St Moritz, Switzerland -Twelve of the
world's most successful skippers, including Ben Ainslie (GBR)
TEAMORIGIN, Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and Mathieu
Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team, are preparing for a week-long
series of head-to-head battles at the St Moritz Match Race.
The Swiss resort is a stunning sailing venue, despite being almost
2km above sea level, thanks to the legendary Maloja wind. This thermal
breeze, created by rapid heating of the steep mountains above the
resort, funnels through the valley to give reliable winds of 10-25
knots from mid-morning until sunset.
Teams will have only a short practice race to get to grips with the
Blu26, the lightest and most manoeuvrable design used in the ISAF
World Match Racing Tour Championship. They are optimised for racing on
Alpine lakes and designed specifically for the one-on-one dogfights of
The boats’ awesome power to weight ratio and lightning-quick
acceleration make for a furious pace in the all-important pre-start
manoeuvres, with skippers faced with a rapid-fire of split-second
win-or-lose decisions. At the same time, their crew’s boat handling
is tested to the limit – anything other than millimetre-perfection
and immaculate choreography will hand their opponent a crucial
The requirement for perfection in such a high-intensity battle is a
tall order even for the world’s best sailors. Ben Ainslie, winner of
the last leg of the WMRT, the STENA Match Cup Sweden, and Britain’s
most successful sailor ever, with three Olympic gold medals, knows all
too well there is no room for complacency:
“We are looking forward to getting back into the World Match Racing
Tour Championship; we are planning to do four events between now and
the end of the year – St Moritz, the Danish Open, Argo Group Gold
Cup and the Monsoon Cup.
“Currently we are lying fifth in the rankings so we will be
focusing on improving on that status. St Moritz should be a
challenging lake venue, and those conditions, combined with the new
four-person Blu26 boats, means we will have a lot to take on in a
short space of time."
Richard, is at the top of the overall rankings going into the event,
but will be looking to improve on their performance in Sweden, where
Ainslie knocked them out in the quarter finals with a 2-1 scoreline.
Minoprio, the reigning ‘King of the Mountains’, however, is a
significant force to be reckoned with and will not relinquish his
title without the most gruelling of fights.