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3 June 2004, 10:36 am
Olympic Sailors Are Main Attraction
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Match Race Brazil
Sao Paolo

The second edition of Match Race Brazil, to be sailed in Beneteau 40.7s, opens today at the Buzios Yacht Club, in Rio de Janeiro. The first leg of the competition features ten skippers who will represent Brazil in the 2004 Olympic Games, in August.
Sailing has given four of the twelve gold medals that Brazil conquered in Olympic history, thus increasing the hopes of another good performance in Greece.

Torben GRAEL, who will team with Marcelo FERREIRA in the men's Keelboat event in the Star class, will try a back-to-back win in Match Race Brazil. He leads an experienced crew in Buzios, with tactician Marcelo FERREIRA and Kiko PELICANO as key members. In Athens, Grael will try for his fifth Olympic medal, having one gold, one silver and two bronze already. (See chart below)

"Although the main focus is in the Star class, we'll try to repeat last year's good performance in Match Race, when we won all three legs", commented Grael, 43, who is also six-time World Champion. "I just got back from Europe last Tuesday, and we'll have to tune the teamwork during the competition".

The other "Olympians" in the competition are João Joca SIGNORINI (Finn), Robert SCHEIDT (Laser), André FONSECA and Rodrigo DUARTE (49er), Maurício SANTA CRUZ and João Carlos JORDÃO (Tornado), Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Adriana KOSTIW (470). The next two legs are scheduled to Ilhabela, from September 16 to 19, and Rio de Janeiro, between November 18 and 21.

New Features
Foreign crews, a Women's Cup and a Pro-Am regatta, teaming professional and amateur sailors, are some of the new features for the 2004 edition, which aims to popularize the sport and attract the media interest. For that, the tournament has simple rules, short regattas and is held next to the coast, thus giving easy access to the public.

Portuguese sailor Gustavo LIMA, 2003 Laser World Champion, and Argentinean Torkel BORSTROM will lead the invited foreign crews. As in 2003, the regattas will be sailed in Bénéteau 40.7 boats, rigorously identical, that will be drafted to the skippers.

The Women's Cup will be sailed with four J24's, crewed by feminine teams with four sailors each. The skippers will be Isabel FICKER, Isabela MALPIGHI, Caroline BEJAR and Fernanda OLIVEIRA. The Pro-Am will be a fleet regatta, with the four Bénéteau commanded by Torben GRAEL, Alan ADLER, Robert SCHEIDT and Gustavo LIMA, with crews composed of three professional and seven amateur sailors.

Another novelty are the two crews selected in national qualifying rounds, organized by the Brazilian Sail Federation (FBVM) in May, in Rio de Janeiro's Flamengo Beach. The competition, called Brasil Match Cup, featured 12 crews in J24 boats, and the vessels skipped by Daniel GLOMB and Maurício SANTA CRUZ secured the slots.

Joining Torben GRAEL, Gustavo LIMA, Torkel BORSTROM, Daniel GLOMB and Maurício SANTA CRUZ in the competition, last year's runner-up Alan ADLER, Joca SIGNORINI and Andre "Bochecha" FONSECA. The eight crews will fight for a sum of R$ 40,000 (approximately US$ 12,000) in prizes each leg, with R$ 120,000 (almost US$ 40,000) as the total money prize. The regattas of the first leg will be held in front of the Buzios Yacht Club, in Ossos Beach.

Organized by Vela Brasil, a sports market venture created with the sole purpose of developing professional sailing in Brazil, Match Race Brasil uses the same rules of the Louis Vuitton Cup, qualifying series for the America's Cup, the most traditional sailing competition in the world, with more than 150 years of history.

"The essence of Match Racing is to get in front of your opponent, with the tactics of 'shadowing' the other guy more important than pure speed", explains Alan ADLER, former Star World Champion, J24 silver medalist in the Pan-American Games of Santo Domingo and director of Vela Brasil. "One of the great secrets is to get as good a start as possible".

Match Race Brasil is a Vela Brasil competition, with supervision of Brazilian Sailing Federation (FBVM), and the support of Buzios Mayor Office and Armação de Buzios Yacht Club. The competition is sponsored by Vivo, Motorola, UBS, Varig, Braskem and Volvo.

Brazilian Olympic Medallists
Gold

Moscow/80
470 - Eduardo PENIDO/Marcos SOARES
Tornado - Alex WELTER/Lars BJÖRKSTRÖN

Atlanta/96
Laser - Robert SCHEIDT
Star - Torben GRAEL/Marcelo FERREIRA

Silver

Los Angeles/84
Soling - Torben GRAEL/Daniel ADLER/Ronaldo SENFT

Sydney/2000
Laser - Robert SCHEIDT

Bronze

Mexico/68
Flying Dutchman - Reinaldo CONRAD/Burkhard CORDES

Montreal/76
Flying Dutchman - Reinaldo CONRAD/Peter FICKER

Seoul/88
Star - Torben GRAEL/Nélson FALCÃO
Tornado - Lars GRAEL/Clínio de FREITAS

Atlanta/96
Tornado - Lars GRAEL/Kiko PELLICANO

Sydney/2000
Star - Torben GRAEL/Marcelo FERREIRA
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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