Preparations for the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, which kicks off in May at Match Race Germany, are gathering speed with the selection process for the list of 2013 Tour Card Holders. The deadline for all applications is 24 February 2013 with the final list set to be unveiled in less than eight weeks.
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Argo Group Gold Cup Bermuda
The Tour Card Holders are the collective face of the global series and the final list provides the best indication of who the main contenders will be for the Tour title each season. This year the Tour has introduced a number of changes to the invite policy, including the decision to guarantee all eight Tour Card Holders invitations to all scheduled events prior to the Monson Cup, the final event of the series. In return, each Tour Card Holder has a commitment to attend a minimum of five Tour events.
Teams making bids will be notified whether they have been successful at the end of February. The Tour management bases its selection on a set criteria including: current or past Tour or ISAF ranking, recent achievements across other sailing disciplines, media awareness and PR plans, and the team’s logistical and financial commitment to the 2013 season.
Current World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar, together with Björn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team and Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing who finished second and third respectively in 2012 are each guaranteed Tour Cards for 2013. A further 20 teams have expressed interested in contending for the remaining five places making this year the most tightly contested selection process.
As well as a combined prize purse across the series of USD$1.25million, the Tour will also award a Bonus Pool of USD$500,000 in 2013 which will be divided between the Tour Card Holders. The amount that each Card Holder receives depends on their final Tour standing.
Tour Director, Craig Mitchell, said: 'We’ve worked hard to make the Tour one of the most appealing sailing series in the world to sailors. It’s their nature to want to compete against the best. Equally, we appreciate that the Tour Card Holders are our biggest asset and the rigorous selection process ensures the Tour features the best of the best in tight, closely fought match races at every event. That’s what sailing fans come to watch.'
The fact that eight teams could still mathematically win the ISAF Match Racing World Championship at the finale event, the Monsoon Cup, in 2012 is testimony to the selection process and demonstrates how evenly matched these athletes are at the top of match racing.
World Match Racing Tour website