The Brazil Sailing Cup, a leg on the annual circuit of the World Match Racing Tour (successor to the Swedish Match Racing Tour), took place on March 14-19 in Angra Dos Reis, Brazil. The inaugural Brazil Sailing Cup is Stage 5 of the 2005-'06 World Tour schedule, which features nine stages.
Vince Syracuse on Sunday, April 9, after frostbiting. He was celebrating his first ever win at the frostbite party given by long-time frostbiter Ted Toombs and his wife, Cathy.
The event was hosted by the Angra dos Reis Yacht Club in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, about 100 miles west of Rio de Janeiro, and sailed on Ribeira Bay. Twelve teams, eight of which represent syndicates for the America's Cup, have entered to compete for the $100,000 prize purse, which includes $35,000 for the winner. Racing will be held in SM40s (previously Swedish Match 40) in the first-ever ISAF Grade 1 match-racing event in South America. What is interesting about the fleet of SM40s is that these boats did not sail over to Brazil, but were shipped in containers.
Special containers were built to house the boats and to provide ease of shipping from event to event. According to Dean Barker (NZL), helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand, a challenger syndicate for the America's Cup. "The boats are even so it comes down to positioning, and the results are instantaneous. If you make a mistake, you lose a lot. In cup boats you can make a mistake and get away with it."
The competitors are names familiar to readers, as many of them have competed right here in Manhasset Bay at the Knickerbocker Cup. James Spithill (AUS) won first prize. Spithill, who began his match-racing career as a young Australian and now, six years later, is the helmsman for Luna Rossa, beat Thierry Peponnet, 3-1, in a closely fought match. Spithill last won on the tour in 2002, and Peponnet, the talented skipper of K-Challenge, had never made a tour final. The two crews were the fastest on the water. Luna Rossa went in 7-0 from the round robin, quarterfinals and semis. K-Challenge entered having won seven-of-nine. Other readers may recognize are: Ed Baird (USA), Ian Williams (GBR), Magnus Holmberg (SWE) and Staffan Lindberg (FIN). Gilmour, who has won the Knickerbocker Cup in past years, was scheduled to compete in Brazil, but visa problems kept him at home in Perth. Gilmour is the two-time, reigning tour champion.
The World Match Racing Tour has added two other new events in addition to the one in Brazil: the St. Moritz Match Race and the Monsoon Cup, bringing the Swedish Match Tour to venues in Switzerland, Malaysia and Brazil, respectively, for the first time. They combine for $275,000 in prize money. "We're very excited about adding St. Moritz, Brazil and Malaysia to the schedule," said Scott MacLeod, director of the World Match Tour. "The new schedule shows the strength of the tour and its marketing and television package around the world. Events want to be part of the tour because of the global exposure they receive. With venues located in Switzerland and Malaysia, Sweden and South America, the tour has never been more diverse. It offers drastically different sailing conditions from venue to venue and gives sailors an opportunity to prove their consistency."
Ted Weisberg, a director of the World Match Racing Tour and officer of the March Racing Association, and past commodore of the Knickerbocker YC, had just returned from Angra Dos Reis when your reporter caught up with him. Speaking of the tour in Brazil, Weisberg said, "This event was the first match racing event of its caliber ever to be held not only in Brazil but in South America. This was a ground-breaking event.
The World Match Racing Tour is now a special event category with ISAF, with 8 events around the word. The tour is elevated above Grade 1 events, as the winner of the World Match Racing Tour will become the Match Racing World Champion. It is basically the America's Cup in the off year." Speaking about the SM40s, he continued, "These boats, which are baby America's Cup boats, were shipped from Lisbon. They are not only raced, but designed specifically to be put in 40-foot containers, with each boat in its own container, and reassembled at Brazil, sailed at the event, put back in containers and shipped back to Portugal to be used in that event the latter part in July. And it works perfectly." Angra Dos Reis, is a tropical paradise. There are 365 islands and islets, "one for each day of the year" surrounding the town.
Filled with tropical foliage, deep blue waters, with big cumulous clouds in a blue sky, the visually stunning scenery could have been a distraction for the thousands who watched the regatta from shore, but fans were fixed on the 11 competitors, who were able to watch from water's edge as the boats raced close-in to shore. Weisberg, whose official duty was to help the tour management when needed, spoke about the beauty of Angra Dos Reis. He said, "The beaches were beautiful and the water warm. There always was a breeze, and in the evening the stars would come out and it seemed like you could reach up and touch them they were so close. And I am told it is like that every day."
Last Sunday, April 9, was a beautiful, sunny day and our frostbiters took advantage of the great weather to get out their boats and enjoy an afternoon of racing on Manhasset Bay. There were six Ideal 18 and five IC dinghies on the starting line. Top boats for the day: IC Dinghy class: 1. #536, Pedro Lorson/Sabrina Lorson/Johanna Silbersack, 2. #603, Matt Kelley/Mary Endsley, and 3. #514, Ted Toombs/George Tung. Top boats in the Ideal 18 class: 1. # 175, Bob Kirtland/John Thomson, 2. #176, Bill Simon/Yalcin Tarhan (only one point behind first place), and 3. 177, Paul Strauch/Stu Cartner. Vince Syracuse, with crew Steve Moore, won his first frostbiting race on Sunday. He commented, "I won my first real competitive race, I have won crew races before, this is only the tenth time I have skippered a race and I came in first. I was in the lead, stood up to hold the boom, slipped and let go, did a 360 turn, then three boats got ahead of me. But they had a right- of-way fight, and I slipped by and beat them!" Congratulations to Vince.