Korea Match Cup 2011 skippers prepare to do battle

Ian Williams hopes to go one better this year and finally lay his hands on the Korea Match Cup 2011
© Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images
Korea Match Cup 2011 is the third stage of the World Match Racing Tour 2011. The first Qualifying Session starts tomorrow 8th June at 10:00 KST (GMT +9).

Wildcard skipper Paul Campbell-James and local talent Sung Wook Kim have vowed to shake up the racing on the eve of the Korea Match Cup. Along with New Zealand's Reuben Corbett and Sweden's Bjorn Hansen, the pair will be looking to upset the standings as they take on eight Tour Card Holders at Korea's largest sporting event.

Campbell-James, a former Student Match Racing World Champion, joins the Tour with his talented Dream Team crew fresh from the Extreme Sailing Series, an event which he won last year. The 28-year-old said he plans to bring his extensive experience of close-quarters racing to the world stage – and do what he can to throw in a few surprises.

'We're the underdogs in this event and we've got nothing to lose so we're going to really stick it to the other guys,' Campbell-James said. 'I'm particularly looking forward to taking on Torvar (Mirsky of The Wave Muscat) and of course the all-Brit battle with Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar is going to be a good one. It's a great line up here in Korea and we are looking forward to taking on everyone.'

Local skipper Sung Wook Kim will also be looking to stamp his mark on his home event. The Korean sailor raced in the Korea Match Cup last year as part of Busan Match Team and this year returns as the home side's skipper.

'My team got two wins here at the Korea Match Cup last year so I hope to finish with at least three wins this week,' Sung Wook Kim said. 'My team has sailed together for a long time so we're prepared. My wish is to beat some of the Tour Card Holders here as my long term plan is to qualify for more World Match Racing Tour events.'

Five days of intense racing and action await the skippers as they prepare to do battle for the third time this year on the World Match Racing Tour. The racecourse, set in the waters of Jeongok harbour in Gyeonggi Province, is known as a predominantly light-wind venue but has been known to throw up some surprises. The tidal range that characterises the harbour will throw in an added element for the skippers and their crews to contend with.

After two events it's Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team who commands the number one spot in the World Match Racing Tour rankings, followed closely by Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing. But with an impressive track record of consecutive second-place finishes at the past three Korea Match Cups, British skipper and pre-season favourite Ian Williams also promises to be one to watch.

A disappointing performance at the inaugural event of the 2011 World Match Racing Tour in France saw Williams finish tenth – but the 2007 and 2008 Match Racing World Champion says this could be the event where he finds his form.
'We had a disappointing result in France but that's the nature of match racing,' said Williams. 'It's very hard to be consistent throughout the Tour because the venues are all so different and the boats change for each one. You have one bad day and suddenly you're out of the event, and that's what you have to overcome. Everyone is bound to be a bit inconsistent but now it's up to us to start getting some results and some consistency.

'It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. It's hard to pick a formbook here, it's not the same people winning at this event from year to year. It doesn't seem anyone has fully got to grips with the event which means it is very open. We have had a lot of success at this event in the past which shows that we are strong and able to win quite a few races but we haven't managed to convert that in the final which is frustrating. It would be great to make the final and go on to win the event.'

You can watch all the action live from 10:00 to 17:00 local times (GMT +9) here.

2011 Korea Match Cup Teams:
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing
Paul Campbell-James (GBR) Dream Team
Reuben Corbett (NZL) AON Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Bjorn Hansen (DEN) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar
Sung Wook Kim (KOR) Busan Match Team

2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (after 2 stages):
1 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 39 pts
2 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 37pts
3 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 32pts
4 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 28pts
5 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 23pts
6 Bertrand Pace (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team – 22pts
7 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 19pts
8 Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS) Team Synergy – 16pts
9 Pierre Antoine Morvan Extreme Team Morbihan – 14pts
10 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 10pts

World Match Racing Tour website
http://www.sail-world.com/84430