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).
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.
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.
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.
'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
|1||Ian WILLIAMS||GBR||4||Team Pindar||47|
|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
|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 - 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.