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19 August 2007, 09:41 am
Ready To Roll In St Moritz
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Everything is set for the off in St Moritz

St Moritz Match Race 2007
St Moritz, Switzerland

The 12 teams competing in the ISAF Grade WC St Moritz Match Race are ready to go following Tuesday's practice session, on a day when the sun had to fight bravely to break through predominantly cloudy skies in the morning, before settling in for much of the afternoon.
A calm morning gave way to stronger, gusty breezes later in the day, allowing a good training session for the teams. Time on the water ahead of Wednesday's first races is important, with critical World Match Racing Tour ranking points at stake this week, along with 150,000 Swiss Francs (approximately US$125,000) and the coveted 'King of the Mountain' title.

The teams greedily lapped up their allotted three hours of practice on the unique Streamline 7.15 keelboats, which are smaller (at 7.15 metres) than the typical boat on the World Match Race Tour, and feature trapeze hiking for the crews to add stability to the boat when the wind is up.

The inshore venue on Lake St Moritz is also smaller than that typically found on tour, and promises to offer extremely challenging conditions, with shoreline effect windshifts and gusts making no lead safe until the winning boat has crossed the finishing line.

This event features the top four ranked sailors on the World Match Racing Tour, including the defending champion at St Moritz, Paolo CIAN (ITA), who will be eager to get back on a winning track after a disappointing result (11th) at the Danish Open last week. CIAN is third on the overall tour ranking.

'The lake is difficult and unpredictable and the boat is different to what we use everywhere else, which is one of the reasons why this event is so much fun,'

said CIAN following his training session Tuesday afternoon.

'The pre-start is also very different here; it's almost impossible to lock another boat out of the start so you really have to focus on time and distance and choosing the correct side of the race course to defend. It's not going to be easy.'

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), who topped the World Match Race Tour table before having a difficult time in Denmark (tenth place) and slipping to second on the ranking, will be aggressively pursuing victory here in Switzerland.

He trails Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), who is now at the top of the table on the World Match Racing Tour after earning a third place finish in Copenhagen by defeating Sébastien COL (FRA) in the petit-final. COL arrives in St Moritz in fourth position on the championship board.

But it's not just the tour leaders who are competing in Switzerland. Two-time St Moritz winner Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) will seek his third 'King of the Mountain' title after claiming the title in 2003 and 2004, and finishing second in 2005. He had a podium finish (third place) in last year's event.

And fresh off victory with the Swiss team Alinghi at the America's Cup, Jochen SCHUEMANN (GER) will have plenty of local support. Meanwhile, Michael HESTBEK (DEN), who is with the United Internet Team Germany America's Cup team, is also in St Moritz, seeking World Match Racing Tour glory.

The rest of the field doesn't make the competition any easier. Eugeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS) and his Lord of the Sail team have only competed in two events on the current edition of the World Match Race Tour, but they scored well, earning 12 points from a fourth place finish in Germany. That came after a semi-final loss to Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) in Langenargen, who just missed on scoring points in Copenhagen with a ninth place finish.

The home favourites will surely be Eric MONNIN (SUI) who finished in seventh place last year in St Moritz, and Matthias RENKER (SUI). MONNIN will be looking to make the final four in front of a home crowd in St Moritz this week, while RENKER is attempting to build on solid results on the Alinghi Swiss Tour over the past couple of years. RENKER, along with Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA) are attempting to score their first points on the World Match Racing Tour.

The St Moritz Match Race 2007 will be sailed on Lake St Moritz, which is located in the Engadin region of the southeastern Swiss Alps. At an elevation of nearly 2,000 metres above sea level, it is likely the 'highest' match racing event in the world.

Racing in the opening group round robin format is scheduled to begin at 11:00 on Wednesday. The top three teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals. The remaining six teams sail a repechage round with the top two qualifying for the quarterfinals.

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Standings

(After Stage 10)

Pos

Skipper

Nation

ISAF World Match
Race Ranking

Team

Pts

1

Ian WILLIAMS

GBR

1

Team Pindar

97

2

Mathieu RICHARD

FRA

2

Saba Sailing Team

88

3

Paolo CIAN

ITA

3

Team Viano Mercedes Benz

74

4

Sébastien COL

FRA

4

Areva Challenge

71

5

Peter GILMOUR

AUS

40

PST

60

6

Bjorn HANSEN

SWE

5

Team Apport.net

59

7

Jesper BANK

DEN

15

United Internet Team Germany

53

8

Ed BAIRD

USA

27

Alinghi

40

World Match Racing Tour Schedule

(2006-2007 Season)

Stage

Event

Venue

Date

Stage 1

Portugal Match Cup

Cascais, Portugal

18-23 July 2006

Stage 2

Danish Open

Copenhagen, Denmark

9-13 August 2006

Stage 3

St. Moritz Match Race

St Moritz, Switzerland

15-20 August 2006

Stage 4

Bermuda Gold Cup

Hamilton, Bermuda

10-15 October 2006

Stage 5

Allianz Cup

San Francisco, USA

24-29 October

Stage 6

Monsoon Cup

Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

28 November-3 December 2006

Stage 7

Match Race Germany

Langenargen, Germany

23-28 May 2007

Stage 8

GKSS Match Race

Marstrand, Sweden

2-8 July 2007

Stage 9

Portugal Match Cup

Cascais, Portugal

24-25 July 2007

Stage 10

Danish Open

Copenhagen, Denmark

8-12 August 2007

Stage 11

St. Moritz Match Race

St Moritz, Switzerland

14-19 August 2007

Stage 12

Latium Match Cup

Fiumicino, Italy

11-16 September 2007

Stage 13

Locman Cup - Elba Island

Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy

25-30 September 2007

Stage 14

Bermuda Gold Cup

Hamilton, Bermuda

9-14 October 2007

Stage 15

Brasil Sailing Cup

Angra dos Reis, Brazil

23-28 October 2007

Stage 16

Monsoon Cup

Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

28 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.

For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.

Kirsten Bollinger (As Amended By ISAF)
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