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  • Alpari World Match Racing Tour Announces 2014 Championship Skippers
    Alpari World Match Racing Tour Announces 2014 Championship Skippers

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  • Extraordinary on-board sailing stunt marks 2014 Team Alpari FX line-up
    Extraordinary on-board sailing stunt marks 2014 Team Alpari FX line-up

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  • ALPARI WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR HISTORY IN THE MAKING?
    ALPARI WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR HISTORY IN THE MAKING?

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    London, UK (17th April 2014): Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team start the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour with the aim, of course, of winning this year’s World Championship title. But as was the case in 2013, when Williams disappointingly finished overall runner-up to Taylor Canfield’s USone team, victory this year would be significant: To date Williams has won the Tour four times – in 2007-8 and 2011-12. If he can score a fifth World Championship victory this year, then he will surpass Peter Gilmour’s record (of wins in 1990, 1997-8 and 2006) and enter the history books as the person to have claimed the title the most times in the Championship’s 26 year history. In 2013 the Lymington-based skipper and his crew of trimmers Gerry Mitchell and Mal Parker, tactician Bill Hardesty and bowman Matt Cassidy came close, starting the year strongly by winning Match Race Germany. But as the season wore on, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield gained ground, winning the Chicago Match Cup on home waters and coming home third at the Argo Group Gold Cup to Williams’ sixth. At the season decider, the Monsoon Cup, Team GAC Pindar lost the final to eventual winner Phil Robertson, but Canfield’s third place was enough to secure him the Tour title by 5 points.

2014 will be Williams’ ninth year on the Tour, making him one of the longest standing of eight Tour Card holders, with the exception of France’s Mathieu Richard who first competed a year earlier. Ian Williams from Great Britain, skipper of Team GAC Pindar, wins his forth ISAF World Match Racing Championship title on the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Read all about the final day here: http://bit.ly/1bR9Opq 

So what is the attraction? “I think from, a competitor’s perspective, the essence of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is that it is the best place for a keelboat sailing team to challenge themselves at a top level without the cost of boat ownership,” Williams explains. “But also that means the element of preparation and potential design improvement that goes into keelboats which often means the best funded teams win, due to their equipment advantage. That is obviously not available on the Tour. ”

As to whether match racers are ‘better sailors’ than fleet racers, Williams says that similar skills are required in both – you need to make your boat go fast in the right direction. “I think there are obviously extra skills you need in match racing, particularly understanding of how the pre-start works and how being able to win your spot on the start line and there is a bit more emphasis on boat handling and on tactical positioning, but the fundamental skills from fleet racing apply to match racing as well. Ian Williams wins his first match racing event at the Bermuda Gold Cup back in 2006 ”

What does sharpen a team’s sailing skills on the Tour, Williams says, are the shorter 18 minute long races and the pressure and intensity they create. “If we were matching over a 1 hour 20 minutes course - like the RC44s do - it would more come down to the boat speed, like a fleet race. ”

Team psychology during events is also crucial. Unlike almost all other sailing events, results during a Tour event are not cumulative. Instead the fight is constantly to get through to the next round. “So you get big races that are important and it is all about stepping up at the right moment, rather than if you are scoring over series, when it is more about consistency over the whole series. ”

This is an area where Williams feels his team has room for improvement as typically during 2013 they proved very strong during Qualifying (ie the round robin), but their performance fell off in the knockout stages of each event.

