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20 March 2003, 03:05 pm
Jablonski (POL) and Bjorling (SWE) Continue To Lead World Rankings
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Francois Brenac (FRA) © Gilles Foucras

ISAF World Match Race Rankings

For the fourth consecutive ISAF World Match Race Rankings Release, Karol Jablonski (POL) heads up the Open Rankings, whilst Marie Bjorling (SWE) maintains the lead she has held for over two years atop the Women's Rankings.
Today, 20 February 2003, sees the second ISAF World Match Race Ranking Release of 2003. With three events included in the Open Match Race Rankings - ISAF Grade 3 Match Mania in Italy, ISAF Grade 1 Marseille International Match Race in France, and the ISAF Grade 4 Final de Bassin Manche in France, there have been quite a few changes. Over in the Women's Rankings, there were no ISAF Graded events during the period, so any changes are purely due to the process of the world rankings calculations.

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Open
Karol Jablonski continues to lead the rankings with a good points margin over nearest rivals, world ranked number 2 Jesper Radich (DEN) and world ranked number 3 Jes Gram-Hansen. Jablonski won the first ISAF Grade 1 Match Racing Event of 2003, the Marseille International Match Race, whilst Gram-Hansen placed 7th and Radich did not participate, enabling Karol to increase his 16 point margin of 20 February to 291 points - a clear safety net.

The next ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be released on 22 May 2003 after the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup, 12-18 May, Portoferraio, Italy.

The 20 February release of the rankings saw absolutely no change in the top 20, aside from Ian Williams (GBR) entering in at number 20 from a previous 26. Williams has now increased his position by one more place to lie at 19th in the world.

More ranking changes this time around, with only the top 4 skippers retaining their slots, two new entries into the top 10, one new entry in the top 20 and four into the top 50.

Ed Baird (USA) and Francois Brenac (FRA) are new entries into the top 10. However, Baird has not participated in any graded events since the last rankings, and his jump-up is due to the event results making up the skipper's points which change based on the timeframe over each ranking (rankings are based on a rolling 365 days, over two years' worth of 365 days, with four ranked events constituting the points in each 365 day period).

Brenac's move up to number 10 in the world came from his second place at the recent Marseille International Match Race, which saw the majority of the world's top 10 contesting this ISAF Grade 1 event and seeking valuable ranking points.

Another Frenchman who is no stranger to match racing, but has recently been absent with his commitment as skipper to the French America's Cup challenge "Le Defi Areva" is Luc Pillot. Participating in his first ISAF Graded Event for several months, Pillot placed 8th at the Marseille International Match Race, and will no doubt be seeking a return to the world ranking of 7th which he had claim to this time a year ago.

Meanwhile, "Team New Zealand's" Cameron Appleton's (NZL), has seen his involvement in the America's Cup Defence result in a world ranking of 17th at the last rankings of 20 February, drop to 37th today. Whilst this has proved beneficial for Martin Angsell (SWE), who has entered the world's top 20 as a result, ISAF has been seeking to find a solution to enable skippers involved in other sailing campaigns to still maintain a position within the ISAF World Match Race Rankings.

After discussions with event organizers, ISAF has addressed the situation faced by Pillot, Appelton and other skippers who commit to a long-term campaign and subsequently drop down the world rankings, with the introduction of a "ranking holiday". This will effectively mean that when participating in another campaign, the skipper can take a ranking holiday and "go on hold" on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, for a minimum period of 6 and maximum period of 12 months. During this time their ranking position will be retained but identified as a "ranking holiday" position. The skipper will then notify ISAF that they wish to resume active participation on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and they will then have a period of 18 months in which to attain their previous ranking position. As event organisers invite skippers based on their skipper points and therefore ranking position, skippers who commit to another campaign subsequently drop down the rankings, and then find it very difficult to be invited to events and retain a position on the rankings.

It is anticipated that the "ranking holiday", which will be introduced during 2003, will allow skippers to successfully combine a match racing career with commitments to other long-term sailing campaigns.

World's Top 10 Skippers on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Open

2. Jesper RADICH (DEN
5. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE)
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA)
9. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA)
10. Francois BRENAC (FRA)

Click Here for the complete Open Rankings

ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Women

With no events taking place since the last Ranking Release in February, the majority of changes are only minor jostling for position as the ranking cylce continues.

The only change in the top 20 sees Clarie Leroy (FRA) swapping places with Italy's Ines Montefusco to sit at number 12. Marie Bjorling (SWE) remains at the top spot where she has been for more than two years, and is still 2642 points ahead of fellow Swede Malin Millbourn at number 2.

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Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NED) in action © Sergio Dionisio/Oceanfasion

The top 40 sees most sailors changing position by one or two places but with two sailors, Arabella Denvir (IRL) and Evan Brown (USA), falling out of the top 40 to make way for Aimee Famularo (NZL) who rises from 41 to 39 and Cordelia Eglin (GBR) who climbs from 40 to 36.

Dropping out of the top 50 from 46 down to 70 is Nadine Stegenwalner (GER) and sliding 32 places from 58 to 90 goes Carole Fabier (FRA).

World's Top 10 Skippers on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings - Women

1. Marie Bjorling (SWE)
2. Malin Millbourn (SWE)
3. Marie Faure (FRA)
4. Lotte Meldgaared Pedersen (DEN)
5. Nina Braestrup (DEN)
6. Giulia Conti (ITA)
7. Klaartje Zuiderbaan (NED)
8. Liz Baylis (USA)
9. Betsy Alison (USA)
10. Sabrina Gurioli (ITA)

Click Here for the complete Women's Rankings

The next ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be released on 22 May 2003 after the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup, 12-18 May, Portoferraio, Italy for the Open Match Race Rankings and the ISAF Grade 1 Saint Quay Women Match Racing, 14-18 May in Portrieux, France for the Women's Match Race Rankings.

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