The ISAF Match Racing World Championship, which concluded at the weekend in Ekaterinberg, Russia, was a light wind affair that was curtailed following the culmination of the second round robin.
It was won - for the second time - by American Ed BAIRD
As well as the World Championship, a number of other Grade 1 and 2 regattas have been included as counting towards a skippers score. The Toscana Elba Cup, Match Race Germany, The Cento Cup and the Swedish Match Cup are to name but a few of the top class open match racing events that have taken place over the last couple of months.
For the Women it has also been a busy mid-year period. Along with the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, which was held in Annapolis, Maryland at the beginning of July, as well as the Women's Antibes Cup, the Swedish Match Women's Cup, and the EUROSAF European Women's Match Racing Championship.
All in all, this period of activity has led to a new leader in the Open Rankings for the first time in two years.
(USA) now has two consecutive World Championship victories under his belt and coupled with a string of other successes he has made it to the top of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings. Not only has Baird displaced the un-movable Karol JABLONSKI
(POL), who has dominated the rankings like very few before him, but the young Ausralian skipper, James SPITHILL
has also leapfrogged the former leader and now resides behind Baird in second place. Jablonski finished second to Baird at the World Championship but it was not enough to hold off the onslaught of Spithill, who despite not attending this years Championship, has amassed enough points to pop up above the Polish Americas' Cup Skipper.
Further back in the top twenty there are a few more interesting shake-ups in the rankings. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), has been conquering almost everything. Having gradually built up some solid grade 1 victories he now rises into the top ten into ninth place. Bearing in mind only a year ago he was in the mid 100's, this is no mean feat.
Russell COUTTS (NZL), Americas' Cup winner, has also priced himself back into the game and after winning the Swedish Match Cup and the Toscana Elba Cup, he jumped up from 53 to 30 position. Coutts does not count any results from last year when he was tied into the Alinghi Syndicate. Now free of that we could see another meteoric rise up the rankings along the same lines as Peter GILMOUR.
In the Women's rankings there is no new leader, in fact the top two remain as they were since the last release at the end of April 2004. Lotte MELDGAARED PEDERSEN
(DEN) still occupies the top spot, her fifth at the Women's World Championship was enough to ensure that was the case.
2004 World Champion Sally BARKOW
(USA), has seen her position pop up one place and she moves from 13 to 12. Counting fewer than the maximum number of events, she will only reap the rewards of her World Championship victory when that event list is full for her and her crew.
(USA), who finished second at the World Championship at the beginning of July, is currently relishing the ranking places that result brought her. She now counts seven out of a possible eight events towards her ranking score and as a result moved up from tenth to seventh.
Full rankings are available by clicking on the Rankings link below.