| 'Andy Shaw chases Ali Hall at the 2012 Royal Southern Match Cup; Umpires in close attendance' Colin Hall |
The 2013 Royal Southern Match Cup, set for Saturday 15th June, is shaping up as a battle between three former ISAF top 100 ranked skippers and three up-and-coming aspirants, including Philip Bendon, this year's BUSA Match Racing Champion, already with a few scalps in their belts.
Alastair Hall (best ISAF rank 39) and Andy Shaw (best 59) were also both BUSA winners in their time, but now they're working for a living they've dropped down the rankings to the 200s. But there's plenty of life in them yet! Ali was third in the RYA National Final last year and Andy won the Southern's Match Cup event last year.
Meanwhile, Annabel Vose, although with the lowest current ranking at 342, is a Women's World 420 Champion and won her heat in the RYA's Winter Match Racing Series at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Although fairly new to match racing, in a recent practice event Annabel won 9/9 starts convincingly.
Philip Bendon (ranked 127) only managed second in his Winter Series heat but since then has taken the BUSA Match Race title and is off to a Grade 2 event in Estonia next week. Philip aims to be in the top 100 within six months, and then some.
James French has been up to 86 in the rankings while Nick Wilkinson is challenging from his current 164 position.
This talented fleet will be sailing in the Royal Southern Academy's own J/80s, supplemented by two more, kindly lent by Southampton Solent University. With a star cast of Umpires and Race Officers, this is the hottest Match Race event so far this year in the UK. There's a lot to play for, not just the Bill Foulkes Aladdin's Cave Trophy and those precious ISAF points, but a guaranteed entry to the RYA Final later this year. The Umpires will be busy!
by Peta Stuart-Hunt
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3:51 PM Wed 12 Jun 2013GMT
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