22 April sees the start of the World Match Racing Tour in Brazil 18/4/08

The world’s top professional sailors, and many America’s Cup skippers, are preparing for another season of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). The first event will begin with the Brasil Sailing Cup on 22 April in Vitoria, Brazil.

The nine event series takes place in nine different countries, in four continents and with seven different types of yachts. It culminates in the crowning of the ISAF World Match Racing Champion at the Monsoon Cup in Terenganu, Malaysia in December.

With the America’s Cup on hold pending a court decision on the Deed of Gift Match between Alinghi and Oracle Racing, the other teams will turn to the WMRT to maintain their skills in the hope of a conventional America’s Cup in 2011. America’s Cup teams and skippers competing this year include:

Paolo Cian, ITA, Team Shosholoza
Magnus Holmberg, SWE, Victory Challenge
Sebastion Col, FRA, K-Challenge
Philippe Presti, FRA, French Spirit
Ben Ainslie, GBR, Team Origin
Adam Minoprio, NZL, Emirates Team New Zealand

“The current situation with the America’s Cup is very unfortunate for the sport and for professional sailing in general,” commented WMRT President, Scott Macleod. “However, the WMRT’s commercial platform and television coverage enable the teams to continue to race and give their sponsors a return on investment. However we have lost a few teams that have either shut down or are now training for the DOG Match.”

In addition to the America’s Cup teams is defending World Champion Ian Williams, Team Pindar: “We have renewed our title sponsorship with Pindar and are really looking forward to trying to defend our World title,” commented Ian.

For further information, and a list of all competitors, visit www.worldmatchracingtour.com .