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22 September 2005, 10:56 am
Rankings Released 22 September 2005
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ISAF World Match Race Rankings

Ed BAIRD (USA) is back at the top of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings thanks to a magnificent comeback at the ISAF Match Racing World Championship in Calpe, Spain. Nine straight wins saw the American battle his way to the final and consequently he reclaims the number one Ranking spot from Peter GILMOUR (AUS). Meanwhile Claire LEROY (FRA) notched up her fifth win of 2005 to stay top in the final release of the Rankings before the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Open

Events Included

  • ISAF Grade W Events - ISAF Match Racing World Championship, Spain
  • ISAF Grade 1 Events - Sopot Match Race, Poland
  • ISAF Grade 2 Events - The Heat, Italy
  • ISAF Grade 3 Events - Sopot Match Race Qualifier, Poland; RYA Volvo National Youth Match Racing Championship, Great Britain; Australian Open Match Racing Championship, Australia; Ruhr Euro Cup, Germany; Novoross Cup, Russia; Match Race Brasil - Ilhabela, Brazil; Cottonfield Match Cup, Finland; Australian Youth Match Racing Championship, Australia
  • ISAF Grade 4 Events - Makoto Nanba Memorial Match, Japan; GSYS Match 3, Sweden, RYA National Match Racing Championships - Qualifier 2, Great Britain; Stenung Autumn Cup, Sweden
  • ISAF Grade 5 Events - NJK MRC Race Number 8, Finland; NJK MRC Race Number 9, Finland; BMW NRW Club Cup, Germany
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ISAF Match Racing World
Champion James SPITHILL
will have to wait another month
for his win to have a true
reflection on his Ranking
© Nico Martinez

Both of the top two in the Rankings, Ed BAIRD (USA) and Peter GILMOUR (AUS) struggled in the early matches at the ISAF Worlds in Calpe, with the defending champion BAIRD at one stage last Thursday languishing on a 1-4 record in the opening round robin. However, where GILMOUR continued to struggle, BAIRD fought back, beating his Australian rival in the last of six consecutive wins at the end of the round robin. The rejuvenated American then went on to thrash the early pacesetter Paolo CIAN (ITA) in the semi final 3-0, before an electrical storm finally put paid to his and fellow finalist, James SPITHILL's (AUS) efforts.

This left BAIRD second overall, with SPITHILL claiming the World crown thanks to his superior round robin score, which included what proved to be a vital victory over BAIRD in flight 14. That second place is enough to lift BAIRD back above GILMOUR into the number one Ranking spot, after the Australian had taken over the position back in June and held it for the following two Rankings' releases.

Russell COUTTS (NZL) remains third, with Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) staying fourth, but now less than 200 ranking points behind the Kiwi after finishing fourth in Calpe. CIAN moves up three places to complete the top five, after an impressive display in Spain which saw him claim the bronze medal.

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) also benefits from a strong performance at the Worlds, which only just saw him miss out on a semi final place, as well as his win at the ISAF Grade 1 Sopot Match Race in Poland. He trades places with Sebastien COL (FRA) to move from seventh to sixth in the Rankings. Runner up to WILLIAMS in Sopot and fellow ISAF Worlds competitor Eugeny NEVGODNIKOV (RUS) also moves up one place to nine, whilst Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA) climbs two to ten.

For the new ISAF World Match Racing World Champion SPITHILL, this Rankings' release brings only the sign of a promising future. Although the Australian scored victories at both the ISAF Worlds and the ISAF Grade 2 The Heat in Italy he falls three places from five to eight as his 2003 ISAF Worlds result of second falls away in the rolling rankings calculation and he is now only counting the results from seven of a possible eight events. However SPITHILL will see the benefit of his win in Calpe in the next Rankings' release of 26 October if he can secure a good result at the ISAF Grade 1 King Edward VII Bermuda Gold Cup. Certainly if he can match the second place he scored in Bermuda last year, the young Australian looks a good bet to knock BAIRD off his perch and combine the World title with the number one spot.

Three new names enter the top 20 in this Rankings' release led by Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) at 15, who scored a third place at The Heat. Great Britain's Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES climbs two places to 19, whilst Sweden's Martin ANGSELL moves from 25 to 20 thanks to his victory in Finland at the ISAF Grade 3 Cottonfield Match Cup.

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Brazil's Daniel GLOMB is one
of the talented young match
racers to make big gains in
this Rankings' release
© Hector Etchebaster
Just outside the top 20, Michael DUNSTAN climbs three places to 23 after successfully retaining his title at the ISAF Grade 3 Australian Open Match Racing Championship, whilst Laurie JURY (NZL) continues on his quest to join fellow New Zealanders COUTTS and Dean BARKER in the top 20, moving from 50 to 36, and skipping past Gavin BRADY (NZL), after finishing fourth in Sopot. Meanwhile the winner of the ISAF Grade 3 All Japan Yacht Match Race Championship Yasutaka FUNAZAWA (JPN) is zoning in on the top 50, as he climbs up to his best Ranking position of 59 and Brazil's Daniel GLOMB has cracked the top 100 at 99, after finishing second at the ISAF Grade 3 Sopot Match Race Qualifier and fourth at the ISAF Grade 3 Match Race Brasil - Ilhabela in Rio de Janeiro.

