Monday, 15 December 2008

World Match Racing Tour Competitors Arrive to a Warm Welcome in Malaysia

YB Dato' Zaabar Mohd Adib Chairman of Tourism Culture Arts and Heritage Commitee of Terengganu with the WMRT Trophy. Image copyright Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images.

by Tracey Johnstone

The world’s best match racing teams arrived in Malaysia 3rd December for the start of the 2008 Monsoon Cup welcomed by a large crowd of national and international dignitaries.

Leading the teams through the entrance hall were Ben Ainslie’s Team Origin, Mathieu Richard’s French Match Racing Team/French Spirit, Torvar Mirksy’s, Mirksy Racing Team, Keith Swinton’s, Black Swan Racing, Adam Minoprio’s, Black Match Racing, Paolo Cian’s, Team Shosholoza and Johnie Berntsson’s,Berntsson Sailing Team.

Dancers in traditional costumes welcomed the teams before the ISAF World Match Racing Championship trophy unveiling in entrance hall of Terengganu airport. The precious trophy was then handed over to Exco member of Tourism, Culture and Heritage for Terengganu, YB Dato’ Zaabar Mohd Adib.

After the warm airport welcome the teams were transported in a fast moving motorcade to the regatta site where the World Championship trophy was proudly placed beside the elegant Monsoon Cup Trophy. Both trophies will remain clearly displayed in the entrance area to the event site providing a clear reminder of the two-pronged goal of all the 12 teams competing here this week; to win the final event in the World Match Racing Tour and to win the ISAF World Match Racing Championship.

Keen to shake off their travel stiffness some of the team’s headed to the gym in the Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort. First there was Team Origin led by Ainslie keen to shed a few kilos before the weigh in.

Others were quick to get out on the water to acclimatise to the steamy Malaysian weather. Sole female skipper, Nurul Ain Bt Md Isa was first out on the water under the guidance of Dato’ Peter Gilmour. Others to head out for training in the light air were Sebastien Col, Minoprio, Mirsky and Swinton. While the intention of this afternoon’s training was likely to be getting a feel for the Foundation 36s and the breeze and wind conditions off Terengganu, there was clearly some time spent during the hour and a half training sizing up the competition with constant close tacks and gybes between the teams.

Race day one will kick off 4th December with a skippers briefing at 10am before the official opening ceremony which starts at 1pm. Racing will commence at 4pm.

Supporting the 2008 Monsoon Cup is a team of experienced international administrators and technicians. Leading the team is Race Advisor Dato’ Peter Gilmour. Australians Skip Lissiman and David Tallis are in the roles of Regatta Director and Principal Race Officer respectively while New Zealand’s Shane Borrell will be acting again as Chief Umpire.

World Match Racing Tour

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