Ramping up the World Match Racing Tour

Director Craig Mitchell on the future of his circuit
With its new Far Eastern owners, and a more secure financial footing, the World Match Racing Tour is in the process of ramping itself up, but the question remains – where will it end up? For its perpetual stumbling block is that by rights the World Match Racing Tour should be the premier circuit for this arm of the sport, but of course that position is securely held by the America’s Cup. In past years this has left the Tour being the event some Cup teams squeeze in when their programs allow or as the worthy platform to elevate new match racing stars such as the likes of Ian Williams, Torvar Mirsky and Adam Minoprio and before them Jesper Radich and Jes Gram Hansen. Can it ever be more than this? In recent months the security of the Tour has not been helped by ISAF, who granted it supposedly exclusive rights to hold match racing events outside of the America’s Cup, failing to crack down on the Louis Vuitton Trophy events - something that the Tour’s acting President Peter Gilmour, when we spoke to him in December, said could well result in litigation. According to Craig Mitchell, Director of the World Match Racing Tour, this is presently in a holding pattern as the sailing world waits for BMW Oracle Racing and Challenger of Record Mascalzone Latino Audi Team to decide upon the format for the 34th America’s Cup. If the Louis Vuitton Trophy events become the equivalent of the Acts (before the 32nd AC) and therefore part of the America’s Cup – as seems likely, BMW Oracle being one of the founding stakeholders in the LV events - then the Tour no longer have a case. “We are still putting pressure on for ISAF to do the right thing, but we’ll see