Swedish Match Cup cancelled

Sad news for those making the annual pilgrimage to Marstrand

Friday April 21st 2006, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: Scandinavia
The World Match Racing Tour has made an adjustment to its 2005-’06 season schedule after organizers of the GKSS Match Cup (formerly Swedish Match Cup) were forced to cancel their event due to funding difficulties.

The 2005-’06 World Tour schedule is reduced to eight events from nine. The season will conclude as planned with the Toscana Elba Cup-Trofeo Locman on Elba Island, July 11-16. There are two events leading to the final, the ACI Cup (May 23-28) and Match Race Germany (June 1-5).

The loss of the GKSS Match Cup, hosted by the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club (GKSS), hurts more than just sailors. As the Swedish Match Cup, the event on the idyllic island of Marstrand, off Sweden’s west coast, hosted the final event of the tour season for six years. With a large and enthusiastic crowd on hand annually, it was one of the sailors’ favorites.

Splendid weather last year helped draw a police-estimated crowd of 35,000 to 40,000 on Day 4, setting a single day attendance record. Through the final three days local police estimated nearly 100,000 spectators turned out to watch the racing.

Loss of title sponsor Swedish Match AB, which was formerly the title sponsor of the World Tour, was too much for event organizers Peter Klock and Martin Sohtell to overcome.

“The Swedish Match Cup has placed Sweden and Marstrand on the map as one of the best arenas in the world when it comes to sail racing on the absolute highest level,” said Klock, President of the GKSS. “The GKSS has not solved a satisfying finance for the event this year, but the aim is to come back in 2007 with an even stronger event.”

Scott J. MacLeod, World Tour President, said, “We’re very disappointed to see the GKSS Match Cup cancelled, we were really hoping they could find a new title sponsor. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but it’s hard for events to find funding. The event has a strong heritage and we expect it will be back next year, better than ever.”

The season-ending Elba Cup has an early lineup that is as strong as recent years. Two-time World Tour champion Peter Gilmour of Australia and two-time event winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand head the lineup. A field of 12 entries is planned, but it might be increased to 16 entries.

Upcoming World Match Racing Tour Schedule
Stage 6: ACI Cup (Rovinj, Croatia), May 23-28
Stage 7: Match Race Germany (Langenargen, Germany), June 1-5
Stage 8: Toscana Elba Cup – Trofeo Locman (Elba Island, Italy), July 11-16

World Match Racing Tour Standings
(After 5 of 9 Stages)
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS) PST, 48 points
2. Ben Ainsle (GBR) Emirates Team New Zealand, 45 points
3. Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team, 37 points
4. Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi, 32 points
4= Gavin Brady (NZL), 32 points
6. Peter Holmberg (ISV) Alinghi, 29 points
7. James Spithill (AUS) Luna Rossa, 25 points
7= Jesper Bank (DEN) United Internet Team Germany, 25 points
7= Dean Barker (NZL) Team NZ, 25 points

The World Tour is sanctioned by ISAF, sailing’s world governing body. BMW is a Partner of the World Tour and the Official Car. World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, Mich.), the Official Footwear Supplier, Musto (Essex, England), the Official Clothing Supplier, and Travel Places (West Sussex, England), the Official Travel Partner.

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