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Skippers confirmed for World Match Racing Tour Final 2022

by CYCA 7 Dec 2022 09:29 GMT 14-18 December 2022
Sydney Harbour is the stage for the World Match Racing Tour Final 2022 © Darcie Collington

The line-up for the World Match Racing Tour Final 2022 has been confirmed, with 10 teams invited for the inaugural Tour event to be sailed on Sydney Harbour.

In just under a week, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, will welcome the teams to Sydney for five scheduled race days from Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 December 2022.

Seven countries will be represented at this year's World Championship. Denmark, Estonia, France and Italy each have one entry, whilst hosts Australia, New Zealand and the United States will field two teams for the event.

Sailing on one of the world's most beautiful waterways, the race course will be situated just off one of the Harbour's islands, enabling close spectator access as well as the stunning backdrop of Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

"We are very excited to see racing get under way next week on beautiful Sydney Harbour. The regatta will feature some of the world's best match racers and a new World Champion will be crowned," WMRT Executive Director James Pleasance said.

American Chris Poole heads into the Championship as one of the favourites. Poole currently tops the overall Tour leaderboard, 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 Elliott 7m keelboats, with crews of four or five, the strongest challengers to Poole will come from the home Club, with Cole Tapper and Harry Price representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Price's DownUnder 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.

Nick Egnot-Johnson & Megan Thomson from New Zealand will also feel right at home in the Elliott 7s, with their home Club, the 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 Championship.

Thomson will be the only female skipper in the event and will also be a strong contender, having won a bronze medal at the 2022 Women's Match Racing World Championship last month.

Estonian Mati Sepp, Denmark's Jeppe Borch and Frenchman Jean Baptiste-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 putting in 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 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, all culminating with a new World Champion being crowned on Sunday afternoon. Racing is scheduled from 1200hrs AEDT, with live results available throughout the week.

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