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29 October 2008, 05:00 pm
Match Race Rankings - 29 October 2008
Mathieu RICHARD, far right, and his French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit compete at the World Tour in Bermuda
Mathieu RICHARD of France maintains his position in the world #1 spot

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

France's Mathieu RICHARD gets a timely boost ahead of the battle for the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Championship title as he holds on to the top spot in the latest release of the ISAF World Match Racing Rankings on 29 October, whilst compatriot Claire LEROY remains untouchable in the Women's Rankings.
Following on from World Tour events in Portugal and Bermuda, the battle for the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Championship is set to go down to the wire at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia this December. Whilst Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) maintains his world #1 position in the latest Ranking release, he has Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Sébastien COL (FRA) ahead of him in the World Tour standings which will decide the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

In the Women's Rankings, Claire LEROY (FRA) remains well ahead in the world #1 spot but behind her some of the big names from the women's events at the Beijing Olympic Games are beginning to have an impact.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 17 December 2008 following the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, the final event of the 2008 World Match Racing Tour where the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Champions will be decided.

Open Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade W - King Edward VII Gold Cup - World Match Racing Tour, BER
Grade W - Troia Portugal Match Cup - World Match Racing Tour, POR
Grade W - Danish Open, DEN
Grade 1 - Trapani Cento Cup, ITA
Grade 1 - ACI Match Race Cup, CRO
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Europe ll, IRL
Grade 2 - Master de Espana, ESP
Grade 2 - Bentley Geneve Match Race, SUI
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Asia, IND
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Oceania, NZL
Grade 2 - Slovenia Match Race Cup, SLO
Grade 2 - Dong Energy Cup, DEN
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Europe 1, ITA

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

Table showing top five skippers

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) holds on to the world #1 spot as the top three remain unchanged for the third consecutive release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), the reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion and a nominee for the 2008 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, remains just behind RICHARD at #2. Paolo CIAN (ITA), winner of the ISAF Grade 1 ACI Match Race Cup in Croatia, completes the world top three.

It is a timely boost for the French skipper ahead of December's Monsoon Cup, where he is one of three skippers set to battle it out for the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Championship Trophy. Also in the running are defending World Champion, WILLIAMS, and another Frenchman, Sébastien COL, whose victory at the Troia Portugal Match Cup in September has helped push him up three places in this Ranking release to #4. Australian young gun Torvar MIRSKY completes the world top five.

Outside of the world top five, there's more good news for the French Match Racing Team with Philippe PRESTI (FRA) gaining two places up to #7. PRESTI has a rich vein of form with two recent wins, firstly at the ISAF Grade 1 Trapani Cento Cup in Italy, then at the ISAF Grade 2 Bentley Geneve Match Race in Switzerland. Another skipper competing at the top of his game is Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON, who upset the form book to score his victory at the most recent World Tour event in Bermuda, the King Edward VII Gold Cup. BERNTSSON is the only new entry into the world top 10 this month, climbing four places up to #9.

South Africa's Ian AINSLIE just misses up on the top 10 but still records an eight-place rise up to his best-ever ranking of #11 thanks to wins at ISAF Grade 2 events in Slovenia and Spain. Another high riser is Swedish star Magnus HOLMBERG, who jumps up a massive 25 places to #20 at finishing as runner up at the World Tour event in Portugal.

Other top performances in this Ranking release come from skippers who put in strong performances at one of the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Finals held in Asia, Europe or Oceania. Ãlvaro MARINHO (POR) climbs 17 places to #31 after qualifying Portugal for the ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final, Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND) moves up 10 places to #50 after securing India's place; whilst Adrian SHORT (NZL) goes from #203 to #119 after a closely-fought win in the Oceania Regional Final. The top-ranked skipper of the qualifiers to date is Denmark's Mads EBLER, who won the recent Regional Final for Europe II in Ireland and is at #11 in this Ranking release. Find out more on the ISAF Nations Cup, the nations qualified so far and the forthcoming Regional Finals at www.sailing.org/nationscup.

Women's Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade 1 - Troia Portugal Women Cup, POR
Grade 1 - Ladies Match Cup, GER
Grade 1 - Rolex Osprey Cup, USA
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Asia, IND
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Europe 1, FRA
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Europe 2, FRA
Grade 2 - ISAF Nations Cup 2009 Regional Final - Oceania, NZL
Grade 3 - Swedish Championship Women, SWE
Grade 3 - Finnish Women's Match Race Championship, FIN

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.

Behind LEROY, Linda RAHM (SWE) gains seven places to achieve her best-ever Ranking at #2. The Swedish skipper is enjoying a superb year so far, and chalked up wins at the ISAF Grade 2 Women's Race in Denmark and then the ISAF Grade 1 Troia Portugal Women Cup to surpass her previous Ranking-best of #5. Silke HAHLBROCK of Germany and Denmark's Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN both drop one place to #3 and #4 respectively, whilst Finnish Beijing Olympian Silja LEHTINEN (FIN) moves up three places to #5.

For the second month running, the big mover at the top is British skipper Lucy MACGREGOR, who gains another six places to enter at the world top 10 for the first time at #7. Along with RAHM, MACGREGOR is currently the form sailor on the women's circuit having won the ISAF Grade 1 Ladies Match Cup and the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for the Europe 2 grouping. A runners up finish in Portugal along with a semi-final appearance at the Rolex Osprey Cup help her equal the best-ever Ranking performance by a British skipper since Shirley ROBERTSON (GBR) held the world #1 spot in April 2000.

Following Anna TUNNICLIFFE's (USA) triumph at the US Women's Match Racing Championship and LEHTINEN's recent gains, other Beijing Olympians making an impact on the Rankings this month are Italy's Giulia CONTI and the USA's Debbie CAPOZZI. CAPOZZI defeated LEROY on the way to the final of the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Osprey Cup, but there met her match in CONTI, who repeated her 2005 triumph in St Petersburg. As a result, CAPOZZI jumps 21 places up the Rankings to #41, whilst CONTI gains 22 places to #49.

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

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