World Match Racing Tour

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The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the world’s leading match racing series featuring World-Class Championship events across the globe. The series is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with “Special Event” status.

World Match Racing Tour
Professional Sailing Championship
Industry sailing
match race
sports championship

ProMatch Tour Ltd

10 Queen Street, HM11 Bermuda

ProMatch Tour Ltd

10 Queen Street, HM11 Bermuda, Bermuda
Area served
Key people
James Pleasance - Executive Director

The tour currently spans across 3 continents and is now the only professional monohull match racing series since the September 2010 decision of the America's Cup to organise only multihull races at their events.[1]

The Tour awards over US$1.5 million in prize money,[2] with points awarded at each event culminating in the crowning of the “ISAF Match Racing World Champion”. A US$500,000 overall prize pool for the Championship is now on offer.[3]

Tour Events utilise the same 'match race' format used in the America’s Cup with racing taking place in identical supplied racing yachts which change for each event and which place a firm focus on team work and skill to win the race. Racing takes place close to the shore in order for the general public to follow the races as if they were in virtual on-the-water stadiums.

Media and television highlights coverage spans the globe, reaching millions of households in over 183 countries around the world.[4]


TOUR HISTORY IN BRIEF (the history of match racing)

1660 – First ever match racing event between King Charles II and his brother James, Duke of York – raced from Greenwich to Gravesend and back for a prize purse of 100 guineas

1937 – First match racing event in a “one-design” yacht sets sail at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. American C Sherman Hoyt was the first winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup now known as the Argo Group Gold Cup

1956 – The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club placed the King Edward VII Gold Cup in competition for match racing yachts of International One Design

1964 – Congressional Cup joins the King Edward VII Gold Cup as a match-racing regatta

1965 – The Royal Lymington Cup joins in the following year making it three match racing competitions – Bermuda, Congressional and Lymington – they all survived through the 70’s

1985 – The World Match Racing Conference was established to supervise on ruling and restriction and supervision on all match-racing regattas

1985 - Five key founders of Match Racing regattas formed Match Racing Association in Long Beach California

1988 – The idea on umpiring on the water, with instant justice and penalties was adopted at the Congressional Cup after the incident at the America’s Cup in 1987 Fremantle.

1988 – Chris Dickson wins the first World Championship of Match Race Sailing, held as a single rolling event in Fremantle, Australia.

1989 – Chris Dickson wins his second World Championship of Match Race Sailing at Lymington (the term “Match Racing” was not yet formally used)

1990 – Peter Gilmour wins his first Match Racing Championship

1991 – Chris Dickson wins his third Match Racing Championship

1992 – Russell Coutts wins his first Match Racing Championship

1993 – Russell Coutts wins his second Match Racing Championship

1994 – Bertrand Pace wins his first Match Racing Championship

1994 – Match Cup Sweden was first held in the island of Marstrand

1995 – Ed Baird wins his first Match Racing Championship

1995 – Match Racing received great interest and Fabergé, the cosmetic manufacturer used the brand “Brut” to form a match racing series. The series offered USD250,000 of prize money, the highest prize awarded in sailing regattas. To win the big prize – and the Fabergé Egg, the competitor had to win three out of five races – Bermuda, San Francisco, New York, Lymington and France – the Brut Cup

1996 – International Yacht Racing Union is renamed as International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and setup up a classification for match-racing

1996 – Swedish Match sponsors Match Cup Sweden after they had finished the Whitebread Round-the-World sponsorship (now known as the Volvo Ocean Race)

1997 – Russell Coutts and his Team Magic wins the Fabergé Egg and the USD250,000 prize money. Brut left as a sponsor after that leaving the match racing series in a state of limbo.

