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12 March 2008, 11:56 am
Match Racing Stars Face Off In Marseille
Action from the practice session in Marseille on Tuesday
Action from the training day in Marseille on Tuesday

Marseille International Match Race 2008
Marseille, France

Leading skippers from the World Match Racing Tour, the America's Cup and the French match racing team are set to do battle this week at the ISAF Grade 1 Marseille International Match Race.
For the next five days, Marseille's southern bay will play host to the world's leading skippers in what has come to be known as a place to be in the close-knit world of match-racing: the Marseille International Match Race. The skippers, crews and umpires have all now arrived at the Yachting Club de la Pointe Rouge and all the remains is for racing to get underway.

Tuesday afternoon was spent training, whilst from 10:00 today the real stuff will start, with the first matches of the round robin. The weather conditions in Marseille this week will be tough: west-southwest winds of 20-25 knots, with gusts up to 30 knots.

Exceptional Line Up

Some of the best skippers in the world have said yes to the invitation to return to Marseille and race in the Mediterranean on totally identical boats where only tactics and technique can make the difference. Mathieu RICHARD of France, the #1 skipper in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, has taken part in every MIMR since the event began and heads the line up again this year.

"We always love coming to sail in Marseille, where the conditions are often complicated - with lots of sunshine!" explained RICHARD.

"Our participation in this sixth edition is a bit special. After all the pressure at the end of 2007, we took a long winter break. We all needed a rest, so we have not trained for the last three months. The Marseille International Match Race is an opportunity to get the team back together to train in real conditions, all the more so as this year's line up is exceptional! Our aim this week is to enjoy ourselves on the water, get set up for the World Tour which starts in May and which is this season's objective," he added.

Fellow French match racing team member, Damien IEHL is also eagerly anticipating the start of racing.

"After two wins on J/80s in London in the last few days, we are on a high! Our objective is clear: win the MIMR 2008 and above all get an invitation to the Swedish leg of the World Match Tour. The level of the regatta this year is really high, which is especially motivating for the crew," said IEHL.

Other names to look out for are world #3 Paolo CIAN (ITA) and world #4 Sébastien COL (FRA). Russia's Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV is another top ten-ranked skipper, whilst Aussie young gun Torvar MIRSKY will be looking to further enhance his rapidly growing reputation.

Marseille International Match Race -
Sophie Claudon (As Amended By ISAF)
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