In celebration of the anniversary the ACI Cup has relocated to Rovinj, on the Istra peninsula in upper Croatia, from Split, where it had been held for the past ten years. The ACI Cup moved out of Rovinj during the War in the Balkans of the 1990s, but moved back for the anniversary and for presenting sponsor Adris Group d.d., a conglomerate based in Rovinj with interests in tourism.
Event organizers from the Adriatic Croatia International Club (ACI) and the Yacht Club Croatia (YCC) made the announcement at a press conference yesterday kicking off the event, which is three weeks away.
They have also increased the prize purse. This year the ACI Cup will award a 50,000€ purse (approximately $65,000), with 20,000€ (approx. $25,000) earmarked for the champion. Last year the prize purse was $40,000 and the champion won $15,000. As in the past, the Jeanneau 35 One Design is the boat of choice.
'I would like to point out the importance the ACI Cup brings to promotion of Croatia in the world,' said Anto VIOLIĆ, chief executive of ACI. 'The ACI Adris Match Race Cup is broadcast worldwide by World Match Racing Tour television, so 600 million households can see the beauty of the Croatian coast through this event.'
Heading the list of entries is Australian Peter GILMOUR, who leads the World Tour with the high score of 48 points, and yesterday made it four straight releases of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings in the number one spot. He missed competing at the tour event in Brazil last March due to visa problems, but will have a chance to extend that lead in Croatia.
|Peter GILMOUR (far right) and his crew
celebrate victory last year
© Guido CANTINI/SEA&SEE
'Croatia is one of the events that you have to admire what the ACI Marina has done over the years,' said GILMOUR, the 46 year old skipper from Perth, Western Australia. 'They've stuck it out through thick and thin. You get a sense that they love the sport, and the Dalmatian coastline is perfectly suited to sailing. For me it's satisfying to live through the war years in the 90s and see how the event has developed and flourished from there.'
GILMOUR believes that Croatian sailors have benefited from the event.
'I think one of the knock on effects is the great talent coming up through the ranks,' he said. 'Croats have won championships in Optimists, Lasers, 470s and on up to bigger boats. It's exciting to see how all of that has evolved.'
Other confirmed entries include the World Tour's third ranked skipper, Staffan LINDBERG of Åland Islands, Finland. The 34 year old LINDBERG trails eleven points behind GILMOUR. The complete entry list is still to be confirmed.
After the conclusion of the ACI Cup the World Tour heads to Lake Constance in southwest Germany for the tenth anniversary ISAF Grade 1 Match Race Germany, from 1-5 June in Langenargen.
After Match Race Germany the World Tour concludes its seventh season at the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup - Trofeo Locman, from 11-16 July on Elba Island off the Tuscany region of Italy's west coast.
World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After 5 of 8 Stages)
|2||Ben AINSLIE||GBR||32||Emirates Team New Zealand||45|
|3||Staffan LINDBERG||FIN||13||Alandia Sailing Team||37|
||NZL||14||Beau Geste Sailing Team||32|
|7.||James SPITHILL||AUS||2||Luna Rossa||25|
|7.||Jesper BANK||DEN||65||United Internet Team Germany||25|
|7.||Dean BARKER||NZL||12||Emirates Team New Zealand||25|
World Match Racing Tour Schedule
|Stage 1||PTPortugal Match Cup*||Cascais, Portugal||19-24 July 2005|
|Stage 2||Danish Open*||Copenhagen, Denmark||10-14 August 2005|
|Stage 3||St. Moritz Match Race*||St. Moritz, Switzerland||16-21 August 2005|
|Stage 4||Monsoon Cup*||Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia||29 November-4 December 2005|
|Stage 5||Brasil Sailing Cup||Angra dos Reis, Brazil||14-19 March 2006|
|Stage 6||ACI H1 Match Race Cup||Rovinj, Croatia||23-28 May 2006|
|Stage 7||Match Race Germany||Langenargen, Germany||1-5 June 2006|
|Stage 8||Toscana Elba Cup||Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy||11-16 July 2006|
* Originally contested as part of the Swedish Match Tour
The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. BMW is a Partner of the World Tour and the Official Car. World Tour sponsors include Sebago, the Official Footwear Supplier, Musto, the Official Clothing Supplier, and Travel Places, the Official Travel Partner.
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.
For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.