The latest ISAF World Match Race Rankings, released following the recently held ISAF Grade 1 Pedrini Cento Cup on Lake Garda, Italy, have produced some of the biggest shake-ups of the year and a new leader in the Women's Rankings.
As well as the Cento Cup, other Grade 1 events included in this rankings release that can give a skipper vital points to add to his or her ranking points include the Garda Trentino Match Race, Match Race Germany, the Toscana Elba Cup and the ACI HTMobile Cup. For the women's, the only event included in this release is the pinnacle event of the season the Boat U.S. ISAF Women's Match Race World Championship, which was held in Annapolis, Maryland, from 5-12 June.
Nevertheless, both the Open and Women's rankings show some significant changes, with the top twenty shuffling more than a seasoned croupier, to such an extent in the women's fleet that not a single position in the top twenty is occupied by the same skipper this time as last time.
Although Karol JABLONSKI
(POL) still leads the rankings, despite a lacklustre performance at the recent Match Race Germany, there are now three other skippers in addition to Karol who each have more than 10000 ranking points and the competition really is hotting up. James SPITHILL
(AUS) is now up to second place ahead of Ed BAIRD (USA) and Jesper RADICH
Radich's victory at the Match Race Garda Trentino has done little to help his slide from third to fourth in these rankings due to Spithill's leapfrog into the runner-up position.
(FRA) has had a good couple of recent events with a second at the Cento Cup, losing the one-race final to Paolo CIAN
(ITA) and finishing third in the Garda Trentino has enabled him, in incredibly unstable times mid-season, to consolidate his fifth position. Cian with his victory at the Cento Cup enabling to remain in ninth position, leads Lars NORDBJERG (DEN) to round out the top ten.
There are two movers within the top twenty that have been predicted around the world for some time, and they are big movers. The first is BMW Oracle helmsman Gavin BRADY
(NZL) whose appearances and indeed third place finishes, at the Toscana Elba Cup and Match Race Germany, have given him enough events to count a full eight. Now that he has the points, he has shot into the top twenty into fourteenth position.
That movement from Brady, however impressive, pales into insignificance when one looks at the form of Team New Zealand helmsman Bertrand PACÉ (FRA), whose results of late include a victory at the ACI HTMobile Cup, a second at Match Race Germany and a fifth at Toscana Elba Cup. All these results have come at the right time in an intensive part of the match racing season and have sufficed to launch the talented skipper 102 places up the rankings, into 18.
The Women's Rankings includes but one new event to potentially count towards skipper points. But what an event it was, the BoatU.S. ISAF Women's Match Race Championships saw 12 of the world's best women's crews battling it out on the waters of Chesapeake Bay for the most prestigious title in Women's Match Racing.
Eventually the event was won in style by Sally BARKOW
(USA), a result that has launched her into the top twenty in the rankings despite only counting five events out of a possible eight. She is now ranked 13 and it seems as soon as this young lady counts a full compliment of results there is no doubt she will be challenging for the top of the rankings. She is currently ranked 10 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for the Yngling and looks set to have a glittering sailing career ahead of her.
Meanwhile, for the first time since February 2003 there is a new leader of the Women's Match Racing Rankings in the form of Lotte MELDGAARD-PEDERSEN
(DEN), who replaces Marie BJORLING (SWE).
Bjorling, who has taken a break from match racing and has just finished a rankings holiday, can keep her 20 skipper points to enable her to gain invitations to events in the next 18 months, and we can envisage her rapid climb back up the rankings in the near future from her current position of ninth.
Other significant movers in the top twenty include the emergence of Christine BRIAND (FRA) into the top twenty as well as two sailors from USA, Elizabeth KRATZIG
and Sandy HAYES.
The next ISAF World Match Race Rankings will be released on 28 July 2004, following the ISAF Open World Match Racing Championship, which is to be held from 17-24 July in Ekaterinburg, Russia.