Crusing Yacht Club of Australia, Sydney
Sydney ready to welcome World Match Racing Tour Final
The line-up for the 2022 finale of the World Match Racing Tour has been confirmed with ten teams heading to Sydney, Australia to compete at the WMRT Final for the Open Match Racing World Championship title 13-18 December in Sydney Harbour. The event is being co-hosted with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with five scheduled race days from Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 December 2022.
The change of venue to Sydney for the 2022 WMRT Final follows the ongoing border closures in China during 2022, where the WMRT Final was previously scheduled to take place in Shenzhen from 6-11 December. Strict travel restrictions for international visitors to China since 2020 prevented the tour from hosting the final in China this year, hence the change of venue to Sydney with the kind support of the CYCA.
Seven countries are being represented at this year's WMRT Final for the Open Match Racing World Championship. Denmark, Estonia, France and Italy each have one entry, whilst hosts Australia, New Zealand and the USA will each field two teams for the event. Defending world champion Taylor Canfield (USA) and six-time world champion Ian William (GBR) were unable to attend the event.
Sailing on one of the most iconic waterways of the world, the race course will be situated just off one of the Harbours islands, enabling close spectator access as well as the stunning backdrop of Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
"We are very excited to see racing get underway next week on the iconic Sydney Harbour" commented WMRT Executive Director James Pleasance. "It is the first time we have staged the WMRT Final in Australia and we are very grateful to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for co-hosting the event with us."
The winner of the event will be crowned 2022 WMRT Champion and World Sailing Open Match Racing World Champion. The World Match Racing Tour is a long standing Special Event of World Sailing, the governing body of the sport, since 2006.
American Chris Poole heads into the world championship as one of the favourites. Poole currently leads the overall Tour Leader board, after finishing third at the Long Beach Yacht Club's 57th Congressional Cup in April, followed by a regatta win at the Chicago Grand Slam WMRT Qualifier event in August. Fellow Americans David Hood and his DH3 Racing team complete the USA line-up having had strong results at events in Los Angeles and Italy this year.
Using the CYCA's fleet of matched Elliott 7m keelboats, with crews of four or five, the strongest challengers to Poole will likely come from the home Club, with Cole Tapper and Harry Price representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Harry Price's Down Under Racing has been a regular on the World Match Racing Tour for the past three seasons and was the 2017 Youth Match Racing World Champion. Whilst for Cole, this will be his first appearance at a World Championship level event but with local knowledge of the Sydney waters.
Nick Egnot-Johnson & Megan Thompson from New Zealand will also feel right at home in the Elliott 7s with their home Club, the RNZYS (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) also owning a fleet. For Egnot-Johnson this will be his first Open World Championship, having represented New Zealand at the 2019 & 2020 Youth World Championships.
Megan Thompson and her 2.0 Women's Racing Team will be the only female skipper in the event qualifying through her results from five tour events this year in Italy and the US Grand Slam events in Chicago, New York and Detroit. Megan recently secured a bronze medal at the 2022 Women's Match Racing World Championship last month in Auckland, New Zealand.
Estonian Mati Sepp, Denmark's Jeppe Borch and recently crowned French Sailor of the Year Jean Baptise-Bernaz complete the line-up. All skippers are new to the World Match Racing Tour in 2022, having qualified for the WMRT Congressional Cup as well as strong performances in WMRT qualifiers throughout the year.
The event format will include a qualifying round robin on Wednesday and Thursday where the top two finishers will gain automatic entry to the Quarter Finals. The remaining eight teams will then sail a repechage round on Friday for the final six Quarter Final positions.
The weekend will then see the knockout stages begin, crowning the 2022 Open Match Racing World Champion on Sunday afternoon. Racing is scheduled from 1200hrs AEST with live results available throughout the week.