Regattas added to winter schedule
Bermuda will host two World Match Racing Tour qualifying regattas in March.
The WMRT has announced a series of qualifying events for this year's World Championship, providing a new pathway for young aspiring sailors to compete against the best match racing teams in the world.
The series of qualifying regattas will be referred to as “World Tour” events and will provide the opportunity for ambitious teams to earn invitations to the World Championship level events with $200,000 prize money.
The first World Championship event takes place in March in Fremantle, Australia, and the short tour season culminates with Marstrand, Sweden in July, when the winner of the World Championship will take home a bonus of $1 million.
For each of the four Championship events leading up to the finals in Marstrand, there are two World Tour qualifying events where the first three teams will go through to compete in its related Championship event.
Bermuda will host World Tour qualifiers for stage three of the 2016 World Championship, which takes place in Copenhagen from March 14 to 16, as well as stage four of the World Championship to be held in Newport, from March 18 to 20.
As many as eight teams will be able to compete at each World Tour event, competing in four brand new M32 catamarans.
A venue for the two World Tour qualifying events has yet to be announced, although it's likely the races will take place in Hamilton Harbour, which hosts the WMRT sanctioned Argo Group Gold Cup annually.
It is mandatory for new teams to complete a three-day licensing course to familiarise themselves with the handling characteristics of the M32. With the racing taking place on short close-to-shore courses at speeds of up to 30 knots, it is vital that all competing teams have attained a minimum level of competence and boat handling skills.
The two World Tour qualifiers to be held locally will follow hot on the heels of the first RC44 regatta in Bermuda, to be held from March 2 to 6, and stage three of the M32 Bermuda Winter Series, which will take place between March 11 and 13.