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5 December 2007, 08:46 am
Match Race Rankings - 5 December 2007
Claire LEROY with the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship Trophy
Twenty consecutive Ranking releases in the world #1 spot for Claire LEROY

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

French skippers Mathieu RICHARD and Claire LEROY both hold on to the Open and Women's top spot in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings released 5 December.
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) may have lost out to Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) in the battle for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship title, but the 31 year old Frenchman holds on to the world #1 spot in the Open Rankings. In the Women's Rankings, Claire LEROY (FRA), who was named 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in November, stays in the top spot for an incredible 20th consecutive Ranking release.

Open Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade WC - Monsoon Cup, MAS
Grade WC - Brasil Sailing Cup, BRA
Grade 2 - Berlin Match Race, GER
For ISAF Grade 3-5 events included see www.sailing.org/regattasearch

After hitting the top spot for the first time in October, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) maintains his world #1 status, largely thanks to his victory at the penultimate World Tour event, the ISAF Grade WC Brasil Sailing Cup. Although RICHARD missed out on the ISAF Match Racing World Championship, the Rankings measure performance across a two-year span and by that measure he just has the edge over newly crowned World Champion and world #2 Ian WILLIAMS (GBR). The young French skipper is a remarkably consistent performer: of 33 ISAF Graded events within the two years he has only once finished outside the top ten, and had top-five finishes on 24 occasions.

For WILLIAMS his win at the Monsoon Cup, which also secured him the World title, has helped him close the gap on RICHARD to just 122 points, with these two skippers now a long way ahead of third place Paolo CIAN (ITA).

Like RICHARD, WILLIAMS, aged 30, is one of the younger generation of match racing stars who have steadily come of age on the World Tour. A little over two years he backed his talent by giving up his job as a lawyer and making a full-scale commitment to professional sailing and has never looked back. Last year WILLIAMS finished second to Peter GILMOUR (AUS) in the World Championship standings, and this time round went one better, ending the season in a blaze of glory by defeating GILMOUR to win the last World Tour event of 2007 in Malaysia. As the final act in the match racing year it was a fitting finale and a perfect summation of a year in which the new stars of the match racing world have outshone the older generation.

Behind RICHARD and WILLIAMS, CIAN and Sebastien COL (FRA) remain unchanged at #3 and #4, whilst Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) gains once place up to equal his career best of #5 after a podium finish in Malaysia. Elsewhere there is little movement in the top 20 as the 2007 season comes to a close. Peter WIBROE (DEN) and Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) trades places again with the Dane regaining the world #10 spot, although the Aussie youngster impressed again at the Monsoon Cup. A little further back, Jesper RADICH (DEN) just manages to hold on to his world top 20 place after victory at the ISAF Grade 2 Berlin Match Race.

With the year approaching its end there have been a number of new national champions crowned. Amongst them Matteo SAVELLI (ITA) beat off tough competition to take the Italian national title and climbs up from #173 to #129 in the Rankings. Over in New Zealand, Rod DAVIS got the better of Emirates Team New Zealand team mate and skipper Dean BARKER to win the Kiwi nationals and jump straight into the Rankings at #368.

Women's Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade 1 - Brasil Women's Cup, BRA
Grade 2 - Ladies Only Match Race, GER

Claire LEROY (FRA) has now held on to the world #1 spot in the Women's Rankings for 20 consecutive Ranking releases, an incredible run that started way back in May 2005. The reigning ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion and the 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year has also extended her lead over world #2 Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) up to 297 points.

However LEROY has not had it all own way in the last couple of months of the year. At the ISAF Grade 1 Brasil Women's Cup at the start of November, Sally BARKOW (USA) got the better of the Frenchwomen in the final to win her third ISAF Grade 1 match racing regatta of the year. Whilst LEROY has been one of the most consistent and regular performers on the women's circuit, BARKOW's appearances have been more infrequent and interspersed with her Yngling Olympic campaign. However the American skipper has been no less impressive than her French counterpart, finishing on the podium in every one of the five ISAF Graded events she has entered. Despite only counting six of a possible eight events in her Ranking points total, she maintains her world #5 spot.

In fact, it's a case of as you were in the top five, with Katie SPITHILL (AUS) and Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA) also remaining unmoved at #3 and #4 respectively.

The only significant change at the top sees another Yngling campaigner, Silja LEHTINEN (FIN) reclaim her spot in the world top ten. After winning the ISAF Grade 2 Ladies Only Match Race in Hamburg, LEHTINEN climbs up three places to #10. The move of notes comes from Brazil's Caroline BEJAR, who gains four places up to #41 after her fifth place finish at the Brasil Sailing Cup. Laura SALERNO (ARG), who finished one place behind BEJAR in Brazil, is the first Argentinean to join the Women's Rankings, going straight in at #116.

Open Rankings - www.sailing.org/mrorankings
Women's Rankings - www.sailing.org/mrwrankings
ISAF Events & World Rankings homepage - www.sailing.org/events

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