International match racing returns to the UK
Running out of Hamble on 12-15 June, the Royal Southern Match Cup is the first ISAF Grade 2 Match Race event to be held in the UK for six years and has attracted a top field..
Led by Britain's Ian Williams, who is going for his fifth Alpari World Match Racing Tour/World Championship title this year, entry requests have also been received from Keith Swinton (AUS - ISAF ranked #6), Staffan Lindberg (FIN - #11), Dave Gilmour (AUS - #12), Viktor Ogeman (SWE - #18), Antti Luhta (FIN - #26), Vladimir Lipavsky (RUS - #34), Arthur Herreman (FRA - #36), Lorenz Mueller (SWI - #40), Lucas Lier (DEN - #45), and Philip Bendon (IRL - #47).
With a maximum of ten teams taking part and entry requests from ten overseas teams, the Royal Southern Match Cup has already succeeded in one of its aims - to put GBR back on the map for top international match racing events. Arthur Herreman won last year's Match Cup and Philip Bendon is a Member of the Royal Southern Academy, while all the others are new to the event.
The Royal Southern's Rear Commodore Sailing, Karen Henderson-Williams said: "We have been working towards this for the last four years. During that time, our young match racers have had to go abroad to compete in Grade 2 events and that takes time and money.
"We are so delighted that such high quality match racers now want to come and race with us even though it presents us with the problem of having to hold back on some invitations to leave room for the Brits!"
In addition to Ian Williams, there are applications in from Andy Shaw and Ali Hall, both of whom have been in ISAF's Top 50, and the Royal Southern is adding a Qualifier event on 3-4 May to help select the other British entries.
Race will take place in J/80s.
The international team entries are backed up with international umpires from Croatia, Germany and Australia as well as the UK, and a Race Officer team headed up by Simon Hand, who was a Race Officer at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Now that the event itself is secured, the Royal Southern is turning its attention to finding a sponsor for this significant event.