ISAF Match Racing World Tour (WMRT) is the world’s leading professional sailing series featuring nine World Championship events across the globe.
This year will see an exciting mix of Tour Card Holders compete to be the ISAF Match Racing World Champion. With three skippers - Johnie Berntsson, Phil Robertson and Damien Iehl – making their debuts as Tour Card Holders and experienced Tour sailors like Peter Gilmour and Ian Williams returning for another bite of the cherry, the 2011 season is all teed up to be an enthralling battle. So who’s who and what does sailing expert Andy Green make of their chances?
Team: French Match Racing Team
2010 WMRT placing: second
ISAF ranking: third
Tour record: Two WMRT second places, one WMRT third place, six event wins, six event runner-ups, five event third-places, 29 top five event finishes
Andy’s analysis: 'His team enjoy themselves and get better each year. This team is a big title contender.'
Team: Mirsky Racing
2010 WMRT placing: third
ISAF ranking: fourth
Tour race record: one WMRT second place, one WMRT third place, one event win, five event runner-ups, two event third places, 15 top five event finishes
Andy’s analysis: 'Torvar is my pick, I think he has a real shot this year.'
Team: Team GAC Pindar
2010 WMRT placing: fifth
ISAF ranking: fifth
Tour race record: two WMRT wins, four event wins, five event runner-ups, seven event third places, 27 top five event finishes
Andy’s analysis: 'He needs to relax a little, sail on instinct and enjoy himself more.'
Team: Radich Racing Team
2010 WMRT placing: sixth
ISAF ranking: 21st
Tour race record: one WMRT win, five event wins, four event runner-ups, four event third places, 16 top five event finishes
Andy's analysis: 'I think he will be really tough to beat in 2011.'
Team: Mascalzone Latino
2010 WMRT placing: seventh
ISAF ranking: 10th
Tour race record: one event third place, three top five event finishes
Andy’s analysis: 'Bruni needs more practice and consistency.'
Team: YANMAR Racing
2010 WMRT placing: eighth
ISAF ranking: 12th
Tour race record: three WMRT wins, 13 event wins, six event runner-ups, seven event third places, 38 top five event finishes
Andy’s analysis: 'Peter is not practicing as much as he used to and not being as ruthless. If he can re-introduce these two factors in his game he will win again.'
Team: Berntsson Sailing Team
2010 WMRT placing: 13th
ISAF ranking: 20th
Tour race record: three event wins, two event third places, six top five event finishes
Andy's analysis: 'JB will do pretty well this year, he is a good talent who has won some big events in the past. He has an affable disposition, takes his racing seriously but enjoys the lift.'
Team: French match Racing Team
2010 WMRT placing: 15th
ISAF rankings: 11th
Tour race record: one event win, one event runner-up, five top five event finishes
Andy's analysis: 'Is he good enough to be consistently winning? I'm not sure, time will tell. He's a dark horse capable of much but will he deliver?'
Nationality: New Zealand
Team: WAKA Racing
2010 WMRT placing: 21st
ISAF ranking: ninth
Tour race record: five top ten event finishes
Andy's analysis: 'Phil needs to not lose the character and fun that engaged his fans and kept him relaxed and winning. Don't try win everything in two years.' Andy’s Analysis
With 2010 having provided one of the closest ever races for the WMRT title, anticipation is building as to whether this season the competition will be just as tight. Professional sailor and renowned commentator Andy Green gives his expert opinion on what he thinks this year’s Tour will bring to the table.
Who will have the winning touch this season:
'I think there will be three teams contesting for the title by the Monsoon Cup in 2011. Torvar Mirsky, Jesper Radich and Mathieu Richard. I think Torvar will edge it.'
'I think because of the format of six events to count it ensures a close finish to the championship. I also think it’s very difficult to totally dominate every event because of the different boats and very different sailing venues.'
Shake up of Tour Card Holders:
'I think it’s great to have veterans and newcomers, it really mixes up the sailing on the water. I enjoy how the newcomers are trying new moves and techniques and often have very aggressive ambitions in their results. The older players are sometimes more calm and considered. I like the mix.'
Most excited to watch:
'Radich take on Mirsky'
Different locations suit different sailors:
'Richard is good in light airs, Gilmour is good in bigger boats and Berntsson for some reason likes heavier slower boats. Why? Most likely because they have most experience in either these boats or conditions. Sometimes it’s about suiting someone’s style or thinking.'
The challenge of match racing:
'I think the most important thing in match racing is being able to constantly learn and improve. It combines every part of sailing and distils it so that one mistake you might make in tactics or boat speed is punished very hard. In fleet racing you can come back, minimise losses or finish well, even if you make a mistake. In match racing if you make a mistake you lose. It’s very binary. 1 or 0, win or lose. It makes for compelling simple to understand racing.'
World Match Racing Tour - WMRT website