Today marked a historic day for sailing’s longest-running professional series with the purchase by Sweden’s Aston Harald AB of the iconic World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Pro Match Tour Ltd, the Bermuda-based owner of the Tour and Aston Harald, manufacturer of the M32 racing catamaran and organiser of the M32 Series, concluded the sale at Aston Harald’s new manufacturing and technology centre on the island of Hönö, near Gothenburg, Sweden. Aston Harald will take over the operations of the Tour from 1 July.
The acquisition marks a major step forward for the ISAF sanctioned World Match Racing Tour, as Aston Harald also announced plans to construct a series of identical M32 catamarans to be based in the USA, Europe and Asia to be used at future World Match Racing Tour events.
Håkan Svensson, CEO and Owner of Aston Harald commented; “Conquering the World Match Racing Tour has proved one of the sport’s toughest challenges. With the rapid innovation of top-level sailboat racing and the growing popularity in multihull racing, we’re now in a position to help talented young sailors work toward a career at the highest level of the sport through the M32 Series and now the World Match Racing Tour.”
James Pleasance, Executive Director of the World Match Racing Tour added, “The acquisition is a very exciting development for the Tour. Over the last year, we have been looking at ways to bring multihull racing into the WMRT and the M32’s by Aston Harald are the perfect solution to take the Tour to the next level of professional match racing.”
Aston Harald AB has formed a new Management Board for the World Match Racing Tour including the current core team of James Pleasance (Executive Director), Craig Mitchell (Tour Director) and Ivan Tuen (Brand and Marketing Director). Legendary Swedish America’s Cup sailor and former World Match Racing Tour Champion Magnus Holmberg also joins Aston Harald AB as Sporting Director and will work with the M32 Series, and the World Match Racing Tour, which he helped create in 1999. The team will maintain its office in London and establish a new office at Aston Harald AB on the Island of Hönö, Sweden.
More details of the purchase and the future of the World Match Racing Tour will be provided at a press conference during the Stena Match Cup Sweden in Marstrand on Friday, July 3 2015.