Kiwis win 2022 Match Racing Worlds

Published on December 18th, 2022

These are not the best of days for the World Match Racing Tour. What once was the proving ground for current and aspiring America’s Cup sailors is now seeking sunlight for this niche corner of the sport.

Foiling boats have little need for the tour format, with America’s Cup experience coming from high performance one designs and the SailGP league. The tour lost momentum in the pandemic, while a relationship with Chinese money effectively turned off the lights.

After the 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship was somehow hosted by Bermuda in October, and won by Taylor Canfield (USA), Chinese border restrictions cancelled the 2021 Worlds and nearly again in 2022, with a late shift from China to Australia allowing the title event, which is hosted by the tour, to be held.

Up to 12 teams were invited for the 2022 Worlds on December 14-18 but when defending match racing world champion Taylor Canfield (USA) and six-time world champion Ian Williams (GBR) declined to participate, lower seeds eventually filled ten slots for racing Elliott 7 boats on Sydney Harbour.

Sail GP

At least it is assumed they are lower seeds as World Sailing has not updated the international rankings since April 2020, but back then six of the skippers at the 2022 Worlds were outside the top 25. However, Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), ranked third 32 months ago, proved his worth to claim the 2022 Open Match Racing World title in his first attempt at the championship.

After finishing the qualifying round robin series in fourth, Egnot-Johnson dropped just one race in the Repechage, Quarter Final, and Semi Final Rounds before facing Round Robin winner Chris Poole (USA) in the Finals. The Kiwi and American traded wins through the first four races before Egnot-Johnson sealed the victory in the match’s deciding fifth race.

“We are just stoked to win, it’s a dream come true for us,” commented Egnot-Johnson. “Chris and the Riptide team have been a rival for such a long time so it was awesome to come up against them in the finals, you can’t get any closer than that to finish – Sydney really turned it on for us today, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Egnot-Johnson’s team included Zak Merton, Sam Barnett, and Bradley McLaughlin.

Over the five days, 106 races were completed with Sydney serving up an average wind strength of 22 knots over the series.

There have been no announcements yet for the 2023 World Match Racing Tour, though it is likely the schedule will begin with the 58th Congressional Cup on April 18-22, 2023. As for the rest… standing by.

Event detailsCrew listsResults

2022 World Match Racing Tour Schedule
April 14-16 – Ficker Cup – Long Beach, CA, USA
April 18-23 – Congressional Cup – Long Beach, CA, USA*
April 28-May 1 – Szczecin Match Race – Szczecin, Poland
May 6-8 – Porto Montenegro Match Race – Tivat, Montenegro
May 20-22 – NJK Open Spring Cup – Helsinki, Finland
May 24-29 – Island Match Cup – Puerto Rico (cancelled)
June 4-5 – GKSS Spring Cup – Gothenburg, Sweden
June 16-19 – OM International Ledro Match Race – Ledro, Italy
July 4-9 – GKSS Match Cup Marstrand – Marstrand, Sweden* (cancelled)
August 12-14 – Chicago Grand Slam – Chicago, IL, USA
August 18-21 – International Match Race for the Detroit Cup – Detroit, MI, USA
August 25-29 – Oakcliff International – Oyster Bay, NY, USA
August 30-September 3 – Thompson Cup – Oyster Bay, NY, USA
September 7-11 – Baltic Match Race – Tallin, Estonia
September 29-October 3 – Match Race Germany – Langenargen, Germany (cancelled)
September 30-October 3 – DBS Marina Bay Cup – Marina Bay, Singapore
October 7-9 – Polish Open – Szczecin, Poland
October 17-22 – Bermuda Gold Cup – Hamilton, Bermuda* (cancelled)
December 13-18- WMRT Finals – Sydney, Australia*
*World Championship (WC) Events

WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR
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 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 Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR).

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

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