Match Racing Tour reveals 2020 plan
Published on January 6th, 2020
London, UK (January 6, 2020) – The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) today announced its 20th anniversary season with an 18 event schedule across 13 countries, including a new championship format awarding points from all events towards the annual match racing world title.
Under new ownership since last year, WMRT returns to its ‘event host’ model, bringing together a series of independent match racing events around the world as part of the annual world tour.
Competing teams will accumulate points from events on to the WMRT annual championship leaderboard – the skipper with the highest points at the end of the season will be crowned Match Racing World Champion, officially sanctioned by World Sailing, the governing body of the sport. The defending Match Racing World Champion is Phil Robertson (NZL), two-time winner of the title in 2016 and 2018/19.
The 2020 WMRT season will comprise two levels of events – ‘World Tour’ events and ‘World Championship’ events. All events will be organized under World Sailing rules as ‘Open’ match racing events allowing both men and women teams, as well as mixed teams to enter. The ‘World Championship’ level events will award higher points and prize money of at least USD75,000.
Skippers will count their best four results from events to the WMRT leaderboard. The top twelve skippers on the leaderboard at October 1, 2020 will qualify for the WMRT Grand Final to be announced soon. The WMRT Grand Final will carry a points multiplier of x1.5 points.
“We are excited to re-launch the World Match Racing Tour for 2020 with a solid series of events including founding events of the tour, as well as brand new events,” commented WMRT Executive Director James Pleasance. “The [re]addition of the World Tour events also creates the opportunity for many more of the +1,000 currently ranked match racing skippers to compete as part of the Tour, and for the world championship title.”
Also announced today is that GKSS Match Cup Sweden re-joins the tour, joining Long Beach Yacht Club’s Congressional Cup® Regatta and the Argo Group Gold Cup hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club as the three ‘World Championship’ events.
New events joining WMRT for 2020 are ‘World Tour’ level events in Montenegro, Germany, Slovenia, Finland, Poland, France, Estonia, New Caledonia, Singapore, and the US Grand Slam events event in Chicago, Detroit, and Oakcliff New York. The events were previously part of the Match Racing Super League which the Tour acquired last year to merge the League events into a single world tour.
California’s Long Beach Yacht Club will host the opening event of the 2020 Tour at the 56th edition of the club’s Congressional Cup® Regatta, April 29-May 3. Founded in 1965, the event is the oldest continuously-held sailing match race regatta in the world and was a pioneer of on-the water umpiring at match racing events. Teams will compete in the club’s fleet of Catalina 37s in front of Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, sailing venue for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
This year also marks the 70th competition of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s Argo Group Gold Cup for the King Edward VII trophy (May 11-16). With racing on picturesque Hamilton Harbour in the 33-foot long International One-Design, at stake is the oldest trophy awarded for match race sailing in one-design sailboats and a USD$100,000 prize purse.
Heading to Europe in early July, GKSS Match Cup Sweden will host the Tour’s third World Championship event on the rocky shores of Marstrand island on Sweden’s west coast. This year will be the 27th edition of the popular Swedish event which draws tens of thousands of spectators to the island to watch the racing up close and just meters from the shoreline.
WMRT ‘Tour Cards’ will once again be awarded to six skippers, earning them automatic invitations to the World Championship events.
“We award the Tour Cards to recognize the success of teams on the Tour, but also to give them an opportunity to raise their profile and attract sponsors for the season,” notes Pleasance. “There is no cost for a Tour Card, and they are awarded 100% by results.”
The six Tour Cards are awarded to the top two skippers of the 2019 WMRT Final (Phil Robertson, NZL and Taylor Canfield, USA), the next two skippers on the final 2019 WMRT leaderboard (Nicklas Dackhammar, SWE and Ian Williams, GBR) and the next top two ranked skippers from the World Sailing rankings as published after the 2019 WMRT Final earlier in July (Eric Monnin, SUI and Harry Price, AUS).
As one of the most coveted and hard fought world championship titles in the sport, the 2020 World Match Racing Tour will see more teams than ever compete on the tour, requiring their very best skills to adapt to the different types of boats and venues they will face. And to the overall winner, the opportunity to join a list of the sports top luminaries as Match Racing World Champion engraved on the WMRT Garrard Trophy.
2020 World Match Racing Tour Schedule
1. April 24-26 – Ficker Cup, Long Beach CA, USA
2. April 29–May 3 – Congressional Cup® Regatta, Long Beach, California, USA*
3. May 8-10 – Porto Montenegro Match Race, Montenegro
4. May 11-16 – Argo Gold Cup, Bermuda*
5. May 14-17 – Slovenia Match Race Cup, Portorož, Slovenija
6. May 22-24 – NJK Open Spring Cup, Finland
7. May 27-June 1 – Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany
8. June 18-21 – Świnoujście Match Race – Polish Match Tour, Poland
9. July 1-5 – GKSS Match Cup Sweden*
10. July 23-26 – Internationaux de France de Match Racing, France
11. July 29-August 1 – Baltic Match Race, Estonia
12. Aug 8-11 – AIRCALIN Match Race, Noumea, New Caledonia
13. Aug 14-16 – Chicago Grand Slam, Chicago, USA
14. Aug 19-23 – International Match Race for the Detroit Cup, USA
15. Aug 27-31 – Oakcliff International, Oyster Bay, USA
16. Sept 2-5 – Thompson Cup, Oyster Bay, USA
17. Sept 17-20 – DBS Marina Bay Cup, Singapore
18. WMRT FINAL – TBA Nov/Dec
* WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Event
Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The World Tour represents a series of independently organised and officially sanctioned match racing events. Teams accumulate points from each of the events towards an overall WMRT global ranking, the top twelve teams from which compete in the WMRT Championship Finals at the end of the season.
The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous Champions include Bertrand Pace (FRA), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jesper Radich (DEN), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Ian Williams (GBR), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Torvar Mirsky (AUS).
The WMRT is a match racing competition with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which change for each event and which place a firm focus on teamwork, strategy and skill. Racing takes place close to shore to create stadium-style viewing for spectators.
Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com
Source: World Match Racing Tour