After Aston Harald AB acquired the design and production rights to the one-design M32 catamarans in 2013, they acquired the WMRT in 2015 and began using the M32 during the 2016 season. The vision was to use the WMRT as a marketing tool for the M32 while providing worthy events and prize money. While the M32 Class has grown to now host a World Championship, it is believed Aston Harald AB no longer wanted to carry the cost of the tour.
As one of only eight officially sanctioned World Sailing ‘Special Events’ – including the America’s Cup and The Ocean Race – WMRT is also the longest running global professional sailing series in the sport. Previous Tour Champions include six-time world champion Ian Williams (GBR), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Phil Robertson (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV) and defending Champion Torvay Mirsky from Australia.
The World Match Racing Tour has long been regarded by professional sailors as a pathway to the America’s Cup and as an opportunity for teams to hone their match racing skills at the highest level. Since 2000, the WMRT has been a match racing series for monohull match racing, however this was changed in 2015 following the introduction of the M32 multihulls to the Tour.
Following the recent change in the America’s Cup to foiling monohulls for the 36th edition of the Cup in 2021 in Auckland, it is expected the WMRT will continue to include events in both monohulls and multihulls starting in 2019.
The Tour’s new owners are in the process of appointing a new management team to structure the 2019 WMRT season and format, as well as the World Sailing Match Racing World Championship. Former WMRT Executive Director James Pleasance has been appointed to form the Tour’s management and operations team. Pleasance has been involved with the Tour since 2002 and as Executive Director from 2012-2016.
Further announcements will be made in January 2019.
For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, visit www.wmrt.com
Story from Scuttlebutt Sailing News