Executive Director, World Match Racing Tour

James Pleasance

James Pleasance is Executive Director for the World Match Racing Tour, the longest running global professional sailing series established in 2000 and one of seven events awarded Special Event status by World Sailing. 

A keen sailor, James has been involved in the marine and yachting industry for over 20 years including roles with Oyster Marine and Boat International Media before joining sports marketing agency Strategic in London where he was involved in event and communication projects for yacht manufacturer Nautor’s Swan and luxury brands Prada and Rolex. He was official publisher of the America’s Cup Jubilee regatta in 2001.

James joined London based agency Octagon in 2002 as Director, securing sponsorship endorsements for round the world sailor Dame Ellen Macarthur and British Olympic Skier Chemmy Alcott.  He later joined sports marketing agency F10 Marketing overseeing projects including UBS’s sponsorship of Team Alinghi in the 34th America’s Cup, BMW UK, Elvstrom Sails and Champagne Mumm. He managed the Superyacht Cup event in Palma, Mallorca from 2005-2008 before joining global conference and exhibitions group Informa plc in 2008 as Director of the Informa Yacht Group. He founded the first edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum (now the Yacht Racing Forum) in 2008 in Monaco and managed the event until 2012. James was appointed CEO of the World Match Racing Tour in 2012 before managing its sale to Swedish group Aston Harald AB in 2015. At Aston Harald, he also developed the M32 North America division establishing a successful US owner base and regatta circuit. James set up his own agency Catch Marketing in 2018 and was appointed to re-launch the World Match Racing Tour in 2019 after it was acquired by new investors.