 “We won four out of six Qualifying round robins and a second and third were our other results in the Qualifying phases,” says Williams, “but we didn’t continue that performance through the rest of the regattas. ”

The reason for that, he feels, was an over-familiarity with his crew. The GAC Pindar line-up is set to be the same for this season, only with America’s Cup bowman Matt Cornwell stepping on board occasionally to fill in for Matt Cassidy. “We have analysed our performance last year and have come up with some conclusions about how we can change things a little bit to perform better, but we are the same team and it is not about changing any of the fundamentals, it is about sharpening up some of the things that maybe we got a bit slack on. Ian Williams wins his first championship title in 2007 at the Monsoon Cup, World Match Racing Tour. Read all about the final day here: http://bit.ly/1l4Eiqx ”

Being one of the most seasoned teams on the Tour, does give them a slight edge, Williams feels, but this is only because they are more familiar with the variety of boats they get to sail at Tour events throughout the year from the Bavaria cruising yachts at Match Race Germany to the classic International One Designs of the Argo Group Gold Cup to the more nimble DS37s they sail annually in Sweden, all of which perform and manoeuvre differently.

 “That is an advantage over the newer guys. I remember when I was new on the Tour, it was the events with new boats - like when we did Korea for the first time – when we were able to be stronger against people who had been on the Tour for longer. ”

New competition this season will come from 2014 Tour Card holders David Gilmour (son of Peter) and Italian Olympic veteran and Luna Rossa America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni. Inevitably Bruni will be strong, having previously finished runner-up to Williams in 2011. Gilmour Junior will be more of an unknown quantity. “I have been doing a bit of work with David with Team Australia on the Extreme Sailing Series and he is obviously a bright young talent,” says Williams. “If he does well at a regatta, it is likely to be through battling through the Qualifying round robins and taking that momentum through to the later knockout stages. He might well surprise a few people.

 “When I was coming on to the Tour, his father was the guy to beat and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that. I’m sure that now David is looking at us and trying to figure out how to beat us as the standard setter over the last four or five years.”

In addition to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Williams competed at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach where he finished second and is also scheduled to sail the new Grade 2 event being organised in his home waters by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble in mid-June.

 The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

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    Four Time World Champion Ian Williams returns to Lake Constance as defending Champion for the 17th Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany (April 15, 2014): The world champion takes a shine to Match Race Germany. For many years Ian Williams had tried to win the German classic but simply couldn’t. But now, the penny has dropped. The Briton and his team GAC Pindar return to Lake Constance over Pentecost from June 5 to 9 as the defending champions. Williams wants to set a new record this season, by becoming World Champion in this spectacular duel-discipline of sailing, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2014, for a record fifth time. Said Williams, “Of course we will be aiming to repeat our victory of last year but the Tour Card holder list this year is very strong. And I also expect the wild card entries and qualifiers to be a threat.” The former lawyer who took a sabbatical during which he proved himself as a world-class helmsman and decided to turn professional after the break, wants to become the all-time best match racer by winning his fifth world title. Presently Williams shares the lead with America's Cup winner and match racing legend Peter Gilmour. Ironically, Gilmour's son David could prevent Williams from pushing his father off the throne, as the young Australian heads to Langenargen for the very first time and as Tour Card debutant wants to show what the next generation of the Gilmour´s is capable of. The only thing that matters is on-water performance Says Ian Williams, a passionate match racer with his own typically elegant style: "The Alpari World Match Racing Tour offers some of the best racing in the sport. The fact that the equipment is supplied so the result comes down just to the performance of the sailors on the day provides for great competition. For us the match racing is part of our professional sailing program and certainly contributes to our livelihood.” Match racing stands for pure excitement, because the regatta is carried out in duels just like in the America 's Cup. The teams face each other in races boat against boat, team against team. This sailing discipline can be described as a mix of chess and boxing on the water. There is only one winner. As they say in the America’s Cup: There is no second. Design or equipment advantages do not exist as the matches are sailed on One Design boats. Ian Williams, who celebrates his 37th birthday on 26th April is happily looking forward to his return to Langenargen: "We really enjoy coming to Lake Constance.  The atmosphere at the event is always very festive and it is such a beautiful place that we always look forward to returning." The 2014 Match Race Germany 2014 will be the 17th edition since the inaugural event’s debut back in 1997. Only once the German classic had to be cancelled due to a flood back in 1999. The only German Grand Prix has been a stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour since 2000. Like in 2013 Match Race Germany will gain be the opening event for the 2014 Tour season. Eight seeded Tour Card holders, two qualifiers and two Wild Card skippers plus teams will be invited by the organizing committee to form the line-up of 12 participating teams from at least nine nations, who will entertain and impress tens of thousands spectators over Whitsun in front of the naturally beautiful sailing arena of Langenargen with their close and tense sailing. One world tour, six regattas around the globe, one world champion The final list of participants will be published by the organizers in May. The professional crews compete in picturesque Langenargen in South Germany for important Tour points as well as world ranking points of ISAF, and for US$40,000. After the German Grand Prix, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour heads to Sweden's beautiful island of Marstrand and ends after three more regattas in Sopot (Poland), Chicago (USA) and Hamilton (Bermuda) in Malaysia with the final showdown. There the fight for the world title and a lion's share of the total prize money of the tour of 1.75 million U.S. dollars come to an end in November when the new World Champion will be crowned. The Tour-Card-Skippers/Teams 2014 The reigning world champion: Taylor Canfield (USone; USA) The 4-times world champion: Ian Williams (GAC Pindar, GBR) The runner up of 2010: Mathieu Richard (LunaJets; FRA) The runner up of2012: Björn Hansen (eWork Sailing Team; SWE) The runner up of 2011: Francesco Bruni (Luna Rossa Challenge, ITA) Bronze medalist of 2013: Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing, NZL) No. 6 from 2013: Keith Swinton (Team Alpari FX, AUS) No.13 from 2013: David Gilmour (Team Gilmour, AUS) The Wild-Cards Will be announced soon by the organizing committee. The qualifiers 2nd place Berlin Match Race (winner Mathieu Richard comes with his Tour Card at Lake Constance: Eric Monnin (SUI ) German Match Race Champion : Carsten Kemmling (starts with Felix Oehmes Hamburg Match Race Team , Match Race World Ranking : No. 41)

