world match racing tour

US Boat Designers Win World Match Racing Tour Design Competition 

US Boat Designers Win World Match Racing Tour Design Competition 

London, UK – 02 June 2011: Boat designs submitted by leading US based boat designer Vlad Murnikov and US born boat designer Phil Kaiko are amongst the seven winning proposals that will be made available to the World Match Racing Tour’s host venues. The designs form a key part of the series’ wider development plan which will see a further six new venues added to its current calendar of eight regattas by 2013.

Kaiko’s design, the BlueBottle/RedBack/WhitePointer, and Murnikov’s mxMatch, are two of seven selected from 18 different entries submitted by pioneering boat design houses around the globe. The new host venues being added to the Tour will select which boat design best fits their needs while existing venues will also be given the opportunity to update their fleet with one of the new designs.

Sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with ‘Special Event’ status, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the preeminent match racing circuit in the world. It attracts the leading sailors who fight not only for the title of World Champion but also for $1.75million, the biggest prize purse in sailing.

The designers were presented with a tough brief, namely to create a robust, cost-effective boat that is capable of delivering exciting, tactical and fiercely-fought racing across a range of conditions, from variable winds to differing depths and unpredictable currents. The designers were further challenged by the fact the boats need to test performance sailors yet be versatile enough for corporate and club sailors to give venues a diversified income from them.

Terry Newby of Regatta International, who oversaw the submission of designs, said: “The World Match Racing Tour is delighted with the huge response it received to this brief and the fact it attracted some of the world’s best boat designers reflects the status of the Tour.”

Kaiko’s love of sailing developed from a young age and after graduating from the University of Michigan he jumped at the chance to work with US YRU. His big break came in 1983 in the form of the America’s Cup and from then on has dominated Kaiko’s design career. 

The brief gives designers the opportunity to make their mark in match racing and Kaiko is excited to be part of it. “I’m completely excited about the direction of the World Match Racing Tour and the style of events being developed. It’s a great opportunity to develop something complementary to the other big sailing franchises.”

Also excited to be a part of the action, Murnikov has taken into great consideration the nature of the WMRT when designing his boat. “The World Match Racing Tour is increasingly becoming a spectator event that is viewed by a large audience, both live and on TV screens worldwide. To reflect this, and to capitalise on growing spectator excitement, we opted for a design that has the maximum visual impact.”

Murnikov trained as an engineer and architect in Moscow before entering the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race after which time he settled in the US and has worked on and off with Ted Hood ever since. He has also continued to develop his own boat designs and one of his major achievements was the MX series, starting with the MX-20 (1995) then progressing to the 13-foot dinghy MX-Ray. More recently his name is back in the headlines because of his attempt to build the world’s fastest ocean-going monohull: The MX-SpeedDream.

“The America’s Cup has gone in the direction of multihulls but I have a soft spot for monohulls. SpeedDream is my attempt to prove that it is possible to build monohull that can compete at high speeds. Last year we disclosed the idea to the press and are not pushing ahead with a prototype.”

Kaiko is also hoping to bring some of that know-how from the America’s Cup to the fast-growing match racing circuit. “This king of boat is not dissimilar to America’s Cup. But it does have to be more forgiving because it needs to earn an income when not racing.”

This is why Kaiko’s design has three different versions and resembles a Lego like construction. “Where you can pick and choose components like the keel or rig depending on the skill levels of the sailors. For example, if you give the boat big sails it will be very responsive in light winds but overpowered in strong breeze. If you use a shallow keel, you can race the boats closer to shore – which is better for the spectators but has less stability.”

Each designer is aware that an agreement with one of the World Match Racing Tour’s event promoters will give them the best possible shop window in which to exhibit their design and with the Tour in negotiations with candidate cities in the US to become host venues, Murnikov and Kaiko back in the headlines for their contribution to US boat design.

Regatta International’s Newby added: “We expect everyone to benefit. The designers will increase their profile while the Tour’s venues will be associated with world class sailors using the very latest match racing boats. For the Tour, it will continue to affirm its position to fans, broadcast partners and sponsors as the arena for exciting, innovative and compelling match racing.”

To see the Phil Kaiko and Vladimir Murnikov’s full boat design proposal and detailed biography as well as those of the other winning designers go to