The winner in Rio, Jordi CALAFAT (ESP) also breaks into the top 100, the only Spaniard to do so, whilst the overall winner of the Match Race Brasil series, 2004 Olympic gold medallist in the Star, Torben GRAEL (BRA) climbs from 174 to 143. Another Athens gold medallist in the Rankings, Ben AINSLIE (GBR), moves up from 65 to 61.

Further down the Rankings, a potential British star of the future, Simon WHEELER moves up over 100 places from 260 to 152 thanks to his victory at the ISAF Grade 3 RYA Volvo National Youth Match Racing Championship. Silja LEHTINEN (FIN) is another big climber, with victory at the ISAF Grade 5 NJK MRC Race Number 9 on her home waters helping her move up from 326 to 155 in the Rankings. Another hot young prospect, recent winner of the ISAF Grade 3 Australian Youth Match Racing Championship Hamish ROUGHLEY (AUS) makes the biggest gains in the top 200 - rising almost 400 places from 582 to 188.

The Open Rankings increase by another 15 sailors in this release to a total of 1,356. Ernst MEYER (GER) is the highest of the new entries, coming in at 328 after finishing fifth at the ISAF Grade 3 Ruhr Euro Cup and third at the ISAF Grade 5 BMW NRW Club Cup, both in Germany.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 26 Ocotber.

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ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Women

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Claire LEROY will go to the
ISAF Worlds as the top ranked
sailor after her win at the
Women Trentino Mactch Race
© Graziano Marchi/

Events Included

  • ISAF Grade 1 Events - Women Trentino Match Race, Italy; St. Quay Women Match Racing, France
  • ISAF Grade 3 Events - German Women's Cup, Germany; RYA National Women's Match Racing Championship, Great Britain

Claire LEROY (FRA) holds on to her number one spot for the fifth consecutive Rankings' release after scoring her fifth victory of the year at the ISAF Grade 1 Women Trentino Match Race in Italy. The win was particularly important for the Frenchwoman as it gave her her first ISAF Grade 1 event victory since the Rolex Osprey Cup last October, and victory in the final came against the reigning ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Sally BARKOW (USA), just over a month before she defends her title in Hamilton, Bermuda. However the American got her revenge two weeks later at the ISAF St. Quay Women Match Racing in France. This time she triumphed in the final match, overcoming Anne-Claire LE BERRE (FRA) to win her first match racing event since the Worlds back in June 2004.

Since the Worlds, BARKOW's focus has been on the Yngling, in which she has won both the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française and the ISAF Grade W Yngling World Championship in Austria. With the defence of her ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship title on the horizon, BARKOW has stepped back into the match racing arena and appears to be making perfect preparations for the start of racing on 15 October. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed in the Rankings, where she climbs up ten places to number seven and is still counting one event fewer than the majority of the sailors around her.

It has been a less busy month for Marie BJÖRLING (SWE) and Nina BRAESTRUP (DEN), but the rolling rankings calculation sees them switch places with BJÖRLING moving up to second and BRAESTRUP falling to third. Although Klaartje ZUIDERBAAN (NED) was unable to defend her title at the Women Trentino Match, fourth place is enough to lift her up one place to fourth in the Rankings, whilst Christine BRIAND (FRA) also climbs up one place to fifth and Jenny AXHEDE (SWE) falls two to six. Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA), Linda RAHM (SWE) and Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively, complete the top ten.

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Sally BARKOW has slipped
effortlessly between fleet and
match racing and looks set to
be a tough Champion to beat
at the ISAF Worlds next month
© Graziano Marchi/

LE BERRE's second place in St. Quay and a sixth in Trentino puts her as the highest of three new entries into the top 20 this month. She moves up from 26 to 11 to add a fifth French name to the World's elite group of women match racers. The other new entries are runner up at the ISAF Grade 3 National Women's Match Racing Championship Josie GIBSON (GBR), who climbs from 34 to 15 and Ines MONTEFUSCO (ITA), who jumps six places to 16.

Gemma FARRELL (GBR) defeated GIBSON to claim the British title and consequently she climbs from 80 to 45, and is still only counting three of a possible eight events. The ISAF Grade 3 German Women's Cup also took place during this Ranking's period and victory for Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) confirms her status as Germany's top ranked female match racer and sees her move ever closer to the top 20, climbing five places to 25. Denmark's Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM, almost outdid the home sailors in Germany, falling at the final hurdle to take second place behind HAHLBROCK, and as a result she moves from 40 to 29 in this Rankings' release.

Meanwhile the Australian sailors have suffered with both Nicky SOUTER and Katie SPITHILL falling out of the top 20, although they can expect to make a swift return if they produce good results at the ISAF Grade 3 Line 7 Australian Women's Match Racing Championship, which is currently underway in Sydney.

Eleven new sailors join the Rankings this month, the highest of which is France's Morgane FOUNTAINE at number 70, whilst number one in the Yngling ISAF World Sailing Rankings Ekaterina SKUDINA (RUS) is the second highest new entry at 84, after finishing seventh in her debut ISAF Graded match racing event in Trentino. As well as the new entries, Japan's Tomoko NAKANISHI is a high climber moving up from 104 to 66.

The next release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be on 26 October and will include the results from the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship taking place from 15-18 October in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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ISAF. Image, Second place at the ISAF Worlds sees Ed BAIRD move back to the top of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings:© Nico Martinez
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