|Ian WILLIAMS back up to number seven
© Guido Cantini
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) holds firm at the top of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings for another month, but the gap between him and 2004 ISAF World Match Race Champion Ed BAIRD (USA) is slashed to a mere 60 points. BAIRD has only sailed in one graded event since the previous ranking on 13 July, the ISAF Grade 1 St. Moritz Match Race, which he won. GILMOUR on the other hand sailed in the ISAF Grade 1 Portugal Match Cup and St Mortiz, finishing third and sixth respectively.
Whilst GILMOUR and BAIRD were battling it out on the icy waters of St Moritz, Russell COUTTS (NZL) was enjoying the sunshine of the Greek islands. The ISAF Grade 3 Myokonos Dream Race, the brainchild of Olympic gold medallist and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2004 Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE), brought together some of the leading America's Cup's skippers to pit themselves against Olympic and World Champions from Greece. COUTTS won the event defeating Francesco BRUNI (ITA), Luna Rossa, in the final and continues his steady climb up the rankings to number 3.
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) drops down to four to make way for COUTTS after not performing to his usual standard in Switzerland. RICHARD finished tenth and he did not fair much better at the ISAF Grade 1 Internationaux de France de Match Racing, in Pornichet earlier this month where he finished sixth.
The other ISAF Grade 1 event winners with points counting toward this ranking are Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Jesper BANK (DEN) and there were four different sailors defeated in the finals of these events. HOLMBERG defeated Britain's Ben AINSLIE at the PTPortugal Match Cup and adding the points from his eighth place in Switzerland moves up a significant 27 places to number 35. AINSLIE meanwhile, who took a break from the match racing circuit to claim the Finn European title which he adds to his Olympic and World crowns, moves up 26 places as he also includes a fifth place from Switzerland. AINSLIE is now ranked at 65 in the world.
Ian WILLIAMS' success in Pornichet, a fourth in St Mortiz and an eighth in PTPortugal Match Cup returns him to number seven from nine, back to the position he held in January of this year. Jesper BANK (DEN) won the ISAF Grade 1 Danish Open in Skovshoved defeating Gavin BRADY (NZL) in the final. The points gathered from this by BRADY give him seven results to count and he climbs 40 places up to number 36. Third in Skovshoved was multiple Olympic medallist Jochen SCHÜMANN (GER), and adding this to his victories at the ISAF Grade 3 Jeep Challenge and ISAF Grade 2 Berlin Match Race earlier this season he climbs a whopping 68 places up to number 33.
The biggest crisis in the top twenty is the fall of Philippe PRESTI (FRA) from five down to 14, paying the price of not competing at so many events as the other skippers. Luckily for him the line up for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2005, which gets underway in just over two weeks time, is already confirmed and he's in.
The big winner this month is Denmark's Peter WIBROE who explodes into the top twenty at number 17 after climbing 18 places from number 35. On Sunday, WIBROE was crowned champion of the ISAF Grade 2 Nordic Match Racing Championship after putting on a dominant performance throughout the regatta. Just a week earlier WIBROE had to settle for second place at the Yava Trophy, also a Grade 2 regatta, behind Sebastian COL (FRA) a sailor who was then ranked almost 30 places above him.
There are several up and coming young match racers whose rise up the rankings continues this month and the ISAF Grade 3 Skandia Youth Week has added to their list of successes. Michael DUNSTAN (AUS) had his second victory of the year in Cowes and climbs a further two places up to number 26 swopping places with Seve JARVIN (AUS) who he beat in the final.
The highest new entry is Alec CUTLER (BER) who has competed at two events on his home waters, the ISAF Grade 3 Bermuda National Match Race Championship and the ISAF Grade 5 Anna Roed Bell IOD Match Race. CUTLER won both of these events, defeating some well known sailors on his way, including Bermuda's Yngling representative in Athens, Paula LEWIN, and joins the rankings at number 245. LEWIN also climbs significantly after her two third places from 486 to 219.
The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 22 September after the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.
|Liz HJORTH winner in Long Beach
© Dan Ljungsvik
After the cancellation of the ISAF Grade 1 Lysekil Woman's Match Cup in Sweden and the ISAF Grade 2 EUROSAF European Match Racing Championship in the Netherlands, the past six weeks have been very quiet on the women's match racing circuit.
None of the top ten have competed at a graded event since the previous release meaning any changes are due to the rotating rankings calculation. The top nine sailors remain static with Claire LEROY (FRA) staying at the top for the fourth release in a row. Nina BRAESTRUP (DEN) is at number two with Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) at number three. There are other minor movements in the top 20 which sees 2003 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Malin MILLBOURN (SWE) drop out from 15 to 21.
The inaugural ISAF Grade 3 City of Long Beach Mayor's Cup in Long Beach California took place from 14-16 July with six American skippers competing. The regatta win went to Elizabeth HJORTH who beat Sandy HAYES in a tight final. Finishing fifth and sixth respectively were Jessica LORD and Samantha TREADWELL. LORD had not claimed points from a graded match racing event since 2002 and she re-enters the rankings at number 130, whilst TREADWELL makes her debut at 153.
A couple of days earlier six skippers were battling it out for the ISAF Grade 5 NSW Women's Match Racing Championship in Newport, Australia. Katie SPITHILL (AUS) took her second victory of the year, having won the Harken Womens' International Match Racing Regatta in March and adds these points to her total to climb one place up to 15 whilst second placed Nicky SOUTER (AUS) also moves up one from eleven to ten. This event also welcomes two new sailors to the women's match race rankings and they are third placed Nicky BETHWAITE (AUS) and Samantha BOYD (AUS) who finished sixth. BETHWAITE is more well known on the Yngling circuit having represented her country at the 2004 Olympic Games and prior to competing in Newport she concluded her best ever Yngling Women's World Championship, finishing fourth in Austria. BETHWAITE joins the rankings at number 113, a good few places lower than her position of 16 on the Yngling rankings. Samantha BOYD (AUS) is also on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings but in the Laser Radial and enters the match race rankings at 161.
The line up for the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship was confirmed on 25 July with the event to be contested in Hamilton, Bermuda from 15-18 October.
The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 22 September.