by Event Media
Team Pindar in action - Monsoon Cup 2007
With the top three leading teams in the World Match Racing Tour having gotten no further than the Quarter-Final round at last week’s King Edward VII Gold Cup, the race tightens in the final push for the World Championship. Britain's Ian Williams and Team Pindar will be defending the title they won last year - they lead by just four points going into the final event.
In this eighth event on the nine-stage Tour, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and his Berntsson Sailing Team of Johan Backman, Bjorn Lundgren, and Daniel Wallberg masterfully sailed the International One Designs used for this event to a 3-1 win in the Finals against Adam Minoprio and his Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch Racing Team.
Tour heavyweights Ian Williams and Team Pindar were back in fifth place, Sebastian Col and his French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge in seventh, and Mathieu Richard and his French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit in eighth place.
The toppling at the top has not changed the overall Tour standings among the top three but brings Minoprio and Mirsky, even on fourth place, into play.
And while the event in Bermuda was a tremendous opportunity for teams which don’t normally compete on the Tour go up against the world’s best, the focus will now shift towards who will be in a good position to win the World Championship.
The structure of the ISAF Match Racing World Championship is that skippers earn points towards the title at each stage of the Tour. A total of 100 points are awarded to the top eight finishers: 25 points for first, 20 for second, 15 for third, 12 for fourth, 10 for fifth, 8 for sixth, 6 for seventh and 4 for eighth.
Gilmour and Williams on their way to the finish line - Monsoon Cup 2007
Skippers will be allowed to count a maximum of five finishes plus those points earned at the final stage at the Monsoon Cup regardless of the number of stages they’ve raced. This finale, held over 3-7 December, will award 1.5 times the points to the top eight and it is a non-discard event.
So using this structure on the results to date, the race for the World Crown has tightened the leaderboard standings, and no team’s position is safe. On 92 points, Team Pindar’s lead has shrunk to only 4 points over Col, who in turn is 11 points ahead of Richard.
On strategy going into the final event, Richard said he will be 'very aggressive because we have all to gain and nothing to lose' compared to last year when he had a slim lead in points over Williams, who ended up winning the overall title.
But an event in Malaysia that went like that in Bermuda might very well unseat the Tour leaders even more, since there are so many points at stake and a good result from young teams like Australia's Torvar Mirsky and his Mirsky Racing Team and Minoprio, who are tied on points, very well might vault them over the top and in to the medal zone.
Current World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard (top ten teams) After Stage 8 of 9
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. Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing Team, 53
=. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 53
6. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, 51
7. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 46
8. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza, 43
9. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Alandia Sailing Team, 40
=. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team, 40
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