"This event has all the hallmarks of being truly world class," said World Match Racing Tour President Scott MACLEOD. "The efforts made by the Koreans to build the infrastructure here, the ideal spectator venue, the prize money, the sailing talent, and all the other features add up to establishing this as being on the top tier among all our Tour events."
Besides having a shoreside venue located in a brand-new marina complex 70 km south of Seoul on Korea's west coast, the Korea Match Cup has also invested in a fleet of new 36-foot Bakewell-White-designed KM 36s built locally in Hwaseong City by Advanced Marine Tech. The boats are the first racing yacht to be built and sailed in Korea, with a match race version produced for this event and a subsequent racer/cruiser edition planned for export. Besides having a centreline retracting carbon bowsprit and asymmetric spinnakers, a unique feature of this match racing version is the addition of a cameraman's cupola in the deck where there would usually be the main companionway: onboard cameramen will thus be in a perfect position to capture the all the action up close.
And there will likely be plenty of action to watch, as the field of twelve teams is littered with talent from years of competing at the America's Cup, Olympic Games, and numerous other World Tour match race events. Coming to Korea on top of the Tour leaderboard by a mere point, Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and his Team Pindar will be looking to repeat success found in their last trip to Asia, where at last December's Monsoon Cup in Malaysia they won the World Championship crown. Next in points and also keen for a win in Korea will be Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) and his Alandia Sailing Team, along with Team Shosholoza led by Paolo CIAN (ITA), winner of the Tour's first stop at the Brasil Sailing Cup in April.
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, who finished as runners-up in last year's overall championship results, will also be here, as will two other past Tour Champions and America's Cup alumnists, Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE) of the Victory Challenge and Peter GILMOUR (AUS), who is making his 2008 Tour debut. With a full round robin planned as the first stage of the event a young protégé of GILMOUR's, Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), will have the opportunity to battle his mentor here. Other talented America's Cup veterans entered include Sébastien COL (FRA) of K Challenge and Jesper RADICH (DEN). Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) representing Emirates Team New Zealand tops up the pool of talent heading to Korea.
And by winning the two qualifying events in Korea and Japan, respectively, Seung Cheol LIM (KOR) and Wataru SAKAMOTO (JPN) will also have an opportunity to test their skills against this field of the world's best.
The live TV coverage will be made available to every continent through a combination of live broadcasts and highlights shows with broadcasters stretching throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and Australasia, including Sky Sports NZ, Showtime Middle East, Eurosport Asia and others. It will also be available on the internet through various portals. Commentary will be provided by Peter "PJ" MONTGOMERY, Peter LESTER and Martin TASKER, all veteran Kiwis who have been involved in several America's Cup broadcasts. The production will also include Virtual Eye animation that was used extensively during all of the live coverage of both the America's Cup and the World Tour's Monsoon Cup last year.
In addition to the live coverage, a 25 minute highlights show on the Korea Match Cup will be distributed to broadcasters daily. The highlights programme will be available online and via satellite each evening.
"We are very excited about live worldwide television coverage of this new event here in Korea," said Dong Young KIM, the organizer of the Korea Match Cup. "This event is great for Korea and for the future of Korean sailing."
World Tour Standings
(After 2 events of 9)
1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar - 27 points
2. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team - 26 points
3. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza - 25 points
3. Damien IEHL (FRA), French Match Racing Team - 25 points
5. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Trifork Racing - 20 points
6. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team - 15 points
7. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge - 12 points
8. Markus WIESER (GER), Team Sea Dubai - 10 points
8. Peter WIBROE (DEN), Wibroe sailing Team - 10 points
ISAF Match Racing World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/matchworlds