World Match Racing Tour Comes to Newport

Published on May 24th, 2016

The fourth stop on the World Match Racing Tour comes to Newport, RI where the field will be competing in the M32 catamaran off historic Fort Adams. With 17 of the 20 teams confirmed for the Tour event on May 30 to June 4, a qualifier on May 26-28 opens the door for eight teams to vie for the final three slots.

For those competing in World Match Racing Tour Newport, on the line is a USD 200,000 prize pool with USD 33,000 for the winner.

A former Olympic Yngling and Match Racing World Champion, American Sally Barkow and her all-female crew will be looking to improve on their last event two weeks ago in Copenhagen, where they finished sixth of 20 teams, claiming major scalps along the way.

Among the favorites for the Newport title is Taylor Canfield and his US One team. The US Virgin Islands skipper is the leader after three events, having won the Copenhagen event along with the season’s only monohull event, the Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA.

While match racers like Barkow and Canfield are working to master the M32 catamaran, the field in Newport will include skilled multihull teams seeking to grasp the match racing techniques.

At the first M32 Tour event in Australia, Hans Wallén (SWE) and Yann Guichard (FRA) were in the semi-finals by virtue of their cat skills. The pattern repeated at the second M32 Tour event in Denmark, with Iker Martinez (ESP) and Guichard advancing to the semi-finals with very little match racing experience.

In both events, the finals pitted match racers against cat sailors, with the match racers winning. But if you look at the scores of the two M32 events, it is Guichard’s team that leads the overall standings.

“The best match racers will always say if you win the boat race, there is no need to match race,” notes Dee Smith, who helped to coach Team New Zealand during the 2013 America’s Cup. “If the cat sailors learn how to match race before the match racers learn to sail cats, this could be fun to watch.”

Among the eight teams in the qualifying series for the remaining three of the 20 berths is a team led by Mark Mendelblatt, who has represented the US at the Olympic Games in both the Laser and the Star along with competing in the America’s Cup and on numerous big boat campaigns.

Further local match racing talent comes in the form of William Gammell, while also entering the fray are two of the original Rhode Island M32 owners and their teams: Malcolm Gefter and Michael Dominguez whose respective Lift Off and Bronco crews have the advantage of having had the longest tenure in the M32 class.

Organised in association with Sail Newport, the World Match Racing Tour Newport will be based out of Fort Adams State Park. The race course is located off downtown Newport, between Fort Adams and Goat Island.

Confirmed for WMRT Newport – May 30-June 4
Sally Barkow (USA)
Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
Taylor Canfield (ISV)
Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE)
Yann Guichard (FRA)
Matt Jerwood (AUS)
Iker Martinez (ESP)
Eric Monnin (SUI)
Chris Poole (USA)
Mattias Rahm (SWE)
Phil Robertson (NZL)
Nicolai Sehsted (DEN)
Keith Swinton (AUS)
Steven Thomas (AUS)
Evan Walker (AUS)
Hans Wallén (SWE)
Ian Williams (GBR)

Qualifier (Top 3 advance to WMRT Newport) – May 26-28
Michael Dominguez (USA)
Malcolm Gefter (USA)
David Gilmour (AUS)
Mark Mendelblatt (USA)
Michael Menninger (USA)
Torvar Mirsky (AUS)
Anna Ostling (SWE)
Chris Steele (NZL)

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