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18 April 2006, 09:00 am
TAG Heuer To Sponsor Regional Final In St. Thomas
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ISAF Nations Cup 2006
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands Sailing Association have announced TAG Heuer as the title sponsor of the TAG Heuer ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for North America in St. Thomas, US Virgin Island from 8-11 June. VISA is proud to have the ISAF Grade 2 Regional Final join America's Cup teams and transoceanic record setters under the TAG Heuer banner.
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Beth DOWNEY of local TAG Heuer distributor Jewels, plans on using the natural amphitheatre of St. Thomas harbour to showcase both TAG Heuer and the ISAF Nations Cup. The plan includes seating on the waterfront and announcers giving a minute by minute update of the action.

Match racing in the harbour often brings the sailing within metres of the waterfront, giving spectators an intimate appreciation of the intensity of the competition. Only one open and one woman's team will be going to the ISAF Grade 1 Grand Final in Ireland, so the final competition will be fierce.

A Starry Line Up

Top women's teams will include double ISAF Match Racing World Champion Sally BARKOW (USA) and Bermudan star Paula LEWIN, ranked number three and 26 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings respectively.

The open division pre-race favourite would have to be Brian ANGEL (USA), the World number 64 and current US Match Racing Champion, but teams from both the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands are expected to be very strong, due to extensive experience in the IC-24 boat being used for the event. Mike GREEN (LCA) of St. Lucia is another force to be reckoned with, due to his extensive match race experience.

Not all the action is expected to bring to mind the blood thirsty pirates formerly using this harbour. There will be a match racing seminar from 6-7 June for all teams. Many of the Caribbean Island teams are planning on advancing their match racing skills with input from some of the world's best racers, judges and umpires.

Tag-Heuer is not just supporting the organization of the Regional Final, the winning sailors will have a Tag-Heuer precision watch to help them advance in the Grand Final in Ireland.

The ISAF Nations Cup is based on seven ISAF Grade 2 Regional Finals in geographical groups around the world. Each group will host an open and a women's event, held over a four day period, with the winning teams qualifying to represent their nation and their group at the ISAF Grade 1 Grand Final, at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Ireland from 5-9 September.

ISAF Nations Cup Regional Finals And Qualifying Crews

Group Region Host Nation Host Club Dates Open Qualifier Women's Qualifier
Group A
Open
Europe 1 Helsinki
Finland
NJK Match Race Centre 15-18 June
Group A
Women
Europe 1 Machico
Portugal
Quinta do Lorde Yacht Club 2-7 May
Group B
Open/Women
Europe 2 Izola
Slovenia
Jadralno Društvo J/24 29 June-2 July
Group C
Open/Women
Europe 3 London
Great Britain
Queen Mary Resevoir 25-29 April
Group D
Open/Women
Asia Dubai
UAE
Dubai International Marine Club 2-7 April India
Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN
UAE
Bekky BRITTON
Group E
Open/Women
South America Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro 9-13 August
Group F
Open/Women
North America St. Thomas
US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas Yacht Club 8-11 June
Group G
Open/Women
Oceania Auckland
New Zealand
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron 19-24 April

For a complete list of all the news from the ISAF Nations Cup 2006 CLICK HERE.

Walter BOSTWICK. Image, Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN's Indian team celebrate victory:© Tony LEWIS
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