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    London, UK (17th April 2014): Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team start the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour with the aim, of course, of winning this year’s World Championship title. But as was the case in 2013, when Williams disappointingly finished overall runner-up to Taylor Canfield’s USone team, victory this year would be significant: To date Williams has won the Tour four times – in 2007-8 and 2011-12. If he can score a fifth World Championship victory this year, then he will surpass Peter Gilmour’s record (of wins in 1990, 1997-8 and 2006) and enter the history books as the person to have claimed the title the most times in the Championship’s 26 year history. In 2013 the Lymington-based skipper and his crew of trimmers Gerry Mitchell and Mal Parker, tactician Bill Hardesty and bowman Matt Cassidy came close, starting the year strongly by winning Match Race Germany. But as the season wore on, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield gained ground, winning the Chicago Match Cup on home waters and coming home third at the Argo Group Gold Cup to Williams’ sixth. At the season decider, the Monsoon Cup, Team GAC Pindar lost the final to eventual winner Phil Robertson, but Canfield’s third place was enough to secure him the Tour title by 5 points.

2014 will be Williams’ ninth year on the Tour, making him one of the longest standing of eight Tour Card holders, with the exception of France’s Mathieu Richard who first competed a year earlier. Ian Williams from Great Britain, skipper of Team GAC Pindar, wins his forth ISAF World Match Racing Championship title on the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Read all about the final day here: http://bit.ly/1bR9Opq 

So what is the attraction? “I think from, a competitor’s perspective, the essence of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is that it is the best place for a keelboat sailing team to challenge themselves at a top level without the cost of boat ownership,” Williams explains. “But also that means the element of preparation and potential design improvement that goes into keelboats which often means the best funded teams win, due to their equipment advantage. That is obviously not available on the Tour. ”

As to whether match racers are ‘better sailors’ than fleet racers, Williams says that similar skills are required in both – you need to make your boat go fast in the right direction. “I think there are obviously extra skills you need in match racing, particularly understanding of how the pre-start works and how being able to win your spot on the start line and there is a bit more emphasis on boat handling and on tactical positioning, but the fundamental skills from fleet racing apply to match racing as well. Ian Williams wins his first match racing event at the Bermuda Gold Cup back in 2006 ”

