by Dobbs Davis
After last weekend’s Troia Portugal Match Cup, Sebastian Col and French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge have closed to within four points of current leader and reigning World Champion, Britain's Ian Williams and Team Pindar. The 2008 world series counts the five highest-scoring events plus scores from the season ending Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.
The 25 points Col earned in Portugal, along with another 25 for his win at the Korea Match Cup, 20 for being runner-up in Denmark, 10 for his fifth-placed finish in St Moritz and 8 points earned for being sixth in Germany, has put him only four points off the top of the World Tour leaderboard.
Ian Williams and Team Pindar, only earned six points for 7th place which allowed the advancing French to close when considering the available throw-out scores.
And Richard’s string of strong finishes in St Moritz (1st), Portugal (3rd), Germany (3rd) and Sweden (4th) have him lurking not far behind in third place and ready to make a play for the lead. Richard is a significant threat: besides being ranked No. 1 in the world by ISAF, he has not finished worse than fifth in any Tour event yet this year, and tussled with Williams for the lead last year leading right up to the final event in Malaysia.
So the stage is set for high drama at next week’s penultimate Tour event at the King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda, which was won by Richard last year. Out of a massive field of 24 entries, eight of the top ten teams on the World Tour leaderboard will be in attendance, with only Holmberg and Cian sitting this one out.
Current World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard - top ten teams:
1. Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar, 92 points
2. Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 88
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 77
4. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 53
5. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, 51
6. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 43
7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 40
8. Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team, 37
9. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34
10. Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing, 33
Event website - www.worldmatchracingtour.com