The event that debuted last year with resounding success is once again organized by Justino DE SA MACHADO's Sun Sailing Team, the Naval Club of Cascais and Cascais Marina. It will be sailed in the Swedish Match 40.
The line up features four crews from America's Cup syndicates as well as number one sailor in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Peter GILMOUR (AUS), who has proved unbeatable in the last couple of months.
Two weeks ago, his sixth ISAF Grade 1 Swedish Match Cup was the latest in a string of major victories for GILMOUR, whose form in the past few months has seen him overtake reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion, Ed BAIRD (USA) at the top of the Rankings. Thanks to his number one spot in the Rankings, GILMOUR has received an invite to the ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2005 in Calpe, Spain from 12-17 September. Two other entrants in Portugal, Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), have also received invitations to challenge BAIRD for his world crown.
BAIRD won the inaugural Portugal Match Cup in Cascais last year, but the American will not be returning to defend his title. However his America's Cup team, Alinghi (SUI) will be represented by last year's third place finisher, Peter HOLMBERG (ISV).
In Cascais, GILMOUR will be aiming for his fourth straight win in an ISAF Grade 1 regatta, although he will have to do without regular crewmembers Rod DAWSON (NZL), Mike MOTTL (AUS) and Kazuhiko SOFUKU (JPN) who cannot race due to other commitments. However long time crewmember Yasuhiro YAJI (JPN) will be presented and he and GILMOUR will be joined by Thierry FOUCHIER (FRA) and Fred GUILMAN (FRA).
As well as HOLMBERG representing Alinghi, BMW Oracle Racing's (USA) Bertrand PACÉ (FRA) and Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team's (ITA) Hamish PEPPER (NZL) will be in Cascais racing for their America's Cup teams. The fourth America's Cup representative is two time Olympic gold medallist Ben AINSLIE (GBR), who will be racing for Emirates Team New Zealand.
Other competitors include two local qualifiers, Afonso DOMINGOS (POR) and Manuel MARQUES (POR), 2004 Australian Match Racing Champion Michael DUNSTAN (AUS) and the super experienced Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) and Chris LAW (GBR).
The event format splits the twelve teams into two groups of six, and each group races a single round robin (five races each).
The top three in each group will advance to the quarter final round while the remaining six teams will move on to a repechage round where they will sail another round robin. The top two from the repechage round will then advance to the quarters.
The quarter final, semi final, final and petite final are all knockout rounds. In the quarters, semis and final, teams will need three points to claim victory, in the petite final the first to score two points will win.
PTPortugal Match Cup Entrants
(Team - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)
- Peter GILMOUR (AUS), Pizza-La Sailing Team (AUS) - 1
- Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Musto Team - 9
- Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Team Finland (FIN) - 11
- Bertrand PACÉ (FRA), BMW Oracle Racing (USA) - 14
- Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Gram-Hansen Racing - 20
- Michael DUNSTAN (AUS) - 28
- Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi (SUI) - 62
- Ben AINSLIE (GBR), Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) - 91
- Chris LAW (GBR), The Outlaws - 107
- Manuel MARQUES (POR) - 110
- Afonso DOMINGOS (POR) - 225
- Hamish PEPPER (NZL), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team (ITA) - 926