1997 – Peter Gilmour wins his second Match Racing Championship or known as ISAF World Championship

1998 – Peter Gilmour wins his third ISAF Match Racing Championship

1998 – Swedish Match takes over and sponsors the match racing series. The creation of Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing began

1999 – Jesper Bank of Denmark, wins his first ISAF Match Racing Championship

2000 – Swedish Match Tour (formerly known as the Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing) is the official match racing sailing series sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation. Bertrand Pace is the winner of the Tour

2001 – Magnus Holmberg of Sweden wins the Swedish Match Tour on home ground Marstrand

2002 – Peter Holmberg of the Alinghi Team wins the Swedish Match Tour

2003 – Jesper Radich from Denmark wins the Swedish Match Tour

2004 – BMW joins in as the Official Partner of the Tour. Peter Gilmour wins the Tour in Sweden

2005 – Peter Gilmour wins the Swedish Match Tour and USD60,000 prize money as well as a BMW Car

2005 – First Asian participation in the match racing circuit – Monsoon Cup marks the 50th event on the Swedish Match Tour

2006 – Swedish Match Tour became the World Match Racing Tour and became the ISAF World Championship. Peter wins the Tour and claimed his fourth ISAF Match Racing Championship

2007 – Ian Williams wins his first ISAF Match Racing Championship and the Monsoon Cup

2008 – Back to back wins for Ian Williams as he won ISAF Match Racing Championship again 2008 – With the success of the Monsoon Cup, Korea Match Cup joined the World Match Racing Tour

2009 – Adam Minoprio became the youngest sailor ever to win the ISAF Match Racing Championship

2010 – Ben Ainslie of Great Britain wins the ISAF Match Racing Championship

2011 – Ian Williams wins his third ISAF Match Racing Championship with a double, winning the Monsoon Cup, the season finale of the World Match Racing Tour

2011 – Great Britain’s Royal Jeweler’s, Garrard & Co created the World Match Racing Tour trophy

2012 – With the success of World Match Racing TourALPARI UK Ltd became title sponsor of the Tour – renaming it as the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Ian Williams bags his fourth ISAF Match Racing Championship matching match-racing legend Peter Gilmour who announced retirement that year

2013 – Taylor Canfield wins the ISAF Match Racing Championship at the age of 24

2015 – Ian Williams wins his fifth ISAF Match Racing Championship beating Peter Gilmour's record of four world championship title


The World Match Racing Tour has been sponsored since 2000. The title sponsorship enables the tour's sponsorship name. There have been two sponsors since the tour's formation.

  • 1998–1999: No sponsor (Swedish Match Grand Prix Sailing)
  • 2000–2006: Swedish Match (Swedish Match Tour)
  • 2006–2011: No sponsor (World Match Racing Tour)
  • 2012–2015*: Alpari Group (Alpari World Match Racing Tour)[5] *Alpari (UK) Ltd goes into administration due to Swiss franc turmoil[6]
  • 2015–current: No sponsor (World Match Racing Tour)

As well as sponsorship for the tour itself, the World Match Racing Tour has a number of official partners and suppliers.

  • Garrard & Co: Official Jeweller & Silversmith (2011–2014)
  • Pelle P: Official Clothing Partner (2012–current)
  • Drift Innovation: Official Supplier (2013–2014)
  • Albert Riele: Official Watch Partner (2014–current)
  • IMG Media Group: Official Media Partner (2013–current)

Match Racing[edit]

See also: Match race

When only two sailing boats are on the starting line of the race, the race is called match racing. Match racing has its own set of rules, which are slightly different from the regular sailing boat racing rules and these create very close, aggressive competition in which collisions can easily occur. Match racing also has on-the-water judging, with umpires dispensing "instant justice" on the water.[7] Match racing is tremendously exciting for those participating and, unlike some other sailing competitions, match racing can be equally thrilling to watch. Before the start, the boats vie for control, circling each other and trying to wipe each other off into spectator boats in an elaborate game of cat and mouse.

