ISAF Match Race Rankings - 8 December 2010

The new ISAF Match Racing World Champion and 2010 World Match Race Tour winner Ben Ainslie (GBR) has today claimed the top position in the open rankings for the first time in his career. Nicky Souter (AUS) maintains her position at the top of the women's rankings.

Open Rankings

Ben Ainslie's progress up the open rankings has been sure and steady. In December 2009 he was at #8 and since July 2010 has been poised at #2, ready to pounce on long term leader Adam Minoprio (NZL). With Minoprio at #2, Mathieu Richard (FRA) remains at #3 ahead of Torvar Mirsky (AUS) at #4 while Ian Williams (GBR) moves up to complete the top five.

Ainslie's rise to the top was secured on Sunday when he finished of the 2010 Tour season in style. Defeating Richard in the quarter-final of the Monsoon Cup left the French team fighting for survival. They could still claim the world title but the job was suddenly a lot more difficult. While Ainslie went on to defeat Bjorn Hansen (SWE) in the semi-final before meeting the Mirsky Racing Team in the final, Richard failed to win his sail off. It was a fitting finale to a nail-biting season and with Richard in eighth, the title belonged to Ainslie and TEAMORIGIN.

For Monsoon Cup qualifier Phil Robertson (NZL) it has been a glittering end to the year. After winning the Asian Match Racing Championship he travelled to Berlin and finished third at the ISAF Grade 1 Berlin Match Race. Back to New Zealand and he claimed the national title and then to Perth, Australia where he won the Sunseeker Australia Cup. Robertson finished the Monsoon Cup in tenth position and his results through November have lifted him to a career best of #9 in the world, a nine place rise from the previous ranking.

Third overall in Malaysia was Jesper Radich (DEN) who has stood on the podium at all four World Tour events he has sailed at this year. Radich moves up eleven places to #20. The Berlin Match Race was the only Grade 1 open event since the last ranking and this was won by Bjorn Hansen who went to finish fourth in Malaysia. Hansen moves two places up the rankings to #6.

Three ISAF Grade 2 open events took place in this period; the Mumbai International Match Race, the Sunseeker Australia Cup and the Carlos Aguilar Match Racing Championship in the US Virgin Islands. Laurie Jury (NZL) won in Mumbai and also finished sixth at the Carlos Aguilar and he subsequently climbs twelve places to a lifetime best of #27.

Women's Rankings

Nicky Souter (AUS) maintains her position at #1 but with the smallest of margins. Claire Leroy (FRA) swaps places again with Lucy MacGregor (GBR) to return to #2 just three points behind Souter. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Renee Groeneveld (NED) remain at #4 and #5 respectively.

The women's match racing events counting to this ranking release includes just one ISAF Grade 1 event, the Busan International Match Race. The Busan title went to Claire Leroy who defeated Katie Spithill (AUS) in the final.

Results from two ISAF Grade 2 events, the Ladies Only Match Race in Hamburg, Germany and the Women's Carlos Aguilar Match Racing Regatta, are also counting points. Silja Lehtinen (FIN) defeated Silke Hahlbrock (GER) to win in Hamburg but neither change position in the rankings, staying at #15 and #13 respectively. Genevieve Tulloch (USA) took the win in St Thomas, defeating Lucy MacGregor in the final and her ranking position improves from #12 to a career best at #8.

The highest new entry is Julia Toroi (FIN) who won the ISAF Grade 3 Audi FIM Youth Match Nordics in Helsinki, Finland. Toroi joins the women's rankings at #102.

Next up for the women's match racing teams is the first regatta of the 2010-11 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Sail Melbourne which kicks of on 12 December.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be in 2011.