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9 May 2007, 12:00 pm
Rankings Released 9 May 2007
Ian WILLIAMS at the Monsoon Cup
Top of the Pops! - new world #1 Ian WILLIAMS

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) becomes the first ever Brit to hit the world #1 spot in the latest release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings on 9 May. In the Women's Rankings Claire LEROY (FRA) makes it an incredible two unbroken years at the top.

How The Rankings Work

The ISAF World Match Race Rankings rate skippers based on their performances over the last two years. Skippers score points by competing in ISAF Graded events. Each skipper can count a maximum of four events in each of the two most recent years, which are calculated over a rolling 24 months. The most points are up for grabs at World Championship events, followed by ISAF Grade 1 events, Grade 2 etc.

The tables show the new ISAF Grade WC and ISAF Grade 1-3 events included in this Ranking release.

The next Rankings release will be on 6 June 2007 following on from the ISAF Grade 1 Santa Maria Cup in the USA. This will be the fourth release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings in 2007.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Open

ISAF Grade Nation Event
Grade 3 ITA Selection for Blurimini
Match Race
USA Pacific Life Yacht Club
Challenge
FRA Championnat de France
Match Racing
ITA Match Race Fernando
Miele
GER Alster Match Race
Act 6
FRA Morbihan Match Race G3
SVK Slovak Match Race
NZL New Zealand Youth
Match Race
SUI Swiss Tour Leg 1
GBR Mermaid Match Race
IND Indian Match Race
SLO Slovenia Match Race
Cup Qualifier
USA Bayview Spring Match
Race

After five months at #2, Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) finally displaces Sébastien COL (FRA) and reaches the top spot in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, the first-ever British skipper to do so. It was only two years ago that WILLIAMS, now aged 30, took a sabbatical from his job as a lawyer to fully commit himself to the match racing circuit. So far it has proved an inspired career-choice. 2005 was highlighted by wins at ISAF Grade 1 events in France and Poland. At the same time WILLIAMS gradually established himself as a regular on the World Match Racing Tour, with a string of strong finishes towards the end of the 2005-06 season resulting in him finishing second overall behind Peter GILMOUR (AUS).

From then on things have only got better. Victory at the Bermuda Gold Cup was a watershed moment, his first win on the World Tour and a win that also moved him to the top of the World Championship Standings. A third at the Monsoon Cup extended his Tour lead and victory in Marseille earlier this year means he has finally ended COL's run in the #1 spot.

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India's top match racer
Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN
moves to #57
© Tony Lewis

New #2

Behind WILLIAMS, his regular rival Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) moves up to #2 as COL, in Valencia on America's Cup duty behind the wheel of Areva Challenge, drops to #3. Reigning World Champion GILMOUR is at #4, with another Cupper, Shosholoza's Paolo CIAN (ITA) at #5.

With no new event above ISAF Grade 3 in this Ranking release there are precious few other changes at the top, with the return to the top 20 for Luna Rossa helm James SPITHILL (AUS) the only other move of note.

Further back, new French National Champion Victor LANIER (FRA) is new into the top 50, going from #52 to #40, whilst Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND) confirmed his status as India's top match racer by winning the nationals to move up to #57.

As Chris DICKSON (NZL) and Dean BARKER (NZL) face off today in a battle for the top spot in the Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin, a potential Kiwi star of the future gets a big boost up the Rankings as Josh JUNIOR (NZL), winner of the ISAF Grade 3 Yachting New Zealand Youth Match Racing National Championships, gains over 100 places frpm #315 to #197.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Open

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ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Women

ISAF Grade Nation Event
Grade 1 ESP Women's Match Race
Criterium
Grade 3 POR Quinta do Vale Women's
Match
FRA Spring Cup in St Quay
NZL New Zealand Women's
Match Race
USA Rolex Women's Match

Claire LEROY's (FRA) win at the ISAF Grade 1 International Women Match Race Criterium was the latest nail in the coffin for her rivals in the Women's Rankings, with the 27 year old now 1,179 points clear of her nearest rival Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN). LEROY has held the world #1 spot for 19 consecutive Ranking releases adding up to an unbroken two-year spell at the top. Such is her current lead that run looks set to continue well into 2007, especially after her latest win in Spain.

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Two years at the top for
Claire LEROY
© Victor Villalba

Although LEROY only narrowly made the knockout stages in Calpe, after winning a tie against Katie SPITHILL (AUS), she then whitewashed both world #3 and defending champion Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED) and then MELDGAARD PEDERSEN 3-0 to take the title.

Behind LEROY the rest of the top five is unchanged, with MELDGAARD PEDERSEN well clear at #2 after reaching the final in Calpe, and ZUIDERBAAN just ahead of Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) in the world #3 slot. The only move in the top ten sees Nicky SOUTER (AUS) climb up four places to #8 following her win at the ISAF Grade 3 RNZYS New Zealand Women's Match Racing Championships. The four-time Australian Champion was completely dominant in a light-wind regatta in Auckland, winning every race she competed in.

Moving Up

Just outside the top ten, reigning European Champion Sabrina GURIOLI (ITA) climbs seven places to #14 after taking the runners up spot at the ISAF Grade 3 Quinta do Vale Women's Match in Portugal. Winner in Portugal, Rita GONCALVES (POR), moves up three places to #35. Another climber is 2002 World Champion Liz BAYLIS (USA), whose win at the ISAF Grade 3 Rolex Women's Match helps her move from #27 to #20.

Further down a couple of names to look out for in their future make their mark on this Ranking release. Rossana RAMOS (BRA) moves from #61 to a career-best #39 following a third place in Portugal, whilst Malaysia's Tiffany KOO makes her debut on the Women's Rankings at #97, following a fifth place in Auckland.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Women

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The next Rankings release will be on 6 June 2007 following on from the ISAF Grade 1 Santa Maria Cup in the USA.

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