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9 November 2006, 10:57 am
Cup Set To Become One Of Sailing's Richest Events
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Monsoon Cup 2006
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

The World Match Racing Tour resumes its 2006-07 season at the end of the month with stage 6, the ISAF Grade WC Monsoon Cup, from 29 November-3 December in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.
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In its second year the Monsoon Cup has gained prominent status on the World Tour. It offers the richest prize purse for a sailing event, MR1 million (approximately $275,000), an increase of more than two and a half times last year's purse, with the winner set to earn MR250,000 (approx. $68,000).

World Class Sailing

The Monsoon Cup was created last year to bring world class professional sailing to Malaysia and Southeast Asia. The inaugural event created an unprecedented economic return for Malaysia and the region of Terengganu. That success prompted the signing of Richard Mille Watches as title sponsor, which has helped increase the prize purse.

'The World Tour is delighted to see the Monsoon Cup increase its prize money so substantially in such a short amount of time,' said World Tour President Scott MACLEOD. 'Organizer Datuk Patrick LIM and his team deserve a lot of credit for setting a new standard on the tour.'

The Monsoon Cup will be the last ISAF Grade WC match race regatta before next year's Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup and the last opportunity for crews to gain practice and interact with the on water umpires.

World Champ Lines Up

Monsoon Cup 2005 winner and 2006 World Champion Peter GILMOUR (AUS), skipper of PST, is back to defend his title against the likes of Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Team Pindar, the current World Championship leader.

There also are four Cup syndicates in the mix, including Alinghi skippered by Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Luna Rossa Challenge led James SPITHILL (AUS), Areva Challenge with world number one Sébastian COL (FRA) at the helm and Team Shosholoza led by world number two Paolo CIAN (ITA).

A fifth Cup team almost entered, represented by BMW ORACLE Racing founder and owner Larry ELLISON (USA). Two weeks ago at stage 5, the ISAF Grade WC Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle, Monsoon Cup Technical Director GILMOUR extended a wild card invitation to ELLISON, who finished sixth in his round robin. A formal invitation was extended by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad BADAWI, but ELLISON had to decline.

Local Female Challenge

One of the goals of the Monsoon Cup is to spread match racing across the region. In September organizers for the event held the inaugural ISAF Grade 3 Malaysian Match Racing Championship and ISAF Grade 4 Asian Match Racing Championship. The winners of those events, Malaysian Tiffany KOO and Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), gained entry to the Monsoon Cup.

KOO will be the first Malaysian woman to compete in an ISAF Grade WC match race regatta. As an added highlight KOO turns 22 years old on 29 November, the first scheduled day of racing.

'I'm very excited and feeling great to be able to meet and sail against the world's best skippers,' said KOO, who has been sailing since she was 7 years old. 'I'm expecting it's going to be very tough competition and not easy as this is my first international match race against the professionals, but what is more important is that I know that I am going to gain a lot more experience from the Monsoon Cup.'

A total of 12 teams are planned. The Heritage Bay Club in Kuala Terengganu will host the teams and racing will be held on Pulau Duyong Basin. The boat of choice is the Foundation 36, designed by Brett BAKEWELL-WHITE.

The events of the World Tour serve to determine the ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Next year the Monsoon Cup will be the final event of the 2006-07 season, and will crown the 2007 World Champion.

For all the news from the Monsoon Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage 5 of 15)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 4 Team Pindar 47
2 Ed BAIRD USA 22 Alinghi 40
3 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 35
3 Jesper BANK DEN 57 United Internet Team Germany 35
5 Chris DICKSON NZL 5 BMW ORACLE Racing 31
6 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 6 Saba Sailing Team 30
7 Sébastien COL FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
8 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 24 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27

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 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal July 2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark August 2007
Stage 10 St Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland August 2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia September 2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy September 2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil October 2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda October 2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 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 - 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.

Sean Mcneill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad BADAWI fits the ceremonial blazer on 2005 Monsoon Cup champion Peter GILMOU:© Guido Cantini
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