Sébastien COL (FRA) stays top of the Open Rankings ahead of the 2007 and 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), and another member of the all-conquering French Racing Team, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA).
Both COL and WILLIAMS were in action at the major event in the latest Ranking period, the ISAF Grade 1 Louis Vuitton Pacific Series held in Auckland at the start of February. COL, WILLIAMS and Italy's world #4 skipper Paolo CIAN were amongst the regulars from the World Match Racing Tour who seized the opportunity to line up against some of the sport's biggest stars in America's Cup class boats. However it was the big names who dominated proceedings, with Kiwi skipper Dean BARKER leading Emirates Team New Zealand to victory in the final over America's Cup Defender Alinghi, with American Ed BAIRD at the helm.
BARKER climbs over 150 places from #312 in the Rankings to #147, whilst Baird, a three-time winner of the ISAF Match Racing World Championship, is slightly higher at #122. BAIRD is likely to become a bigger feature on the Ranking list as the year progresses, with the announcement he will lead an Alinghi team on this year's World Tour circuit.
Claire LEROY (FRA) maintains her position as the world #1 women's skipper and is now closing in a remarkable four-year unbroken run at the top of the Rankings. LEROY has topped the Ranking list since May 2005, although her only appearances on the circuit this year have been at home events in France. Behind the French skipper, Linda RAHM (SWE) stays at #2.
LEROY's absence meant the field was wide open for the first appearance of Women's Match Racing on the ISAF Sailing World Cup at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR. Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) seized the chance to grab an early lead in the World Cup Standings by scoring an impressive victory. That win helps the Danish skipper cements her world #4 ranking in this release.
The runners up spot in Miami went to Giulia CONTI of Italy, best known as a two-time Olympian and World Championship silver medallist in the 470. However CONTI is also an experienced match racing skipper and, especially with her early success in the new Olympic discipline, will have a difficult job weighing up her options for a London 2012 campaign. Her second-place finish in Miami lifts her up from #53 to #36 in this Ranking release.
The biggest move at the top again comes from British skipper Lucy MACGREGOR, who completed the podium with a third place finish in Miami. The 2008 European Women's Match Racing Champion only broke in to the world top 10 in October last year, but hasn't taken long to make a big impact and shake up the more experienced names around her. Her bronze medal performance at the second event of the ISAF Sailing World Cup boosts her up two places in this release to a career-best Ranking of #3.
The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 1 April 2009.
ISAF World Match Race Rankings - www.sailing.org/mrrankings