Match racers head for Brazil

For inaugural event of the World Match Racing Tour

Wednesday January 25th 2006, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: United Kingdom
The inaugural Brazil Sailing Cup, the first event of the World Match Racing Tour (successor to the Swedish Match Tour) sanctioned by ISAF, features an outstanding line-up that includes the top five on the tour’s leaderboard and the reigning world match-racing champion.

The inaugural Brazil Sailing Cup is Stage 5 of the 2005-’06 World Tour schedule, which features nine stages. Racing is scheduled Mar. 14-19, 2006. The event will be hosted by the Angra dos Reis Yacht Club in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, about 100 miles west of Rio de Janeiro, and sailed on Ribeira Bay.

12 teams, eight of which represent syndicates for the America’s Cup, have entered to compete for the $100,000 prize purse, which includes $35,000 for the winner. Racing will be held in SM40s (previously Swedish Match 40) in the first-ever ISAF Grade 1 match-racing event in South America. The fleet of SM40s left Portugal two weeks ago and is due to arrive in Brazil on 2 February.

“The Ministry of Tourism joins in partnership for the organization of a great international nautical event, which will be prestigious to Angra dos Reis and to Brazil itself,” said Walfrido dos Mares Guia, the Brazilian Minister of Tourism. “I wish all the participants an excellent regatta, assured of the wind and sea conditions of Ribeira Bay, coupled with the athletes’ quality, will guarantee an excellent event.”

The line-up features two of the World Tour’s most celebrated skippers, Ed Baird (USA) and Peter Gilmour (AUS). Gilmour, the reigning two-time tour champion, leads the standings after four stages with the high score of 48 points. Baird, a helmsman for America’s Cup champion Alinghi, is placed fifth on the leaderboard and is the only skipper to have finished in the Championship 8 in each of the tour’s six completed seasons.

The entry list also includes tour No. 2-ranked Staffan Lindberg (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, No. 3-ranked Ben Ainslie (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand, and No. 4-ranked Peter Holmberg (ISV), Alinghi.

There’s also reigning world match-racing champion James Spithill (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge. Spithill had an outstanding close to last year when he won the Match Racing World Championship in September and the Melges 24 Worlds in December.

Rounding out the field are Dean Barker (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand, Gavin Brady (NZL), Beau Geste Sailing Team, Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Victory Challenge, Thierry Peponnet (FRA), K-Challenge, and Hamish Pepper (NZL), Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia. Brazilian Daniel Glomb rounds out the field as the local representative.

“Angra dos Reis will be the ideal scenery for the Brazil Sailing Cup. It will be an honor for the County of Angra dos Reis to host such an event,” said Angra dos Reis Mayor Fernando Jordão. “This event to be held in Angra dos Reis, a place known as a location of natural beauty and an excellent stage for nautical competitions, will provide an outstanding setting for these regattas. We will have a great pleasure to welcome these participants, wishing an excellent stay and a sportsmanship full of success.”

“The World Match Racing Tour is recognised as a preparatory event for the America’s Cup, since the same rules and strategies are followed, as well the same umpires, athletes and teams,” said event organiser Justino de Sá Machado. “It is a regatta with high professional standards and therefore will focus Brazil as one of the worldwide sailing places.”

World Match Racing Tour partners include BMW AG. World Tour Official Sponsors include Musto, Sebago and Travel Places.

World Match Racing Tour Championship 8
(After 4 of 9 Stages)
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS) PST, 48 points
2. Staffan Lindberg (FIN) Alandia Sailing Team, 37 points
3. Ben Ainsle (GBR) Emirates Team New Zealand, 30 points
4. Peter Holmberg (ISV) Alinghi, 29 points
5. Jesper Bank (DEN) United Internet Team Germany, 25 points
T. Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi, 25 points
7. Russell Coutts (NZL) Coutts Racing, 20 points
T. Gavin Brady (NZL), 20 points
T. Mark Mendelblatt (USA), 20 points

Brazil Sailing Cup Entrants (as of Jan. 23, 2006):
Ben Ainslie (GBR) Emirates Team New Zealand - Currently placed 3rd on World Tour leaderboard
Ed Baird (USA) Alinghi - Currently placed 5th on World Tour leaderboard
Dean Barker (New Zealand) Emirates Team New Zealand - Four career World Tour victories
Gavin Brady (USA) Beau Geste Sailing Team - Currently placed 7th on World Tour leaderboard
Peter Gilmour (Australia) PST - Nine career World Tour victories
Daniel Glomb (Brazil) Glomb Sailing Team - First World Tour event
Magnus Holmberg (Sweden) Victory Challenge - Six career World Tour victories
Peter Holmberg (ISV) Alinghi - Currently placed 4th on World Tour leaderboard
Staffan Lindberg (Finland) Alandia Sailing Team - Currently placed 2nd on World Tour leaderboard
Thierry Peponnet (France) K-Challenge - Seeking first career World Tour victory
Hamish Pepper (New Zealand) Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team - Seeking first career World Tour victory
James Spithill (Australia) Luna Rossa Challenge - Reigning World Match Racing champion

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