New Path to Top of Match Racing Mountain

Published on January 28th, 2016

London, UK (January 28, 2016) – The World Match Racing Tour has confirmed a series of qualifying events for the 2016 world championship Tour, providing a new pathway for young aspiring sailors to compete against the best match racing teams in the world.

The series of qualifying regattas, called ‘World Tour’ events, will provide the opportunity for ambitious teams to earn invitations to the five World Championship level events (changed from six events) with USD 200,000 prize money per event.

The first World Championship event takes place this March in Fremantle, Australia, and the short Tour season culminates with Marstrand, Sweden in July, when the winner of the World Championship will take home a bonus of US$1 million.

For each of the four Championship events leading up to the finals in Marstrand, there are two World Tour qualifying events where the first three teams will go through to compete in its related Championship event. If a new team puts together a committed campaign, practices hard in the new M32 catamaran and does well, those sailors could make it through to the final 20 teams who will be fighting it out in the World Finals in Marstrand.

The qualifying events present an unprecedented opportunity for young and ambitious sailors to make their mark on the professional racing world. Their entry into the Tour could be the launchpad to a long and successful career in sailing.

Up to eight teams will be able to compete at each World Tour event, competing in four brand new supplied M32 catamarans. First, however, the new teams need to go complete a three-day licensing course to familiarise themselves with how to handle the M32. With the racing taking place on short close-to-shore courses at speeds of up to 30 knots, it is vital that all competing teams have attained a minimum level of competence and boat handling skills.

The match racing license costs US$1,000 per crew member, but once you have acquired the licence, then you are ready to go M32 racing, taking part on a grand prix circuit at a very affordable price in fast and easy to handle boats.

Reigning World Champion Ian Williams welcomed the opportunity for young sailors to compete with the best in the world. It took Williams several years after his first match racing event before he managed to secure an invite to a Tour event. Now there is an opportunity of a much quicker apprenticeship for budding teams.

“If they’re good enough to be there, they deserve the opportunity,” noted Williams. “If we’d have turned up to the World Championship when we started match racing in 1996, or even in 2005 when we got our first Tour invite, we’d have got smashed. But I think the opportunity of this new format is the opportunity to learn from the best. Until we started sailing against people like Russell Coutts, Ed Baird and Peter Gilmour, we didn’t understand the level that we needed to achieve. Getting the opportunity to sail against the top guys will improve your game a lot quicker.”

The season is coming up quickly, with the first World Tour event taking place in the first week of February, the Warren Jones Youth Regatta in Perth, Australia. While this regatta, and the Ficker Cup in California, takes place in keelboats, all other World Tour events will be contested on M32s.

Below is the calendar of events. To register your interest and apply for an entry to a World Tour event, contact World Match Racing Tour Racing Director Craig Mitchell at

2016 World Match Racing Tour Event Schedule
February 1-5
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Fremantle
Warren Jones Regatta – Perth, Australia

February 24-26
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Fremantle
South Of Perth Match Cup – Perth, Australia

March 2-7
World Championship Stage 1: World Match Racing Tour Fremantle
Fremantle, Australia

March 14-16
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen

March 18-20
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Newport

April 1-3
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Long Beach
Ficker Cup – Long Beach, USA

April 5-10
World Championship Stage 2: World Match Racing Tour Long Beach
Congressional Cup – Long Beach, USA

May 2-4
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

May 9-14
World Championship Stage 3: World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

May 26-28
World Tour Qualifier: World Match Racing Tour Newport
Newport, USA

May 30-June 4
World Championship Stage 4: World Match Racing Tour Newport
Newport, USA

July 4-9
World Championship Finals: World Match Racing Tour Marstrand
Marstrand, Sweden

Note: The first qualifying event for the World Match Racing Tour Long Beach event was the 2015 Grade 2 USA GRAND SLAM won by Sam Gilmour (AUS) and his Neptune Racing Team.

Source: WMRT

Background: The 2015-16 World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by World Sailing. Prize money and points are earned at each tour event, with the leaders vying for both the Tour title and the Match Racing World Championship title. Tour website.

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