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17 September 2008, 03:00 pm
Match Race Rankings - 17 September 2008
Mathieu RICHARD heads to victory at the St Moritz Match Race
Mathieu RICHARD heads to victory at the St Moritz Match Race, a win that helps keep him in the world #1 spot

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

Mathieu RICHARD and Claire LEROY maintain French control at the top of the Open and Women's ISAF World Match Racing Rankings in their latest release on 17 September.
Claire LEROY (FRA) continues to look formidable at the top of the Women's Rankings, with nobody looking set to challenge the world #1 standing of the French skipper for some time yet. In contrast, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) leads the Open Rankings by a very narrow margin, with Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), the reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion, snapping at his heels.

The focus of the match racing world is set to shift to a national perspective over the coming weeks, with the first of the Regional Finals for the ISAF Nations Cup. The action begins with the start of the Europe 1 Regional Final in Brindisi, Italy tomorrow, shortly followed by the Oceania Regional Final, starting in Auckland next week.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 29 October 2008.


Open Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade W - St Moritz Match Race, SUI
Grade W - Danish Open, DEN
Grade 1 - Eurosaf European Match Race Championship Yava Trophy, RUS
Grade 1 - Internationaux de France de Match Racing, FRA
Grade 2 - WASA Match, FIN
Grade 2 - Knickerbocker Cup, USA

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

Chart showing progression of the world top five skippers

Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) maintains his position at the top spot in the Open ISAF World Match Race Rankings, just holding off the challenging from Ian WILLIAMS (GBR). Both skippers have enjoyed recent success on the World Match Racing Tour with WILLIAMS winning in Denmark, where RICHARD finished fifth, but the Frenchman beating the Brit to the title in St Moritz one week later. However, RICHARD also picked up a runners up spot on his home waters at the ISAF Grade 1 Internationaux de France de Match Racing, enough to keep him on top of the Rankings for another month.

Behind the top two, Paolo CIAN (ITA) continues his long run in the world #3 spot, but now has the rapidly rising Australian star Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) just behind him. MIRSKY, still just 22 years old, burst onto the world match racing scene last year when he won the ISAF Grade 1 Internationaux de France de Match Racing. Since then the young Australian has gone from strength to strength and established himself as a regular performer on the World Tour. In July he repeated his 2007 victory at the Internationaux de France, beating world #1 RICHARD in the final, and followed that up with a fourth place finish at the Danish Open in August. That run of success moves him up four places and into the world top five for the first time at #4.

A little further back, Staffan LINDBERG (FIN) is the one new entry into the world top 10, gaining three places up to #10 after strong showings at the Europeans in Russia and the WASA Match in Finland. The new Eurosaf European Match Racing Champion Eugeniy NEUGODNIKOV (RUS) also climbs up three places to #13, whilst Europeans runner up Manuel WEILLER VIDAL (ESP) makes even bigger gains from #37 to #22.

Other high climbers in this Ranking release include Japan's Takumi NAKAMURA, winner of the ISAF Grade 2 Knickerbocker Cup, who goes from #73 to #40 and Brazil's Henrique HADDAD, who won the ISAF Grade 3 Petropolis Match Race in Rio to climb from #110 to #73.

Women's Rankings

New events included in this Ranking release:

Grade 1 - Eurosaf European Women's Match Racing Championship, FRA
Grade 1 - Trentino Women's Match Race, ITA
Grade 1 - Lysekil Women's Match, SWE
Grade 3 - German Championship Women's Match Race, GER
Grade 3 - US Women's Match Racing Championship, USA
Grade 3 - Damen Match Race, GER
Grade 4 - Northern Lights Cup, USA

Chart showing progression of the world top five skippers

Claire LEROY (FRA) stays top in the Women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings, but behind her there are some major changes in the world top 10. LEROY lost out to world #9 Linda RAHM (SWE) in the final of the ISAF Grade 1 Lysekil Women's Match - contested at the venue at which she will defend her ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship title at next July - but nevertheless remains well clear of the chasing pack in the Rankings.

Behind the French skipper, Germany's Silke HAHLBROCK replaces Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) in the world #2 slot which the Dane had held since October 2006. Whilst HAHLBROCK was not at her best with a sixth place finish at the recent Europeans, the runners up spot she secured at the ISAF Grade 1 Trentino Women's Match helps her achieve a career-best Ranking. MELDGAARD PEDERSEN drops back one place to #3, with Liz BAYLIS (USA), third at the recent US Women's Match Racing Championship, unchanged at #4. Australia's Katie SPITHILL moves up one place in this release to complete the world top five.

The biggest mover at the top is Italy's Sabrina GURIOLI who climbs up six places to a best-ever Ranking of #6. A third place finish at Trentino followed by a silver medal performance at the Europeans mark out the Italian as one of the form skippers on the circuit.

Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR), the newly crowned Eurosaf European Champion also makes big gains this month. After a spell with Shirley ROBERTSON's (GBR) Yngling team in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at gaining selection for the British squad for the Beijing Olympic Games, MACGREGOR is back on the match racing circuit where she first made her name. Her impressive victory in France helps the young British skipper gain nine places in this release up to a career-best Ranking of #12. Like MACGREGOR, Anne-Claire LE BERRE (FRA) has also shifted her attentions from the Yngling to match racing. After securing semi-final spots at both Trentino and the Europeans she climbs up from #32 to #16 to the latest Rankings.

Another fleet racer to successfully turn her hand to match racing is American Anna TUNNICLIFFE. Following her gold medal success in the Laser Radial dinghy at the Beijing Olympic Games, TUNNICLIFFE beat off strong competition in Rochester to win the US Women's Match Racing Championship. That victory lifts her up seven places in this Ranking release to #43.

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

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