Congressional Cup, Long Beach, CA. Photo: Ian Roman / WMRT
The World Match Racing Tour announces 2023 championship season
The World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) today announced its 2023 world championship season with a fifteen-event schedule across ten countries, including the return of founding Tour events - the Congressional Cup/USA, Match Cup Sweden and Bermuda Gold Cup. The WMRT Final will take place in Shenzhen, China from 12-17 December with a USD200,000 prize purse. 2023 will mark the 23rd consecutive season of the Tour, the longest running professional series in sailing.
The 2023 WMRT season will comprise of 'World Tour' events and 'World Championship' events, opening with the Ficker Cup and the 58th edition of the Congressional Cup Regatta in April hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club in California, USA. The Congressional Cup is the oldest continuously held sailing match race regatta in the world.
All events are organised under World Sailing rules as Open match racing events, allowing both men and women skippers, as well as mixed teams to compete. 'World Championship' level events award higher points to the annual WMRT leader-board.
The top 11 skippers on the WMRT leader-board counting their top 4 results after the penultimate event in October will qualify to the WMRT Final in Shenzhen, China from 12-17 December. A wild card will make up the minimum 12 teams to be invited to the WMRT Final, the winner of which will be crowned the 2023 Match Racing World Champion. The WMRT Final in Shenzhen was unable to go ahead in 2021 and 2022 due to border restrictions during the global pandemic.
Re-joining the 2023 Tour season are two of the original founding events of WMRT;
The GKSS Match Cup Sweden returns from 4-8 July. Hosted by the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club since 1994, the event is one of the best-known match racing events in the world attracting thousands of spectators to the picturesque island of Marstrand, 30 kilometres to the west of Gothenburg. Past champions include Olympic and America's Cup names such as Peter Gilmour (AUS), Bertrand Pacé (FRA), Dean Barker (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Chris Law (GBR), Björn Hansen (SWE), Mattias Rahm (SWE), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Ian Williams (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Phil Robertson (NZL).
Also returning to the Tour this year is the 71st edition of the famous Bermuda Gold Cup, hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The King Edward VII Gold Cup is one of the most coveted match racing trophies in the sport, won by many of sailing's great names including Chris Dickson (NZL), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Russell Coutts (NZL), Eddie Warden-Owen (GBR), James Spithill (AUS), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Ian Williams (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Francesco Bruni (ITA).
"We are delighted to finally announce the 2023 WMRT season" commented WMRT Executive Director James Pleasance. "We are also thrilled for the return of the Tour's founding events The Congressional Cup, Match Cup Sweden and Bermuda Gold Cup, and we are looking forward to seeing both familiar teams and many new faces on the Tour this year. We are also looking forward to hosting the WMRT Final in Shenzhen, China at the end of the year now the country has re-opened."