Match race sailing, as opposed to fleet racing, started evolving with the America's Cup races, whose foundation was layed 144 years ago, and which have been growing steadily since. The first match race to be sailed in one-design i.e. technically identical boats, was the Omega Gold Cup in Bermuda, that was first sailed in 1937 and is currently marking its 56th anniversary. The skipper who won it was Briggs Cunningham, who was also the one to win the first America's Cup in 12-metre boats.
The America's Cup, being the oldest sports trophy and the most prestigious regatta in the world, is a match race in its format. Though, whereas in the America's Cup and some other regattas the deciding role is played by the boat i.e. by her technical and technological advantages that result in speed edge, the match race events of the WMRC revolve solely around the skipper's and crew's ability to masterfully sail technically identical boats on the same racing field and in identical weather conditions in a series of matches, competing against every other contestant directly. The course in this format is a windward-leeward course, that is to say upwind-downwind course , with the buoys aligned as close as possible to the axis of the wind direction.
The other events on the WMR Circuit all over the world include: Eunos Australia Cup in Perth, Congressional Cup in Long Beach, USA, Popular Bank Cup, USA, St. Francis Match Race International in San Francisco, Royal Lymington Cup in Lymington, U.K., Internationaux de France in Sete, Kiel Match Race Cup in Germany, International Swedish Match Cup in Marstrand, Knickerbocker Cup in New York, Omega Gold Cup in Bermuda, Nippon Cup in Hayama, Japan and Steinlager-Logan Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.
Participation in these events, that are almost exclusively attended by the professional skippers from the top ones ranked in the world, is very important because with its whole organizational system it brings to the winners the highest number of points after the America's Cup and the Whitbread Round the World Race, which in return again determines their ranking and as such their competitiveness in the world of professional sailing.