What does sharpen a team’s sailing skills on the Tour, Williams says, are the shorter 18 minute long races and the pressure and intensity they create. “If we were matching over a 1 hour 20 minutes course - like the RC44s do - it would more come down to the boat speed, like a fleet race. ”

Team psychology during events is also crucial. Unlike almost all other sailing events, results during a Tour event are not cumulative. Instead the fight is constantly to get through to the next round. “So you get big races that are important and it is all about stepping up at the right moment, rather than if you are scoring over series, when it is more about consistency over the whole series. ”

This is an area where Williams feels his team has room for improvement as typically during 2013 they proved very strong during Qualifying (ie the round robin), but their performance fell off in the knockout stages of each event.

 “We won four out of six Qualifying round robins and a second and third were our other results in the Qualifying phases,” says Williams, “but we didn’t continue that performance through the rest of the regattas. ”

The reason for that, he feels, was an over-familiarity with his crew. The GAC Pindar line-up is set to be the same for this season, only with America’s Cup bowman Matt Cornwell stepping on board occasionally to fill in for Matt Cassidy. “We have analysed our performance last year and have come up with some conclusions about how we can change things a little bit to perform better, but we are the same team and it is not about changing any of the fundamentals, it is about sharpening up some of the things that maybe we got a bit slack on. Ian Williams wins his first championship title in 2007 at the Monsoon Cup, World Match Racing Tour. Read all about the final day here: http://bit.ly/1l4Eiqx ”

Being one of the most seasoned teams on the Tour, does give them a slight edge, Williams feels, but this is only because they are more familiar with the variety of boats they get to sail at Tour events throughout the year from the Bavaria cruising yachts at Match Race Germany to the classic International One Designs of the Argo Group Gold Cup to the more nimble DS37s they sail annually in Sweden, all of which perform and manoeuvre differently.

 “That is an advantage over the newer guys. I remember when I was new on the Tour, it was the events with new boats - like when we did Korea for the first time – when we were able to be stronger against people who had been on the Tour for longer. ”

New competition this season will come from 2014 Tour Card holders David Gilmour (son of Peter) and Italian Olympic veteran and Luna Rossa America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni. Inevitably Bruni will be strong, having previously finished runner-up to Williams in 2011. Gilmour Junior will be more of an unknown quantity. “I have been doing a bit of work with David with Team Australia on the Extreme Sailing Series and he is obviously a bright young talent,” says Williams. “If he does well at a regatta, it is likely to be through battling through the Qualifying round robins and taking that momentum through to the later knockout stages. He might well surprise a few people.

 “When I was coming on to the Tour, his father was the guy to beat and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that. I’m sure that now David is looking at us and trying to figure out how to beat us as the standard setter over the last four or five years.”

In addition to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Williams competed at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach where he finished second and is also scheduled to sail the new Grade 2 event being organised in his home waters by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble in mid-June.

 The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

    Read more...

