Friday, 6 November 2009
Australia Cup action. Supplied image.
by Yvonne Reid
With final Tour positioning and considerable prize money at stake; skippers are keen to fine tune their crew skills and experience at the Sunseeker Australia Cup just one week prior to the final round of the Tour being the Monsoon Cup held in Malaysia. All racing will be on Foundation 36 One Design yachts, the same design for the final showdown in Malaysia.
The added bonus for competing crews of the 2009 Sunseeker Australia Cup is the well known performance of the regatta organising committee in creating exceptional match racing in one of the World’s more renowned and reliable sailing City – Perth.
The Sunseeker Australia Cup hot form guide (at a glance) consists of:
- Triple gold and silver Olympic medallist, Ben Ainslie from Great Britain, currently 6th in the Tour standings.
- 2nd in the Tour standings and Perth’s own rising superstar, Torvar Mirsky.
- Reigning double World Match Racing Tour champion, Ian Williams from Great Britan,currently 3rd in the Tour standings.
- Current leader of the Tour, Adam Minoprio from New Zealand.
- 4th in the Tour standings, Mathieu Richard from France.
Double World Champion skipper Ian Williams said it was fantastic to see the event back on the match racing circuit.
“The Sunseeker Australia Cup has a proud history where some of the world’s greatest skippers and crew have won as a lead up to the America’s Cup. The event provides critical match racing practice against the world’s best skippers,” he said. “Racing in Perth is always exciting, the weather, location and organising team always create a fantastic event and that is why the world’s best like coming back to Perth” Williams said.
Williams also recognised that many Sunseeker Australia Cup winners have gone on to participate in the America’s Cup. “The link between the two events is indisputable and with that in mind I will be doing my utmost to get my name on the trophy to join all the great names already there,” Williams said.
Officially launching the Sunseeker Australia Cup and supporting partner for the event, City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said having the world’s best yacht racing right on the city’s doorstep will provide spectators with the opportunity to see a mini America’s Cup on Perth waters.
“This is a unique event for Perth. It is the first time in 145 years an event for fixed keel yachts has been held on the city side of the Narrows Bridge,” Lord Mayor Scaffidi said.
“We are incredibly excited to be part of this exciting event attracting the best skippers and their crew from around the world. Yet another event that places the City of Perth on the world stage of sailing!” Lord Mayor Scaffidi said.
Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) Vice Commodore, Mike Kilcullen said the Australia Cup was first held in January 1982 at RPYC to provide the best skippers from various countries the opportunity to build their match racing skills in preparation for the America's Cup.
“The Sunseeker Australia Cup is a prestigious match race in the sport of sailing and we are proud to once again have the best of the best to return to Perth,” Kilcullen said.
“The inaugural Australia Cup winner John Bertrand went on to win the 1983 America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island onboard Australia II, breaking the longest winning streak which was 132 years in sporting history. The Australia Cup was a vital step in this historic victory,” Kilcullen said. Brand leaders in the Australian marine industry and main sponsors of the event, Sunseeker Australia’s Troy Barbagallo recognised the partnership as a perfect fit.
“As the leading luxury brand in the Australian marine market it is fitting that we support the leading match racing event in Australia. We are excited to be part of such a special event,” Barbagallo said. Swan River Sailing Executive Officer and former America’s Cup winner, Skip Lissiman said he had been continually asked by the world’s top yachtsmen when the Sunseeker Australia Cup was returning.
“Skippers have wanted to come back to Perth, so we are delighted to bring the prestigious Sunseeker Australia Cup back on the world racing calendar as the premier match racing event in Australia,” Lissiman said.
“Bringing racing to Perth Waters, which is at the foot of the vibrant city of Perth was important so we can show off the world’s best within close viewing range of the public,” he said. “In the past it was considered that the Narrows Bridge itself and relatively shallow water of the Perth Waters venue, ruled out such an event on this location, however recent trends in match racing events has been to squeeze these events into tighter spaces, so we decided to run the Sunseeker Australia Cup on the edge of the city in Perth Waters,” he said.
Lissiman said the course will cover an area of 200 by 600 metres which is considered a tight challenging space, especially in the expected fresh sea breeze conditions. All key racing will be held on Perth waters, although some racing will occur in Matilda Bay.
“There will be little margin for error for the skippers which will ensure fast action-packed sailing which makes it doubly exciting for those watching on the Perth shores,” he said.
The event is hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club and organised by Swan River Sailing. Main sponsor for the event is Sunseeker Australia and supporting sponsor is the City of Perth.
World Match Racing Tour