Will Match Racing World Champion Know How to Match Race?
Published on May 15th, 2016
As the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by World Sailing, the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season will be known for three things.
1. The switch to the M32 catamaran has elevated several multihull teams with no match racing experience.
2. The elimination format for the 20-team field includes fleet racing, which helps these multihull teams.
3. An event with a $200,000 prize purse attracts some pretty good multihull teams.
At World Match Racing Tour Fremantle (March 2-7), the first event using the M32, there were two multihull teams – Hans Wallén and Yann Guichard – in the semi-finals. Wallén’s lack of match racing skills were overcome by his experience in the boat, but when he advanced to the finals it was reigning tour champion Ian Williams sweeping him aside 3-0.
A similar pattern played out at World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen (May 9-14) when Iker Martinez and Yann Guichard, both with no match racing experience but deep with multihull skills, were able to advance to the semi-finals. But again, when Martinez faced past tour champion Taylor Canfield, the later was able to take the title 3-0.
With only two more tour events in 2016, and the Match Racing World Championship title to be awarded to the final event winner, it will be a test to see which faction – match racers or multihull experts – will prove the victor.