    Four Time World Champion Ian Williams returns to Lake Constance as defending Champion for the 17th Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany (April 15, 2014): The world champion takes a shine to Match Race Germany. For many years Ian Williams had tried to win the German classic but simply couldn’t. But now, the penny has dropped. The Briton and his team GAC Pindar return to Lake Constance over Pentecost from June 5 to 9 as the defending champions. Williams wants to set a new record this season, by becoming World Champion in this spectacular duel-discipline of sailing, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2014, for a record fifth time. Said Williams, “Of course we will be aiming to repeat our victory of last year but the Tour Card holder list this year is very strong. And I also expect the wild card entries and qualifiers to be a threat.” The former lawyer who took a sabbatical during which he proved himself as a world-class helmsman and decided to turn professional after the break, wants to become the all-time best match racer by winning his fifth world title. Presently Williams shares the lead with America's Cup winner and match racing legend Peter Gilmour. Ironically, Gilmour's son David could prevent Williams from pushing his father off the throne, as the young Australian heads to Langenargen for the very first time and as Tour Card debutant wants to show what the next generation of the Gilmour´s is capable of. The only thing that matters is on-water performance Says Ian Williams, a passionate match racer with his own typically elegant style: "The Alpari World Match Racing Tour offers some of the best racing in the sport. The fact that the equipment is supplied so the result comes down just to the performance of the sailors on the day provides for great competition. For us the match racing is part of our professional sailing program and certainly contributes to our livelihood.” Match racing stands for pure excitement, because the regatta is carried out in duels just like in the America 's Cup. The teams face each other in races boat against boat, team against team. This sailing discipline can be described as a mix of chess and boxing on the water. There is only one winner. As they say in the America’s Cup: There is no second. Design or equipment advantages do not exist as the matches are sailed on One Design boats. Ian Williams, who celebrates his 37th birthday on 26th April is happily looking forward to his return to Langenargen: "We really enjoy coming to Lake Constance.  The atmosphere at the event is always very festive and it is such a beautiful place that we always look forward to returning." The 2014 Match Race Germany 2014 will be the 17th edition since the inaugural event’s debut back in 1997. Only once the German classic had to be cancelled due to a flood back in 1999. The only German Grand Prix has been a stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour since 2000. Like in 2013 Match Race Germany will gain be the opening event for the 2014 Tour season. Eight seeded Tour Card holders, two qualifiers and two Wild Card skippers plus teams will be invited by the organizing committee to form the line-up of 12 participating teams from at least nine nations, who will entertain and impress tens of thousands spectators over Whitsun in front of the naturally beautiful sailing arena of Langenargen with their close and tense sailing. One world tour, six regattas around the globe, one world champion The final list of participants will be published by the organizers in May. The professional crews compete in picturesque Langenargen in South Germany for important Tour points as well as world ranking points of ISAF, and for US$40,000. After the German Grand Prix, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour heads to Sweden's beautiful island of Marstrand and ends after three more regattas in Sopot (Poland), Chicago (USA) and Hamilton (Bermuda) in Malaysia with the final showdown. There the fight for the world title and a lion's share of the total prize money of the tour of 1.75 million U.S. dollars come to an end in November when the new World Champion will be crowned. The Tour-Card-Skippers/Teams 2014 The reigning world champion: Taylor Canfield (USone; USA) The 4-times world champion: Ian Williams (GAC Pindar, GBR) The runner up of 2010: Mathieu Richard (LunaJets; FRA) The runner up of2012: Björn Hansen (eWork Sailing Team; SWE) The runner up of 2011: Francesco Bruni (Luna Rossa Challenge, ITA) Bronze medalist of 2013: Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing, NZL) No. 6 from 2013: Keith Swinton (Team Alpari FX, AUS) No.13 from 2013: David Gilmour (Team Gilmour, AUS) The Wild-Cards Will be announced soon by the organizing committee. The qualifiers 2nd place Berlin Match Race (winner Mathieu Richard comes with his Tour Card at Lake Constance: Eric Monnin (SUI ) German Match Race Champion : Carsten Kemmling (starts with Felix Oehmes Hamburg Match Race Team , Match Race World Ranking : No. 41)

