Five skippers vie for the World Match Racing champion title
[Source: World Match Racing Tour] With five skippers still in with a chance of winning the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) as the series heads for the final event of the season at the Monsoon Cup, WMRT has drawn comparisons to the recent grandstand finish in Formula 1 which saw four drivers go into the final Grand Prix of the year with a shot at winning the title.
Just as F1 had a sting in its tail with Vettel, who went into the last race in third place, snatching the title, WMRT is being tipped to have an equally dramatic climax at the Monsoon Cup, which is being held at the five-star Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Kuala Terengganu from 30 November to 5 December.
Matthieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team will go into the final event of the year with a 15 point lead over defending Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing while Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN is just two points further back. Australia’s Torvar Mirsky, Mirsky Racing Team and two-time World Champion Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar are also still in with an outside chance.
Sailing pundit Mark Chisnell, who has watched the action unfold throughout the season, has called into question championship leader Matthieu Richard’s preparation saying: “I was interested to see that he’s chosen to race in Perth just before the Monsoon Cup. Mathieu is very methodical in his preparation, and I’m sure he’s got a plan, but this year his worst results have come in events that followed closely one after another – not a particularly good omen for him.”
While Chisnell believes the race is too close to call between Richard, Minoprio and Ainslie, he has all but written off the chances of Williams and Mirsky adding, “Even if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put a pound on it, it’s just too close. I’d only say that it will be Richard, Minoprio or Ainslie – too much has to go the way of Mirsky or Williams for them to come from behind and take it. But after that, it’s wide open.”
Chisnell has also warned of the impact the rest of the field will have in deciding the outcome. With all the skippers having to take part in the Qualifying Round Robin to win their place in the knock out stages no-one is guaranteed a place in the final.
Alluding to the importance of the rest of the teams, Chisnell said, “They could have a huge impact – last year, it was decided when Peter Gilmour beat Torvar Mirsky in the quarter-finals. Gilly couldn’t overhaul Minoprio to win it by then, but instead, he stopped the man who could.”