Ever since it was announced that the World Match Racing Tour was under new ownership in September, many have been wondering what the future holds for the championship.
Most have welcomed the change of ownership, with a belief that the Tour will benefit from increased investment. Certainly if the prize pool for the 2009 Monsoon Cup is anything to go by, the World Match Racing Tour may be able to deliver a truly professional global sailing series.
The Monsoon Cup, which starts later this week in Malaysia, is offering total prize money of MYR1.57m (US$ 454,000). The winner pockets MYR 360,000 (US$104,000) while the last team (12th place) receives MYR 50,000 (US$14,400).
Monsoon Cup Race Advisor, Datuk Peter Gilmour said,
‘This makes the regatta the biggest prize pool available throughout all sailing events in 2009. Importantly, the Monsoon Cup marks the final stage of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) where the ISAF World Champion will be crowned.’
Gilmour noted that the increase in prize money is attributed to the increased sponsorship commitments from the key sponsors and the State Government of Terengganu in providing such outstanding facilities and intra-government support that takes the event to a new level.
While there are many pretenders to the overused and largely misleading phrase, ‘the F1 of sailing’, the World Match Racing Tour is probably the only sailing event that comes close. It is truly global, visiting more diverse markets than any other event on an annual basis. It features some of the worlds best professional sailors and confers upon the winner the genuine title of World Champion.
Leaving aside the fact that it is effectively a ‘one-make’ championship, the World Match Racing Tour has the potential to deliver a truly recognisable World Championship outside of the Olympic classes.
The Monsoon Cup is owned and organised by the same team that has now acquired the Tour commercial rights. If other events on the Tour are to be run in the same manner, with the same prize money, then it will attract attention from sailors, sponsors and media alike.
Like many sailing platforms, The Monsoon Cup is backed by Government tourism and development budgets. It is project of the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports and it is proudly hosted by the State of Terengganu and is supported by key sponsors Richard Mille, TM, Cartrade Group (CTG), Astro, Firefly Airline, and Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa.
Like many, we are eager to learn more about the plans for the WMRT 2010 and beyond.