Return of a Global Monohull Match Racing League

Launched in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour had been the leading professional match racing series in the sport, and historically was a launch pad toward the America’s Cup. However, the tour has been wobbling, plagued by scheduling uncertainty and prize money promises.

When the America’s Cup went to mutlihulls, Swedish company Aston Harald AB bought the tour as a means to market its one-design M32 catamarans, converting nearly all events to multihull match racing.

The Tour also had rights to organize the Match Racing World Championship. But now abandoning monohulls, the most prestigious trophy awarded by World Sailing no longer represented the international community of recreational monohull match race sailors.

While the Tour event model seeks to be supported by host and commercial fees, the reality is it remains reliant on private investment. With the 2018 schedule not yet finalized, and in the absence of a strong commercial structure and waning prize money, the future of the Tour is unclear.

Amid this chaos is a re-focus on monohull match racing. Entering its second season, the international Match Race Super League is witnessing increased popularity, assisted by the comeback of monohulls for the 36th America’s Cup.

The development of the international Match Race Super League, which was co-initiated last year by Eberhard Magg, Harald Thierer and Morten Lorenzen (DEN) and dedicated to the original match racing on one hull, reflects the commitment amongst sailors and their fans for this format.

“The still young but highly dynamic Match Race Super League has grown extremely fast and has been able to increase the number of regattas and of participating teams by more than 100 per cent within the first year,” co-founder Eberhard Magg comments. “The uptrend is very visible and sends a clear signal.”

Eighteen match race regattas in range of Grade 1 to Grade 3 in 15 countries on four continents have already joined the Match Race Super League. “And we expect further growth this year,” says Magg. “Some organizers are still in promising negotiations with their partners. In addition, we have inquiries from the fifth continent, Africa.”

Magg goes on explaining, “We experience that the desire of sailors and fans for the most exciting form of duel sailing – classic match racing – is rising constantly. The Super League drivers are working hard to be able to award an official World title in their discipline again in the near future. We are optimistic that we can convince World Sailing through our movement and the strong numbers.” – Read on

from Scuttlebutt Sailing News