Law, Peter Gilmour, Mattais Rahm and Björn Hansen.
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing won Stena Match Cup Sweden last year and has now notched up and incredible 7 overall victories at this event since its inaugural year in 1994. Gilmour is poised for the podium again after having also won Stage 4 of this year’s Tour only 8 days ago and looks committed to continue his fierce fighting style into this week’s semis and finals.
The Swedish national contingent as expected is also massive this year. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Sigma Racing Team who is the very essence of Stena Match Cup Sweden having instilled the sense of excitement and profile building over the years will definitely be a skipper to watch with his competitive flair. Holmberg ironically has yet to actually win this Swedish leg of the Tour and 2010 may well be the year for this match racing hero to reap his reward.
Other international names racing on home waters this week will be Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team a former Olympian who won the 2008 edition of Sweden, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team who was the first Swedish winner of this event and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team who has shown his sporting expertise winning the Argo Group Gold Cup on the warmer waters of Bermuda.
A fresh and rested Tour card holder, Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN, is back in the media’s gaze after completing his first WMRT event of the season in April. With 16 helms to consider running in 2 groups tomorrow morning there may be some surprise results. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing is now the youngest skipper to take the helm at 23 and Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing who started developing his skills through team racing is considered a hot ticket.
Stena Match Cup Sweden is also running a women’s event in tandem with the men’s Tour racing and has invited 10 of the most motivated female team’s from across the globe. The women’s event started today and Silke Hahlbrock (GER) leads the pack against Katie Pellew neé Spithill (AUS), Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Linda Rahm (SWE). Women’s match racing continues to climb in mass sporting appeal as it is now a ladies Olympic discipline inspiring full time campaigns.