Leading the charge is ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing's Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), who has been spending some time in Valencia training on Victory Challenges SM40's along with fellow antipodean Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) Mirsky Racing. Both teams are hungry for points towards their standings and will be giving it all they've got.
Defending Troia Portugal Match Cup Champion Sébastien COL's (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge will be looking to turn the run of poor form of recent events and set his Championship hopes alight again with a good result.
Fellow Frenchman Mathieu RICHARD and his French Match Racing Team are currently third in the Tour rankings and will be confident about getting a good result with their strong track record in the SM40 having won in Brazil in 2007.
Back on the Tour with a new sponsor, YANMAR Racing's Peter GILMOUR (AUS) will be looking to emulate his success in Portugal in 2007 when he wiped out Ian WILLIAMS' (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar 3-0 in the finals. WILLIAMS however will want to forget that particular encounter and will no doubt be primed and ready for a revenge attack on the seasoned Australian campaigner.
New Tour Card holder, Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team has taken some time to build momentum this year and Troia will be the place for him to start his assault on the World Championship, the two time winner of the Finn Gold Cup and helmsman for Luna Rosa may not be the favourite going into the event but should be one to watch.
After a strong showing in Korea Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onica, will return to Portugal with renewed vigour and with the knowledge that he needs to get some points on the Tour leader board if he intends to challenge for the world title.
Adding a little bit of the unknown to the line up are Ian AINSLIE (RSA), Team Proximo and a young Kiwi team, Phil ROBERTSON's WAKA Racing. AINSLIE is no stranger to the Tour and is currently ranked #10 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and could well take a few of the more favoured scalps given the opportunity. For ROBERTSON Portugal will be his first Tour event though he has also secured an entry to the Danish Open later this year after winning the Warren Jones Youth Regatta. Young he may be but short on experience he isn't having arrived in Europe early on this year to put in some serious hours match racing.
The Tour Qualifier Series has produced two teams for the Portugal Match Cup this year. The Campeonato Absoluto de Match Race has given Álvaro MARINHO (POR), Seth Sailing Team his opportunity to take on the world's best and the Cleanport Winter Challenge hands Andrew ARBUZOV (RUS) a return ticket to the Tour after the Danish Open last year.
Racing starts on Wednesday 17 June with news, pictures, results and video updates available on www.wmrt.org
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K Challenge
Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing
Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Onica
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team
Philippe PRESTI (FRA), French Match Racing Team
Ian AINSLIE (RSA), Team Proximo
Phil ROBERTSON (NZL), WAKA Racing
Álvaro MARINHO (POR), Seth Sailing Team
Andrew ARBUZOV (RUS)
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard
(Top eight teams after Stage 3 of 10)
1. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing, 41 points
2. Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Team Origin, 40 points
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 35 points
4. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 34 points
5. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team, 32 points
6. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 32 points
7. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), YANMAR Racing, 23 points
8. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team, 21 points
The winner of the annual World Match Racing Tour is crowned as ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Find out more at www.sailing.org/matchworlds.