In June 2019, a new international match racing event will take place on the Swedish west coast. Midsummer Match Cup in Skärhamn on the island of Tjörn will not only introduce a new fantastic venue for professional match racing, the event will also be raced with mixed teams.
Premier sailing events have had mixed teams in the past. One example is the Volvo Ocean Race, which had a set of rules that gave an advantage to teams that raced with both men and women in the crew. The open class in international match racing has been open to both women and men. However, Midsummer Match Cup will be the first event that states that all teams must compete with at least two men and two women.
Skärhamn has a rich marine history but this will be the first time that a big international sailing event is staged at the venue. With a sailing arena close to the shore, Skärhamn’s harbour will suit perfectly for match racing. Behind the idea for the new event is Johnie Berntsson, one of the most prominent names on the international match racing circuit for over a decade.
“I am very proud to be a part of starting this event in a place that means a lot to me as a sailor. I started my career sailing on these waters and I’m sure Midsummer Match Cup has a lot to offer. Skärhamn is the perfect venue for the words first strictly mixed team match racing regatta”, says Johnie Berntsson.
The municipality of Tjörn is a close partner to the Midsummer Match Cup as a part of a long-term ambition to build Skärhamn as a venue for match racing and teams that want a great place for training. Ian Williams (GBR) has won five World Championships in match racing and he is thrilled to see a new event organized in Sweden.
“I have always enjoyed racing in Sweden and there is such a big interest in sailing on the west coast. Midsummer Match Cup has a very interesting new concept with mixed teams and I think it will be a great event for sailors as well as the audience, the venue and all the commercial partners to the event”, says Ian Williams.
Lucy MacGregor (GBR), also a former match racing world champion, is positive that the Midsummer Match Cup will attract a lot of spectators and interest from the international sailing community.
“I’m very happy to see that professional female sailors are gaining ground in several parts of the sport, both racing with mixed teams in big events and all-female regattas that attract a lot of attention. The concept of the Midsummer Match Cup can be great compliment to other events and it will be exciting to see a match racing regatta where men and women compete side by side on equal terms”, says Lucy MacGregor.
Midsummer Match Cup will take place on June 25-29 2019. The event is organized by Brandspot AB which been a part of managing events like GKSS Match Cup Sweden, Volvo Ocean Race stopovers and the America’s Cup World Series in Gothenburg.
by Fabian Bengtsson