Four-time Tour Champion, British sailor Ian Williams returns to defend his title for a fifth time under the familiar colours of his GAC Pindar team.
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour has announced the names of the eight professional match racing skippers selected to compete on the 2013 Tour in a bid to be crowned 2013 ISAF Match Racing World Champion. The 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour starts in Germany on 16 May on the waters of Lake Constance in Southern Germany.
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Eager to snatch the title from Williams is 2012 runner-up Bjorn Hansen (SWE) with his Hansen Sailing Team, and 2012 podium finisher Phil Robertson (NZL) sailing with WAKA Racing. Robertson finished 3rd in the final Tour rankings at the end of 2012 following an impressive second place finish at the Tour finale event, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.
2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) also joins the line up of skippers with his BlackMatch team in a committed return to the Tour for 2013. A seasoned match racer, Minoprio is no stranger to the Tour, which will guarantee close racing between the current and former Tour Champions.
Competing on the Tour for the second year running are young Australian talent Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team and French skipper Pierre-Antoine Morvan, keen to improve on his 2012 performance.
With two Tour event wins in 2012 including an impressive victory at the Tour finale event in Malaysia, Taylor Canfield (ISV), has also blasted his way onto the Tour after finishing 7th overall in 2012 counting just 3 results towards the overall standing. With the option of racing at all 7 events this year, Canfield’s prospects look very good to chase the title.
Completing the line up of skippers is Swedish sailor Johnie Berntsson. Sailing under his new sponsor, Stena Sailing Team. Berntsson is looking to re-create the form that brought him victory at the 2008 Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda and a third place finish on the 2011 Tour Championship.
The 2013 season will consist of seven stages and teams will count results from their best five events, including their result at the final event, towards the championship. Invitations to six of the first seven events will be guaranteed for Tour Card Holders and invites to the final event will be taken from the leader board after the penultimate event, adding pressure on the Tour Card skippers to perform.
Other non Tour Card skippers will also have the opportunity to compete on the Tour through wild card entries to events or by competing at qualifying events for each of the official Tour stages.
5 March 2013 18:53 GMT