When the World Match Racing Tour Came to Newport

One-on-One Match Racing was the order of the day. Taylor Canfield, aboard the “Cox” blue boat, was victorious in the end.




If you were at Newport's Fort Adams at the end of May, you were in for quite a show. Not only was Blackstone Caterer’s new food truck in place, and the annual Newport 10-Miler Race happening, but the high-speed performance sailing traveling show of the World Match Racing Tour was taking place right off the docks where just a year ago the Volvo Ocean Race came to town.


Spectators enjoyed sunny weather both Friday and Saturday to watch the racing from the shoreline.

The World Match Racing Tour is exactly what it sounds like; a world tour of match racing boats that travel from sailing city to sailing city with a core group of sailors. The tour is open to local sailors, too, who own or charter M32 Catamarans, the vehicle of choice for this event.


Match Racing is a round-robin style event, where sailors face off on short, small courses one-on-one. Unlike traditional fleet racing, where the entire group of boats race together, Match Racing allows for more, but shorter, races in the same period of time.


NEWPORTSEEN’s own Lisa Gabrielson aboard an M32 Catamaran with the Riptide Racing Team. Unfortunately, Riptide was knocked out of the round robin regatta shortly after — but did win the race when Lisa was aboard! (Photo Credit: Rod Harris Photography)

The World Match Race Tour has a qualifying event immediately preceding the main show, where sailors who haven’t yet sailed in the event first have to vie to qualify for a tour card. The card is basically a license to compete in the headline event later in the week, which starts with 32 boats, whittles the fleet through a round-robin style bracket to 16, then 8, then 4 and finally the last two boats remaining compete for the ultimate prize.


Newport’s Ken Read provides live commentary for the spectators of the World Match Racing Tour.

In Newport, a number of local teams had the chance to square off against international match racing champions. They raced yards from shore, which was a thrill for spectators and sailors alike.  The M32 Catamarans are designed and built by the same company, meaning that winning the regatta comes down to pure sailing skill. These catamarans are light and agile, and can accelerate at thrilling speed.


A lounge area, bar and tables made spectating fun and exciting for all, including Sail Newport’s Brad Read (black jacket)

Spectators were able to enjoy the event from the shoreline or from an elevated lounge and bar area, the deck of which was right in front of the action.



Taylor Canfield’s US One was the regatta victor, sealing his win in front of the crowd lining the shore at Fort Adams State Park. Canfield's team includes New Zealand sailors Haydon Goodrick and Chris Main and Australian sailor Ricky McGarvie.

In the end, it was US Virgin Islands sailor Taylor Canfield and his team “US ONE” who took top honors, after a well-fought final match against Team “Waka Racing.” The real winner, though, were the spectators and the Newport sailing community, who had a chance to experience the most modern and exciting forms of sailboat racing.


The proximity of racing to Fort Adams was thrilling for the spectators and challenging for the sailors. The shortness of the World Match Racing Tour courses kept the action hot all weekend.



Sail Newport hosted the event along with sponsors Cox Business, Heineken and Channel 10. "After this week's success in Newport, the teams, the organizers and the sponsors realize Newport is a perfect venue for stadium-style racing for spectators,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read. “People of all ages can enjoy watching sailing within a few feet of the shoreline, hear play-by-play coverage as it happens, and enjoy family activities. The racing was fantastic, a remarkable showcase of sailing talent against the backdrop of Newport. It was a tremendous event."

                                                                                         -Lisa Gabrielson

The World Match Race Tour fleet docked in the same area last year’s Volvo Ocean Race, and the Volvo Ocean Race 2018, occupied.

















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