Match racing returns to Newport

Latest event in Swedish Match Tour to have pro-am ingedient

Wednesday April 3rd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States
A new event in the Swedish Match Tour has been launched, to run in one of the most historic of match racing centres - Newport, Rhode Island.

The UBS Challenge kicks off on 4 May with six regional qualifying races for amateur sailors and culminates in an early August pro/am race weekend in Newport, where amateur sailors will be able to pit their skills against top America's Cup sailors.

Currently, nine America's Cup crews and two top-ranked professional sailors are confirmed to race for the $100,000 purse, one of the biggest in sailing.

"The sport of sailing demands the perfect combination of leadership, teamwork, strategy and skill - key attributes of world class competitors and core values embodied by UBS," said Donna C. Peterman, managing director and head, Communications and Marketing, UBS Americas, Inc. "The UBS Challenge extends the firm’s global sailing commitment to the U.S. with a one-of-a-kind sailing event for today’s premier teams."

The "UBS Challenge" Finals, sailed in identical racing yachts supplied by UBS, follow a mini America's Cup match race format along a short course near a shore-side spectator venue.

Prior to this the series of Regional Qualifier events will take place in six U.S. cities: Chicago - May 4-5, Detroit - May 18-19, Los Angeles - June 15-16, New York - June 21-22, Houston - June 29-30 and Boston - July 13-14.

The winner of each Regional Qualifier will compete at the UBS Challenge U.S. Championships against last year's top three finishers from the U.S. Match Racing Championship, the top ranked U.S. Women's match racing team and the 2001-2002 College Sailor of the Year.

The top three finishers of the UBS Challenge U.S. Championships will advance to the UBS Challenge finals. All three events are match race formats sanctioned by U.S. SAILING, which is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the United States, and will be judged by official umpires from the International Sailing Federation.

"Through their sponsorship of the sport, UBS is helping to build enthusiasm and awareness for sailing in America," said David Rosekrans, president of U.S. SAILING. "We are confident that the UBS Challenge will create great excitement throughout the sailing community, from the regional regattas this spring through the finals in Newport later this summer."

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