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    London, UK (14th April 2014): Andy Rice talks to Alpari World Match Racing Tour Director Craig Mitchell about what it takes to secure one of the much sought after ‘Tour Cards’ to compete on the Match Racing World Championship circuit. Every year on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, eight teams are allocated a ‘Tour Card’, a magic ticket which guarantees a place at every event on the World Championship circuit. The three podium finishers from the previous season automatically earn the right to return, and so reigning champions - Taylor Canfield and USone - are joined this year by 2013 runner-up Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar and third-placed Phil Robertson and WAKA Racing. Tour Director Craig Mitchell is part of the group that selects the remaining five teams to receive a much-coveted Tour Card. Mitchell has been working at the top of match racing for more than a decade, and says the Tour Card concept brings continuity to the season. “When we used to be the Swedish Match Tour, the event organisers were all in charge of their own invites to their events, and they invited who they wanted based on ISAF grading criteria and their own preferences. This made it tricky for a team to be able to plan their year, find sponsors, and to make any real assault on the overall title, as most events only tended to release their invites three months beforehand. As a team, you didn't know if you were going to get invites throughout the year”. “So the Tour management team created the Tour Card concept,” explains Mitchell. “The benefits were multifold, but mainly it was to give the sailors the opportunity sell themselves as a Tour competitor, which should make it easier for them to find a sponsor. Up to that point, a sailor would go to a potential sponsor who of course would ask, 'What events are you doing?'. The sailor didn’t know, so it was a still-born sponsorship proposal.” For the first year, back in 2009, the Tour Card holders were picked straight off the Tour leaderboard and the ISAF world rankings, but Mitchell says the system today is a development of that. “The Tour is also a commercial and media operation and we are looking for sailors who are not just at the top of their game technically, but who are aware of the wider requirements of being a professional athlete. It’s not just about being top 8 in the ISAF rankings, we are selling entertainment as well. Someone who's a great match racer but can’t handle the onshore expectations will have a lower commercial value, so we need to excerciose some flexibility in who is allocated a Tour Card. You need to take an overview approach - find your sponsor, sort your logistics and manage your PR. You need to be savvy on all those things. We’re looking for great sailors with all those skills, who look smart, present themselves well, and who help us to help them. It’s not just about sailing around a course quickly. If you can't put all the elements together, it will be more difficult to make it on the Tour.” So the top three from 2013 were an automatic pick, and of the five remaining spots, two are put aside for Wild Cards. This year they have been awarded to Francesco Bruni and his Luna Rossa crew from Italy, and David Gilmour and Team Gilmour from Australia. “Bruni won a silver medal on the Tour in 2011, and he came back to win last year’s Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda. With the America’s Cup connection with Luna Rossa, Bruni was an obvious choice for us, he will definitely be challenging for the title this year” says Mitchell. “David Gilmour did well at some of the Tour events last year as a qualifier, and he won the ISAF Nation’s Cup in Denmark. Also he’s a new recruit to the America’s Cup campaign, Team Australia. He’s the next generation of high level talent.” And he’s the son of match racing legend, Peter Gilmour, and continues that strong line of match racing specialists to come out of Perth. Which leaves three others to be picked from the 15-or-so applications that the Tour received from other contenders at the top of the match racing world. In the end they went to three strong performers from last season, Bjorn Hansen of Sweden, Keith Swinton - another strong match racer from Perth - and Mathieu Richard who made the most of some Wild Card entries last year including victory at the Korea Match Cup. “Richard deserves his place this year,” says Mitchell. “He trod the hard path last year, didn’t get invites to all the events but made the most of what he had, except for a disaster in Bermuda which ruined his overall chances of getting on to the podium.” As for who’s going to win? Well, a year ago few gave Taylor Canfield much of a chance of winning the Tour in his first full season. Match Racing doesn’t usually work like that, but the newcomers will draw heart from Canfield’s success and look to upset the apple cart again in 2014. The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

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    London, UK (5th February 2014): To tide everyone over until the start of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour 2014 season, Alpari have released an exclusive up close and personal video interview with their team, Team Alpari FX. Recorded during the 2013 Monsoon Cup season finale, find out what Adam, Dave, Tom, Nick and Chris really think about each other, and controversially, who they think the best sailor is…! Follow Team Alpari FX on Twitter @TeamAlpariFX

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    London, UK - 14 May 2012: Several rule changes have been confirmed for the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, coming into effect at the first event of the season, Match Race Germany in Langenargen on May 23 – 28. The Racing Rules have been amended in order to continue the positioning of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) as the most compelling, competitive and pioneering action on the water. Craig Mitchell, Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Tour Director, expects the alterations to have a positive effect on the Tour, as well as match racing in general: “Match racing has evolved to the point where we currently have a great set of rules, producing some fantastic sporting action, as we saw quite clearly in the 2011 series. “Nothing major has changed in the past few years and we are enthusiastic in our responsibility to keep developing the rules to challenge our world class athletes and create the best possible spectacle we can.”

