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16 April 2008, 02:05 pm
World Tour Kicks Off 2008 Season
Defending Champion - Ian WILLIAMS
Ian WILLIAMS and his team, the 2007 World Champions are ready to defend their title

The 2008 World Match Racing Tour Season gets underway in Brazil next week
Vitoria, Brazil

The world's top professional sailors and many America's Cup skippers are preparing for another season of the World Match Racing Tour. The first event will begin on April 22 in Vitória, Brazil with the Brasil Sailing Cup.
The nine event series takes place in nine different countries, in four continents and with seven different types of yachts. It culminates in the crowning of the ISAF World Match Racing Champion at the Monsoon Cup in Terenganu, Malaysia this December.

With the America's Cup still on hold pending the current court decision on the fate of the DOG Match between Alinghi and BMEcle Racing, the other teams once again turn to the WMRT to maintain their skills and keep fresh in hope of a conventional America's Cup in 2011. America's Cup teams and skippers competing this year include:

Paolo Cian, (ITA), Team Shosholoza
Magnus Holmberg, (SWE), Victory Challenge
Sébastion Col, (FRA), K-Challenge
Philippe Presti, (FRA), French Spirit
Ben Ainslie, (GBR), Team Origin
Adam Minoprio,(NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand

"The current situation with the America's Cup is very unfortunate for the sport and for professional sailing in general," commented WMRT President, Scott Macleod. "However, the WMRT's commercial platform and television coverage enable the teams to continue to race and give their sponsors a return on investment. However we have lost a few teams that have either shut down or are now training for the DOG Match."

According to Paolo Cian, skipper of Team Shosholoza "The WMRT is a great place for our team to continue to compete at the highest level in the sport and to keep our core group working together to keep our match racing and sailing at a high level."

In addition to the America's Cup teams, there are a number of top sailors and teams including; defending World Champion Ian Williams, and Team Pindar; who are set to compete "We have renewed our title sponsorship with Pindar and are really looking forward to trying to defend our World title," commented Ian.

There are a host of America's cup skippers, World and Olympic champions and a wave of new names on this year's Tour. The Tour looks to be highly competitive, some of the teams and names set to compete in the series include:

Ian Williams, (GBR), Team Pindar - Defending World Match Racing Champion
Peter Gilmour, (AUS), Team PST - 2x World Champion
Matthieu Richard, (FRA), Saba Sailing Team - ISAF Ranked Number One
Björn Hansen, (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team

As well as a new wave of up and coming talent including:

Adam Minoprio,(NZL), Emirates Team New Zealand
Torvar Mirsky, AUS, Mirsky Racing Team
Peter Wibroe, DEN, Team Wibroe
Brian Angel, USA, King Harbour Match Race Team

"There is a set of up and coming teams taking part in the World Tour and in our 20 event qualifying series," commented MACLEOD "These guys are the future of the sport and the next helmsman and crew members of future Cup teams."

About the World Match Racing Tour :
• The World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional sailing series featuring 9 World Championship events across the globe
• The World Tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with "Special Event" status
• The World Tour awards over US$1million in prize money
• Points are awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the season ending 'ISAF Match Racing World Champion' • Events utilize the same "match race" format used in the America's Cup with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which places a focuses on team work and skill. Racing takes place close to the shore for the general public to follow the races as virtual on-the-water stadiums.
• Media and television highlights coverage reaches over 500 million households in 190 countries around the world.
• World Match Racing Tour sponsors include Line 7, Pindar, Custom House, Travel Places, Wedgwood and Sail.TV

For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.

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