ISAF releases last match race rankings for 2009

Adam Minoprio (NZL) holds on to world #1 spot for the fourth consecutive release of the Open Rankings, no surprise after the young Kiwi skipper swept to victory at the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, in the process securing the title of 2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion. With three World Tour wins this year (the others came in Marseille and St Moritz), the World Championship title and the world #1 ranking, the 24 year old skipper of ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing ends 2009 at the very summit of the match racing world.

Behind Minorprio, World Championship silver medallist Torvar Mirsky (AUS) stays in the world #2 spot, whilst 2009 ISAF Nations Cup winner Damien Iehl (FRA) climbs up two places to a career-best ranking at #3. Completing the world top five is another French skipper, former world #1 Mathieu Richard, and 2007 and 2008 World Champion, Ian Williams of Great Britain.

The big mover at the top in this Ranking release is British triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie (GBR). After finishing as runner up in both the Monsoon Cup and Sunseeker Australia Cup (losing the finals to Minoprio and Mirsky respectively), the TeamOrigin skipper climbs 11 places in this Ranking release to enter the world top 10 for the first time at a career-best Match Race Ranking of #8. Just ahead of Ainslie is Bjorn Hansen of Sweden, who stays at #7 after scoring an impressive win at the ISAF Grade 1 Berlin Match Race.

Also on winning form is young Australian Keith Swinton, whose outstanding season continued with victory in Italy at the ISAF Grade 2 Trapani Match Cup. As a result, Swinton climbs five places to break into the world top 20 at #16 in this Ranking release.

At the ISAF Grade 2 Mumbai International Match Race, Mahesh Ramchandran (IND) showed why he's his country's top ranked skipper by scoring overall victory ahead of Farokh Tarapore (IND). The win helps Ramchandran climb from #45 to #33 in this Ranking release, putting him just behind Brazilian skipper Henrique Haddad.

Women's Rankings

Claire Leroy (FRA) was back to winning ways this month and remains top of the Women's Rankings for the 39th consecutive release, a run that stretches back to 4 May 2005. A third place in Korea at the ISAF Grade 1 Busan Cup in October was followed by victory this week in the US Virgin Islands at the ISAF Grade 1 Carlos Aguilar Match Race, keeping her in the world #1 spot for now.

However, for the first time in over two years, Leroy's world #1 ranking looks to be seriously under threat. ISAF Sailing World Cup winner Lucy Macgregor (GBR) is quickly closing the ground to the ranking leader, with victory in Korea her seventh ISAF Graded event win of a very successful year. Macgregor is looking particularly well-placed for an assault on the world #1 spot at start of next year, as she is counting such a strong series of scores from the Grade W World Cup events.

Another strong contender for Leroy's crown is the Australian duo of Katie Pellew (nee Spithill) and the current ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, Nicky Souter. In this Ranking release the pair exchange places, with Pellew climbing to #3 and Souter dropping back to #4, but both remain well placed to take on Leroy's hold of ranking top spot in 2010.

Completing the world top five is European Champion Silke Hahlbrock (GER), winner of the ISAF Grade 2 Ladies Only Match Race held in Berlin at the end of October.

New into the world top 10 this month is Beijing Olympic gold medallist and 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (USA). After rising to the top of the Laser Radial World Rankings and winning Olympic gold at Qingdao, Tunnicliffe has now set her sights on match racing for London 2012. After a year in which she has continually switched between the Radial dinghy and match racing keelboats, the 27 year old US skipper has still managed to end the year at #10 in the Rankings (she was #36 in December 2008). Expect further progress in 2010 now her London 2012 intentions are mapped out.

Chasing hard on Tunnicliffe's heels for the US 2012 spot already is Genevieve Tulloch, who got the better of her rival to win the recent US Women's Match Racing Championship. As a result, Tulloch climbs seven places in this Ranking release to #14.

This release on 9 December is the final release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings for 2009. The release dates of the Rankings for 2010 will be published on the ISAF website shortly.

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