Sept. 23 through Sept. 27 the Knickerbocker Yacht Club held the 17th Annual Match Racing Championship in New York Harbor for the Cigna Knickerbocker Cup. Twelve skippers and crews from all over the world competed for a $24,000 grand prize. Peter Gilmour (from Australia and ranked no. 1 match racer in the world) took first prize. Peter and his all-Japanese crew from Nippon America's Cup Challenge, was impressive and left no doubt as to the reason for his being the best in the sport.
Chris Law of Great Britain was second and took the $14,000 2nd place prize. The final standings of the first eight positions were as follows:
1. Peter Gilmour (AUS) $24,000
2. Chris Law (GBR) 14,000
3. Bertrand Pace (FRA) 9,600
4. Ed Baird (USA) 8,400
5. Tomislav Basic (CRO) $7,200
6. Francesco De Angelis (ITA) 6,400
7. David Dellenbaugh (USA) 5,600
8. Luc Pillot (FRA) 4,800
The CIGNA Knickerbocker Cup is one of 15 Grade One events on the World Match Racing Association's Professional sailing tour. The Knickerbocker Yacht Club, in Port Washington, founded the event in 1982 and brought it to New York Harbor in 1997. Past winners included such famous sailors as Russel Coutts of Australia, Paul Cayard, Dave Dellenbaugh and Ed Baird. ESPN will broadcast a 30-minute highlights program of the event on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. (EST).
In addition to Match Racing competition, two Pan-Am races were held Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. Also there were PHRF handicap races held on Saturday, Sept. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 27.
One of the major beneficiaries of the race was United Cerebral Palsy of NY with CIGNA Insurance being the major contributing sponsor.
The boats used for the match races were J-105s donated by their owners for this event. There were seven judges headed by Marianne Middleton of Sweden. The balance of the judges were Bruce Cook, Mary Savage, Tony Jack, Brian Frey, Tom Allen and Don Makiowiecki.
In addition to the Title Sponsor, CIGNA, a number of companies were supporting the CIGNA Knickerbocker Cup. These sponsors included: Continental Airlines, Iridium, Shadow Traffic, Sperry Top-Sider, Anheuser-Busch, Yachting Magazine, INC. Magazine, Gant USA, J-Boats, Master Marine, North Cove Yacht Harbor, Marriott Hotel, Boat US, BMW and Dun and Robinson. Supporting the Knickerbocker Yacht Club volunteers was Advantage International, a sports marketing company.