Hönö, Sweden – April 19, 2018 – The World Match Racing Tour will move to a shorter format for the 2018 season with just 12 teams invited to each event. The fleet racing spectacle, with six M32 catamarans fighting it out on the same racecourse, will remain in place as the Qualifying stage at each regatta and will seed teams for the match racing knockouts. Match racing will commence directly after Qualifying with a Repechage knockout stage for the bottom 8 from which the winners in each match join the top 4 from Qualifying in the Quarter Finals. Semi Final and Final stages will follow and a champion will be crowned.
As with the past two seasons, points will accumulate over the year at both Championship level events and World Tour level qualifiers, as we countdown to the 2018 Match Racing World Championship. Invitations to the final event will be given to the top 12 teams on the WMRT Leaderboard following the penultimate Championship level event on this year’s Tour. Points are accumulated from both Championship level and World Tour level qualifier events with one discard given for a team’s lowest score.
A shorter format with less teams means higher quality match racing over an intense period. Of the 12 invites available, six will go to Tour Card holders leaving four qualifying spaces and two wild cards at each event. This means that only the top match racing talent will make the cut to gain entry and help to keep the Word Match Racing Tour at the peak of match race sailing. Fewer days of competition means a tougher road to the final for most teams. The Super 16 Stage rarely produced a shock victory and was often treated as a practice session by the top teams. Exchanging the Super 16 stage for a Repechage stage will give the lower ranked teams more match practice before facing the top seeded teams and gives more sailing time to those who would have been eliminated in the Sail Off stage under the previous format.
World Championship Level Events:
WMRT Match Cup Sweden – Marstrand, July 4th-8th
WMRT Match Cup Norway – July 26th-29th
WMRT Match Racing World Championship – Shenzhen, China, November 8th-12th
In the build up to the Match Racing World Championship, the World Match Racing Tour is currently in discussions with multiple venues to add a fourth and fifth event to the 2018 season. It is with regret that at this moment we are only able to give full details of the first two events plus the World Championship. We felt the importance of announcing these events as soon as possible to allow sailors to plan their 2018 schedule to include the World Match Racing Tour and to ensure we keep the strongest match racing talent as part of the Tour. The 2018 World Match Racing Tour is taking shape and the management team is confident of securing deals with more venues in the second half of the season in the build up to our World Championship at the end of the season.
Marstrand, the home of the World Match Racing Tour, will of course remain on the calendar and for 2018 will mark the opening of the season. A new addition this year will be a trip even further north to Risör, Norway. Similar to Sweden’s island of Marstrand, Risör is a Scandinavian summer hotspot and the two are often compared. Locals lined the harbour wall last summer when the M32 Series Scandinavia arrived in town, and with the added attraction of the World-class sailors that the WMRT brings the event in Risör is expected to produce a fantastic atmosphere to welcome all. Six-time Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams said, “Risor is a gorgeous town on Norway’s East coast that GAC Pindar enjoyed visiting on the 2017 Scandinavian Series. It is a protected flat water sailing venue that will provide for a tight race course with complex wind and tidal eddies so will be a very tactical venue to sail in.”
For the second year China will play host to the final spectacle of the World Match Racing Tour season as WMRT China partners with the China Cup International Regatta to deliver the Match Racing Word Championship. After the success of the 2017 World Championship, there is a great appetite among teams and spectators to head east again this year.
“The seed has been planted in China to develop homegrown World-class match racing and last year’s event certainly stood out amongst what else was happening within China at the time. The media response to WMRT was successful and has generated interest from other Chinese cities looking to bring this match racing spectacle to them.” Said Chris Lee of WMRT China.
Partnering with the 12th Annual China Cup allows WMRT to be present at the peak of Asian sailing and to aid the expansion and development of Asia’s largest sailing regatta. With the nail-biting end to last year’s championship, Torvar Mirsky and his Mirsky Racing Team will be in full force aiming for Shenzhen again this year, looking to defend their title.
Zhong Yong, CEO of China Cup International Regatta, believes that the continued cooperation between China Cup International Regatta and WMRT in 2018 is the recognition to the platform that CCIR provides. This joint-event signals the continuous development in competitiveness and diversity of China Cup International Regatta: “This cooperation of two internationally renowned sailing event strengthen the influence of the host city–Shenzhen in the field of maritime. It also helped promoted Shenzhen as a global metropolis. The M32 catamaran is perfect for close to shore action. Last year it has drawn attentional not only the sailing enthusiasts but also non-sailor spectators. What’s more, the America’s Cup, WMRT trophy, China Cup have debuted on the same stage at the closing ceremony which highlighted the status of Shenzhen in international sailing. I have no doubt that as M32 one design class joining China Cup, WMRT finals will encourage Chinese sailing enthusiasts to understand and participate international high-performance sailing race. I hope one day a team from China can excel in WMRT.”
More details of qualifying events and the Tour Card Holder lineup for this season will be announced in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, to express interest in entry to any World Tour level qualifying event in you region please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of the six World Match Racing Tour Tour Card Holders will be announced in the following days.
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