Rules and Strategy[edit]

General Rules[edit]

  • When the wind comes across the sides of the boats in the opposite direction, the boat with the wind on the left (port) side gives way to the boat with the wind on the right (starboard) side.
  • If the wind comes across the same side of the boats and there is no overlapping, the boat behind (astern) must keep clear.
  • Should the wind come across the same side of the boats and there is overlapping, the boat on the leeward (downwind) side of the other has the right-of-way.
  • Umpires follow each race and make instant penalty decisions. A boat (colour flag on back) with a penalty (colored ball on umpire boat) must do a 270-degree penalty turn before the finish.
  • Visit Appendix C of the ISAF's Racing Rules of Sailing to view the rules for match racing.


  • The Start: A 7-minute starting gun signals the beginning of an intricate, heated pre-match dogfight,[8] with the two boats engaging in a furious one-on-one battle to gain the leading position on the race course. Additional gunshots indicate the countdown to the beginning of the race at 5 minutes to go, 3 minutes to go and finally the beginning of the race.
  • Windward Leg: On the course the boats commence an upwind battle; the lead boat spilling turbulent air off its sails to slow the boat behind. Furious tacking is likely to ensue with the latter trying to force a crew error in order to rob their aggressor of the advantage. The end of the first windward leg provides an opportunity for the trailing boat to seize the edge by creating an inside overlap within two lengths of the mark, forcing the lead boat to allow room which usually means relinquishing its place.
  • Downwind Run: On the downwind run the trailing boat has a chance to attack from behind, positioning itself so it's spinnaker casts a wind shadow over the leader. To escape, the boat may gibe away, creating heart-pounding onboard action - and spectacular sailing - as each crew furiously swings spinnakers from side to side.
  • Dropping the Spinnaker: At the bottom mark the same overlap rules apply and the action intensifies as crews drop the spinnaker and prepare the boat for the next leg while the skipper jostles for position.
  • The Finish: Once more around the course and the battle is over. Often the winner is not determined until the final few boat lengths.

World Champions[edit]

Year World Champion Venue Tour Winner Team Points
2015  Ian Williams (GBR) World Tour  Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 132 points
2013  Taylor Canfield (ISV) World Tour  Taylor Canfield (ISV) USOne 120 points
2012  Ian Williams (GBR) World Tour  Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 130 points
2011  Ian Williams (GBR) World Tour  Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 144 points
2010  Ben Ainslie (GBR) World Tour  Ben Ainslie (GBR) Team Origin 126 points
2009  Adam Minoprio (NZL) World Tour  Adam Minoprio (NZL) BlackMatch Racing 138 points
2008  Ian Williams (GBR) World Tour  Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar 110 points
2007  Ian Williams (GBR) World Tour  Ian Williams (GBR) Team Pindar 172 points
2006  Peter Gilmour (AUS) World Tour  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team 113 points
2005  James Spithill (AUS) Calpe, Spain  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team 117 points
2004  Ed Baird (USA) Ekaterinburg, Russia  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Pizza-La Sailing Team 135 points
2003  Ed Baird (USA) Riva del Garda, Italy  Jesper Radich (DEN) Team Radich 111 points
2002  Karol Jablonski (POL) Stockholm, Sweden  Peter Holmberg (USA) Oracle BMW Racing 120 points
2001 None None  Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Team Stora Enso 104 points
2000  Dean Barker (NZL) Split, Croatia  Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Team New Zealand 114 points
1999  Jesper Bank (DEN) Copenhagen, Denmark
1998  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Hayama, Japan
1997  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Marstrand, Sweden
1996  Russell Coutts (NZL) Dubrovnik, Croatia
1995  Ed Baird (USA) Auckland, New Zealand
1994  Bertrand Pacé (FRA) La Rochelle, France
1993  Russell Coutts (NZL) Long Beach, United States
1992  Russell Coutts (NZL) Perth, Australia
1991  Chris Dickson (NZL) Hamilton, Bermuda
1990  Peter Gilmour (AUS) Auckland, New Zealand
1989  Chris Dickson (NZL) Lymington, United Kingdom
1988  Chris Dickson (NZL) Perth, Australia


BlackMatch Racing won the inaugural best team award in 2009.[9]

Johnie Berntsson won the Swedish Sailor of the Year Awards in 2011[10]


External links[edit]