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17 December 2008, 05:00 pm
Match Race Rankings - 17 December 2008
Seb COL at the Korea Match Cup
Seb COL hits the top in the Open Rankings

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

Sebastien COL hit the top in the Open Rankings as France maintains its domination of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings in the final release of the year on 17 December 2008.
France ends the year in the same fashion as it began, holding both top spots in the Open and Women's Rankings, where Claire LEROY (FRA) continues to hold a huge points advantage.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 28 January 2009.

Open Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade W - Monsoon Cup - World Match Racing Tour, MAS
Grade 1 - Berlin Match Race, GER
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - South America, ARG
Grade 2 - Trofeo Match Race Puerto Calero, ESP
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - North America and Caribbean, USA

For ISAF Grade 3-5 events included see www.sailing.org/regattasearch

Table showing top five skippers

Sébastien COL (FRA) replaces his French Match Racing Team colleague Mathieu RICHARD in the world #1 spot in the latest release of the Rankings, just holding off the challenge of Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), the newly crowned 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

COL may have lost out to WILLIAMS in his battle for the 2008 World title, but the Frenchman's win at the recent ISAF Grade 1 Berlin Match Race combined with his consistency over the two-year Ranking period help propel him three places up the Rankings and back into the world #1 he last held in May 2007. WILLIAMS maintains his world #2 Rankings, just 40 points behind COL. Although the British skipper narrowly misses out on the top spot for the fourth consecutive Ranking release, he has a second consecutive ISAF Match Racing World Championship title to celebrate.

RICHARD drops from first to third in the latest Rankings after being on a receiving end of a WILLIAMS materclass in the knockout stages at the Monsoon Cup. Knowing he had to beat both WILLIAMS and COL in Malaysia to win the World title, RICHARD opted to face the Brit in the quarter-final draw, but his plan backfired as the reigning champion swept to a 3-0 victory.

With COL moving up, Italian skipper Paolo CIAN (ITA) drops one place to #4, whilst Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) stays at #5 after another impressive World Tour performance in Malaysia.

Further down the Rankings, US skipper Dave PERRY moves up from #51 to #38 after winning the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for North America and Caribbean and securing the USA a place in the Grand Final in Brazil next March. Argentina is also set to compete for the title of the world's top match racing nation, after Juan FIGUEROA (ARG) won the South American Regional Final. His victory helps him climb nearly 100 places in the latest Ranking release, up from #151 to #55.

Find out more on the ISAF Nations Cup and the nations qualified so far at www.sailing.org/nationscup.

Women's Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade 1 - Busan Cup Match Race, KOR
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - South America, ARG
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - North America and Caribbean, USA
Grade 2 - Berlin Women's Match Race, GER
Grade 2 - Ladies Only Match Race, GER
Grade 3 - Nordic Women Cup Final, SWE
Grade 3 - Carlos Aguilar Memorial Match Race, ISV
Grade 5 - WIMRA Challenge, BRA

Table showing top five skippers

Claire LEROY's (FRA) reign at the top of the Women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings continues whilst behind the French skipper there are two new entries into the world top five. . By LEROY's own high standards her performance at the recent ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Osprey Cup was somewhat below par, with a third-place finish the worst result of another incredible year for the 28 year old French skipper. The 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, also a nominee for the 2008 Awards, and double ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion looks certain to reach the end the year in the world #1 spot for the fourth year running. However, with women's match racing joining the events line up for the next Olympic Sailing Competition, LEROY is sure to face a new generation of competitors joining the circuit in a bid for glory at London 2012.

Claire LEROY (FRA) keeps her place at top of the Women's Rankings, completing a third consecutive unbroken calendar year in the world #1 spot.

Behind LEROY, Linda RAHM (SWE), Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) and Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) remain at #2, #3 and #4 respectively. The big change in the world top five sees Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR) continue her rise up the Rankings. After entering the world top 10 for the first time in October, this month MACGREGOR enters the world top five as she gain two places up from #7 to #5.

Nicky SOUTER (AUS) is the one new entry into the world top 10, moving up one place to #10.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - www.sailing.org/mrrankings

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