2016 World Match Racing Tour to Visit Newport

NEWPORT, RI (December 17, 2015) - Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport announced that the world's best match racing sailors will compete in Newport, RI as part of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) May 31 through June 4, 2016.

"Since the Volvo Ocean Race Newport and the worldwide press about the enhanced facilities at Fort Adams State Park, major sailing event organizers are increasingly setting their sights on Newport and Rhode Island as the premiere sailing venue in the United States," Read says. 

"The facility at Fort Adams has a new 200' deep water pier that was completed in May and designed to host these types of large marine events," Read added. "Volvo Ocean Race is coming back in May of 2018 but we also have a very busy next couple of years due to new events that have been attracted to the Ocean State," he said. 

The WMRT Newport event will be the last stop in the world tour before the finals are decided in Marstrand, Sweden, July 4-9, 2016. Prior to Newport, the event will have visited Fremantle, Perth Australia (March 2-7) Long Beach, CA (April 5-10) and Copenhagen, Denmark (May 9-14). One other stop on the tour is as yet unannounced. "There is probably no place in the world with a sailboat racing history like Newport, RI and it is with great pride that we welcome the American sailing hot spot to the WMRT 2016," organizers announced.  

The professional sailing event will be set-up within yards of the shoreline for optimal spectator viewing.  Both the start and finish line will be located in front of the public area as well.  Live narration will be provided onshore following the action. The event will be open to the public with no admission fee.

Boats used in the event will be M32s (Marstrom 32s) which are Swedish-designed 32' high-speed catamarans. A local fleet of the "racing machines" sail out of Sail Newport currently with local skippers and crews who actively race during the sailing season. 

"The races will be extraordinarily close and action-packed as the best pro teams duel one-on-one in several laps of maneuvering," Read adds. "The event will be thrilling for the public to watch. High speed carbon fibre futuristic boats fly around at 40-50 knot closing speeds - all within feet of each other and with the best athletes found in the sport today.  It will be a true spectacle!" he said. 

Sailboat match racing (one boat against one boat) has its roots in Newport with decades of the America's Cup contests. The rules are basically similar to America's Cup racing in monohulls.  However, in the modern era of sailing, the use of double-hulled catamarans will intensify speed, maneuverability and will demand split-second decisions and precise boat handling by the sailors.   

The skippers, all with the talent to top the leaderboard, will lead teams for the WMRT 2016 including: Ian Williams, GBR;  Björn Hansen, SWE; Taylor Canfield, USVI; Keith Swinton, AUS; Phil Robertson, NZL; Eric Monnin, SUI; Yann Guichard, FRA; Mattias Rahm, SWE; Sally Barkow, USA and Nicolai Sehested, DEN.  Many of the WMRT sailors have experience racing in Newport. 

American sailor Sally Barkow was most recently in Newport onboard the all-female 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA when the fleet visited Rhode Island last May.  Barkow will once again lead an all-female team in pursuit of the the WMRT trophy. For further information:  

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