Since announcing a new event format for the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), the leaderboard for the 2015/16 ISAF Match Racing World Championship has already started to see a number of talented new match racing skippers posting top 10 results. 21 year old Dane Joachim Aschenbrenner currently sits on top of the leaderboard with 39 points ahead of New Zealanders Chris Steele and Reuben Corbett, each on 36 points.
Now in its 16th consecutive season as the longest running professional series in the sport, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) sanctioned World Match Racing Tour announced a new event and points format in March this year introducing a total of 19 events for the 2015/16 schedule. Adopting a similar model to the ATP World Tour from the world of professional tennis, this year’s WMRT includes 7 ‘World Championship’ Events, a similar to ATP World Tour’s ‘Grand Slam’ events and 12 additional ‘World Tour’ Events.
The top 10 placed skippers at ‘World Championship’ Events earn points to the annual WMRT leaderboard, with the top 6 placed skippers from ‘World Tour’ Events earning [lesser] points to the leaderboard.
36 Below Racing skipper, Chris Steele from New Zealand was first to post his winning result from California’s Ficker Cup, a ‘World Tour’ Event in May. Steele’s win, together with second placed Dustin Durant from Long Beach, California qualified both skippers to compete in the opening ‘World Championship’ Event – the 51st Congressional Cup.
However they were to prove no match for defending Congressional Cup champion and former ISAF Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield and his experienced US One sailing team. US Virgin Islander, Canfield won the event ahead of second placed Phil Robertson of Waka Racing from New Zealand and five-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams of Great Britain and his GAC Pindar team finishing in third.
Meanwhile, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Danish match racer Rasmus Viltoft won the Volvo Spring Cup another ‘World Tour’ Event ahead of Sweden’s Anna Ostling.. Both skippers qualified for entry to the ‘World Championship’ Event – Stena Match Cup Sweden taking place from the 29 June to 4 July.
The Curse of the Lake
With back to back events happening in May, 12 skippers competed on the calmer shores of Lake Constance in Southern Germany for the 19th edition of Match Race Germany – the second ‘World Championship’ Event of the WMRT. The first day of qualifying was a slow start for some of the skippers who flew in straight right after the Congressional Cup. But Tour Card skipper, Eric Monnin led the charge with a confident score line on the first day of qualifying.
The five-day event format was full of intense. Danish skipper Joachim Aschenbrenner beat fellow Tour Card skipper Reuben Corbett in the Quarter Finals. Joining Aschenbrenner in the final four were Tour Card skipper Eric Monnin, Australian match racer Matt Jerwood and Tomislav Basic from Croatia.
Famous for its light and fickle conditions, Croatia’s Tomislav Basic, a formidable competitor in the RC44 and TP52 classes, won a tense final against experienced Swiss match racer Eric Monnin and his Team Sailbox. Joachim Aschenbrenner got a podium finished third, an improvement after his debut at the Congressional Cup finishing 6th the week before.