London, UK - The ISAF World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) teams are back on European seas this week for the 2010 Portimão Portugal Match Cup. Portimão has been dubbed Portugal’s ‘capital for sea sports’ and is experienced in hosting top class international yachting events which will prove important for this venue’s inaugural World Match Racing Tour event running 22 – 27 of June.
Portimão originally established as a tourist destination is also growing in stature as a premiere sporting venue. The City has previously hosted a range of World Championships. Since 2004 match racing has been developing throughout the Portuguese Yacht Clubs and builds annually in popularity through Portimão’s 45,000 residents.
Justino Sá Machado, President of Portimão Portugal Match Cup, initiated opening the international match racing door to Portugal. “Since 2004 match racing has developed tremendously in this region. This led us to create the Portimão Sun Sailing Team Academy which is a fleet of 6 boats that are available for match race practice throughout the year to national and international sailors”.
The Tour is currently lead by Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team with a 29 point lead over Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing, the former 2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion. For Stage 4 of the Tour, 8 out of the 12 skippers confirmed, sit within the top 10 of the official ISAF rankings. The Portugal leg of the World Tour brings a hard-hitting line up of elite helms to the race course, where teams will once again duel for World Match Racing Tour points, through a series of round robin, quarters, semis and for the lucky few the finals.
Portimão will be home to this Stage of the Tour for the next 3 years through to 2012. This region of the Algarve is famed for its distinctive jagged and intensely coloured rocky coastline along which nestle golden sand beaches. Portimão is predicted to provide greater wind speeds which will be a different test of boat handling skills for the teams and could potentially produce a new dynamic set of skippers to secure safe slots into the semis. The Portimão promise is for daily racing close to the marina and beach accompanied by excellent yacht racing conditions so as to satisfy the spectators as well as the sailors who are both essential ingredients in the longevity of this quickly expanding international sporting platform.
As well as 8 of the high profile ISAF World Match Racing Tour card holders entered for Portugal Match Cup, there is the welcome addition of 3 wild card entries from Portugal, Spain and Russia. The Swede, Mangus Holmberg (SWE) Victory Challenge, also returns to the 2010 WMRT after making his debut earlier in Stage 2 at Match Race Germany. After finishing 7th at Langenargen with his new crew, Holmberg now hopes for a podium position at Portugal and to finish ahead of fellow match racing legend, Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, who finished one place in front of Holmberg, at Lake Bodensee.
2010 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings
(After Stage 3 of 10)
1 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 65 Points
2 Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing 39 Points
3 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 30 Points
4 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 28 Points
5 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 23 Points
6 Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 20 Points
- Jesper Radich (SWE) Radich Racing Team 20 Points
8 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 18 Points
9 Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Italia 16 Points
10 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Gill Global Team 15 Points