For match-racing fans, the past few years have been a tough dry spell, at least when it comes to fully crewed, sky's-the-limit war chests and multi-year build ups leading to sailing's holy grail. Shy of Cup sailing, which won't kick up again until next year, ISAF's Match Racing World title, now known as the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), currently offers some of the hottest match racing anywhere on planet earth.
Many famous AC names got their start on this hyper-competitive field, which continues to be populated by some of sailing's hottest helms. The final event of this year's WMRT, the Monsoon Cup, held in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, began yesterday and runs through December 5.
This year's event features a serious showdown between five of the world's best including Ian Williams (GBR), Ben Ainslie, (GBR), Torvor Mirsky (AUS), Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Mathieu Richard (FRA).
World Match Racing Tour action Subzero Images /WMRT
'We've come here with the lead on the Tour and its great to have the number-one ranking,' said Tour leader Mathieu Richard. 'Adam [Minoprio] and Ben [Ainslie] are close and with so many points on offer anything can happen. We can't afford to try and calculate where we need to finish, we need to aim to win.
At the Monsoon Cup we have had so-so results. We reached the final some years ago and lost to Peter Holmberg of Alinghi. We've also had some not so good races like last year when we came fifth. Our results have been so-so but we know we can do well here.'
Brit Ian Williams had a 3-0 day, Ainslie was 2-1 and Richard had a aweful 0-2 and the sharks are circling . Pay close attention to this ensuing tussle as the event plays out. Sail-World.com had live coverage and all the details.
While it's disappointing to not see any American names in the top five, we can only hope that match racing's rising popularity in the U.S.—as well as top-flight facilities such as the Chicago Match Racing Center—will help change this trend in years to come.
May the four winds blow you safely home.
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