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    Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia – 27 November, 2011: Borrowing from the motor sports world, where the driver is in constant contact with his crew via radio comms, real-time coaching has made its debut today in the Quarter-Finals of the Monsoon Cup. Rule 41 of the Racing Rules of Sailing which normally prohibits ‘outside assistance’ has been amended here, so that coaches have been allowed to give advice and insight to their team via radio. Positioned on the third-floor balcony of the Ri-Yaz Heritage pavilion adjacent to the race course area, the coaches have an elevated view of the current and the wind, and can provide, when prompted, their insight on which side of the course to favour in each match.  Having been out on the water themselves and felt the pressure of having to read the course while under fire, the natural choices of coaches were from among skippers and crew who did not make the cut to the Quarter-Final round. When these choices were revealed on the evening prior to racing, it provided great entertainment, as erstwhile enemies now became allies in the fight that lie ahead: having just won his last deciding match by mere centimetres, Francesco Bruni naturally chose his hapless opponent, Torvar Mirsky, to be his coach, and Matthieu Richard was tapped by rival skipper Peter Gilmour YANMAR Racing to help lead him through his next round.  Kidding aside, this shows the depth of respect and trust the teams have in each other’s abilities, even as they have been battling each other throughout the season.  “The concept of prohibiting outside assistance goes back to racing on the Thames in the 19th century,” says Gilmour, who proposed to try this at the Monsoon Cup. “Back then when the tide changed, a boat could hand off their anchor line to someone ashore, who could then tow them up the course. So the principal of being self-reliant became rooted in the game, and not until recently has this changed.”  And the change has been considerable: few yachts venture anywhere now without a GPS, most offshore races now allow weather routing help through downloads of grib files, and the advent of sophisticated electronic tools and modern telecommunications has brought offshore sailors to all new levels of accuracy and access. Most aspects of our lives can now be influenced and enhanced by having access to information made readily available – look at the explosion in apps for iPhones, iPads, and the like.  So it’s not a long stretch to accept real-time coaching help to increase the performance level of the teams, and help allow the game evolve in some new and interesting ways, especially if adopted at other match racing events. Coach positioning, for example, can play a huge role, and not every venue will have the bird’s eye view afforded here in Kuala Terengganu. Will coaches then be allowed.  out on other areas of the course, on the water or even in the air? And what about at the lower levels of the game where teams are still learning: would it be right for the coach to tell them how to execute a difficult manoeuvre and provide detailed tactical advice, rather then just observations of the race course? If so, who will police this?  And once coaches are accepted onto the competitor’s boats, what’s to keep them off the umpire boats as well? Most umpires agree that the integrity of most calls are made based on good positioning, and even the best umpires can find themselves out of position when a good call is needed. Can a coach possibly help them as well? An electronic variant of this concept devised by Stan Honey and his team is already in play at the America’s Cup World Series, where umpire calls are made based on highly-accurate telemetry brought to match umpires pouring over their screens. Honey says the debriefs are no longer arguments about the facts of positioning – the telemetry settles this to within centimetres – but about the tactical options and rules that apply.  But here at the Monsoon Cup the input provided by coaches was more factual than directive: where the wind shift was seen to be, what side of the course seemed to have better current, etc., and not direct advice on what side of the start line or upwind leg to favour.  One team that enjoyed the most success from the coaching was newly-crowned World Champion Ian Williams Team GAC Pindar, who had already signed up 49er Olympic Silver Medallist Ian Barker to help them read the course area. And while not a match racer per se, Barker does, however, have tremendous coaching experience for Olympic aspirants, and was already on his way to coach at the ISAF Sailing World Championships the following week in Perth. With Barker’s help, Williams won the overall World Championship title in the Quarter Final, sailing a course area strewn with tricky current eddies and wind shifts.  Perhaps ironically, the teams with skippers as coaches did not fair so well: Mirsky’s Bruni went down 1-3 to Williams, and Richard’s Gilmour lost 1-3 to Johnnie Berntsson.  But not having a coach had its perils as well: both Will Tiller and Phil Robertson eschewed their option to take on a coach, and both lost to their rivals by close scores of 2-3.  How much will coaching be used in future Tour events? Probably more, as the Tour seeks to embrace new ways to enhance the excitement level even more, both on and off the water. - Article provided by Dobbs Davis

