The United Airlines RYA Match Racing Open, hosted by Portland and Weymouth, has attracted entries from seven America’s Cup syndicates

The demise of the Royal Lymington Cup left Britain without a single grade one match racing event, a state of affairs that reflected our fall from America’s Cup grace. Now, with support from United Airlines and the RYA, Britain can once again compete with the best at the United Airlines RYA Match Racing Open at the Portland and Weymouth Sailing Centre, 16-20 September.

Peter Harrison’s GBR Challenge will run three entries, skippered by Sailing manager Ian Walker, Britain’s top match racer Andy Green and Chris Main. The thirst for America’s Cup racing is not restricted to GBR Challenge either. In addition to the three local skippers, the event has attracted:

  • Ben Ainslie, One World
  • John Cutler, Oracle Racing
  • Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge
  • Paolo Cian, Onorato Challenge
  • Morten Henriksen, illbruck Challenge
  • Sebastien Destremau, Le Defi

The event will be raced in First Class 8 sportsboats specially modified with runners, ballast and helm restrictions to add extra drama to the event. Each boat will carry five crew with an upper weight limit of 437.5kg.

John Derbyshire, RYA Racing said: “I’m delighted to see that seven America’s Cup syndicates will be racing in the United Airlines RYA Match Racing Open Championship. It’s wonderful that Britain will be hosting a grade one match racing event and I am looking forward to seeing crews of such calibre competing.”

The RYA has also decided to blood some young talent. The top four qualifiers from the United Airlies RYA Britsh Match Racing finals will take part in the Open event in September. In addition to these, Mark Campbell-James qualifies by virtue of his wins at the BUSA Match Racing event and the first qualifier. Former world student match racing champion Simon Shaw will also take part, with John Greenland.

The schedule for the United Airlines RYA Match Racing Open is as follows:

  • 16 Sept: Practice
  • 17-18 Sept: Round Robin Series
  • 19 Sept: Quarterfinals
  • 20 Sept: Semifinals and Finals