Hosted by Sail Sheboygan, the competition will see some of the finest sailors from across the globe mixing it up along the Lake Michigan shore in identical one-design class sailboats for this culmination of a series of eight match racing regattas that started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on 24 March.
The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world's top match racing nation in open and women's events, while also promoting and developing the sport of match racing in sailing, which pits one boat against another. Gaining popularity, women's match racing will make its debut as an Olympic Sailing event for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The 2011 Nations Cup included seven regional finals, from which the top teams will compete in Sheboygan. The Grand Final will be sailed in the Sonar class for the open event and the Elliott 6m for the women's event.
Ten teams will compete in the women's event, and ten entries have been confirmed in the open event. In the women's event, two-time defending champion and number one ISAF ranked women's match racing skipper and #4 in the world, Claire Leroy (FRA) and her crew will go up against the American team led by Genny Tulloch, ranked #11, and Olympic medallist Mandy Mulder of the Netherlands, ranked #17. Further competition is expected from the Brazilian team led by Nations Cup veteran Juliana Senfft.
The open event will see American Shawn Bennett and his crew of Dave Perry and Craig Healy take on the Danish team led by Mads Ebler, ranked #8 in the ISAF open match racing division rankings, and New Zealand match racing winner Laurie Jury and his team. Racing for Poland will be three-time Polish match racing champion Przemek Tarnacki. Teams representing Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, France, China, Pakistan, Greece, Turkey and Canada will also be sailing for the cup.
Antonio González De Le Madrid, ISAF Competitions Manager, said, "We are delighted that some of the world's best match racers will be making the trip to Sheboygan for the ISAF Nations Cup. There are some very experienced sailors lining up alongside those who are in the early stages of their development. Nonetheless it should make for a fantastic few days of match racing action."
According to Sail Sheboygan's, Executive Director, Rich Reichelsdorfer, said, "Sail Sheboygan is excited and honored to be hosting the Grand Final of the Nations Cup. We have assembled a top-class race management team backed up by a dedicated corps of volunteers for this premiere match-racing event and we can't wait to show the world our facility. With dozens of the best match-racing sailors in the world coming to Sheboygan, the ISAF Nations Cup will be a spectacle to be enjoyed both by sailors and spectators alike. The racing is sure to be fast and furious and the onshore activities will be equally fun."
A non-profit organization, Sail Sheboygan, was formed in 2004 to promote national and international sailing competition and education. As one of only four US Sailing Centers, its mission is to develop sailing and seamanship at all levels, regardless of age, income, ability or disability.