On to Croatia

ACI Adria Match Race Cup moves to Rovinj

Thursday May 4th 2006, Author: Sean McNeill, Location: Mediterranean
The seventh season of the World Match Racing Tour resumes later this month with the 20th anniversary ACI Adria Match Race Cup, May 23-28, in Rovinj, Croatia.

In celebration of the anniversary the ACI Cup has relocated to Rovinj, on the Istra peninsula in upper Croatia, from Split, where it had been held for the past ten years. The ACI Cup moved out of Rovinj during the War in the Balkans of the 1990s, but moved back for the anniversary and for presenting sponsor Adris Group d.d., a conglomerate based in Rovinj with interests in tourism.

Event organisers from the Adriatic Croatia International Club (ACI) and the Yacht Club Croatia (YCC) made the announcement at a press conference today kicking off the event, which is three weeks away.

They have also increased the prize purse. This year the ACI Cup will award a 50,000€ purse (approximately $65,000), with 20,000€ (approx. $25,000) earmarked for the champion. Last year the prize purse was $40,000 and the champion won $15,000. As in the past, the Jeanneau 35 One-Design is the boat of choice.

“I would like to point out the importance the ACI Cup brings to promotion of Croatia in the world,” said Anto Violić, chief executive of ACI. “The ACI Adris Match Race Cup is broadcast worldwide by World Match Racing Tour television, so 600 million households can see the beauty of the Croatian coast through this event.”

Heading the list of entries is Australian Peter Gilmour, who leads the World Tour with the high score of 48 points. He missed competing at the tour event in Brazil last March due to visa problems, but will have a chance to extend that lead in Croatia.

The veteran Gilmour, who competed at the first ACI Cup in 1987, also is the event’s all-time champion, having won five times. He won his fifth last year by defeating Frenchman Philippe Presti in an exciting final. A successful defense of the title would also be his 10th career World Tour victory.

“Croatia is one of the events that you have to admire what the ACI Marina has done over the years,” said Gilmour, the 46-year-old skipper from Perth, Western Australia. “They’ve stuck it out through thick and thin. You get a sense that they love the sport, and the Dalmatian coastline is perfectly suited to sailing. For me it’s satisfying to live through the war years in the 90s and see how the event has developed and flourished from there.”

Gilmour believes that Croatian sailors have benefited from the event. “I think one of the knock-on effects is the great talent coming up through the ranks,” he said. “Croats have won championships in Optimists, Lasers, 470s and on up to bigger boats. It’s exciting to see how all of that has evolved.”

Other confirmed entries include the World Tour’s third-ranked skipper, Steffan Lindberg of Åland Islands, Finland. The 34-year-old Lindberg trails 11 points behind Gilmour. The complete entry list is still to be confirmed.

After the conclusion of the ACI Cup the World Tour heads to Lake Constance in southwest Germany for the 10th anniversary Match Race Germany, June 1-5, in Langenargen.

After Match Race Germany the World Tour concludes its seventh season at the Toscana Elba Cup – Trofeo Locman, July 11-16, on Elba Island off the Tuscany region of Italy’s west coast.

World Match Racing Tour Standings
(After 5 of 8 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, Travel Places (West Sussex, England), the Official Travel Partner, and Musto (Essex, England), the Official Clothing Supplier.

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