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    Bermuda (11th October 2013):  Judging from his performance so far at the Argo Group Gold Cup, Italian skipper Francesco Bruni has been missing the Tour. He last competed in 2011 when he came home second to runaway leader Ian Williams. Aside from being part of several of the world’s top campaigns such as the Italian-Argentine TP52 Azzurra Sailing Team, the 2012 52 Super Series winner, for the last year Bruni has been full time with Patrizio Bertelli’s America’s Cup challenger, Luna Rossa. On board the Italian AC72, Bruni called tactics for helmsman Chris Draper and he expects to be integral to Bertelli’s challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.

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    Hamilton, Bermuda (8th October 2013): The Argo Group Gold Cup sees the return to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour of Danish skipper Peter Wibroe, who is competing this week racing as part of Nicolai Sehested’s Trefor Match Racing team. Wibroe competed on the Tour over the 2007-8 seasons. “We sail out of the same yacht club and we have raced against each other for years,” says Wibroe of his skipper. “I have been out of the game for a few years and actually I wanted to come back but it is always difficult to start up again from scratch.”

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    Terengganu, Malaysia (18 November 2013): Jeremy Koo and his Koo Racing Team proved unstoppable as they sailed their way to victory in the final of the Liga Layar Malaysia 2013, the qualifying event for the Monsoon Cup. Koo’s win means he will represent Malaysia in the Monsoon Cup for the fourth consecutive time, when it is held at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort & Spa from 25-30 November.

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    London, UK (May 22, 2013): The GKSS Spring Cup will be sailed this weekend in Gothenburg and the event serves as a qualifier for Stena Match Cup Sweden, the third stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Both the best international team and the best Swedish team will win an entry ticket to the World Tour event, and the line-up in the regatta features both top ranked skippers and young Swedish talents hoping to make it to the international stage. Ten teams have been invited to the GKSS Spring Cup, four Swedish and six international. One the top ranked skippers in the race is Reuben Corbett (NZL) who won the event last year, qualified for Stena Match Cup 2013 where his team made it to the quarterfinals.

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FEATURED SKIPPER

Skipper - Australia

Keith Swinton’s passion for sailing began in Perth at the age of eight and the list of competitions, classes and achievements he has under his belt belies his age. He’s competed in Olympic Class Sailing, on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, in IRC Racing and One Design Racing in a number of classes, including 420, 470, 29er, Tornado, Etchell and Flying 15. However, he considers match raci...

STRONG TRADITIONS

Old traditions but humble minds

It has taken many years for competitive sailing to capture the public imagination and it has taken a return to basic principles to make it happen. Right at the beginning of yacht racing, in the 17th century, races took place between two boats going down the river to the sea and back, and crowds lined the sides of the river to watch it happening. It was easy to understand, because the first one home won, it was exciting and it was a marvellous spectacle.

Over the years, as is so often the way with sport, the experts refined the rules, introduced handicaps and developed a language that ensured that only a rarefied breed of sailor – usually a member of an exclusive club – would understand what was going on and very often even he would not. The wider audience did

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