Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Taylor Canfield prepares to defend World Championship title

by Alpari World Match Racing Tour on 25 Apr 2014
Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands, skipper of USone, wins the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour © Dan Towers / AWMRT http://www.wmrt.com/
In the lead up to the season opening event of the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour in Germany, we catch up with defending ISAF Match Racing World Champion Taylor Canfield on his preparations for the 2014 World Tour.

In early 2013 Taylor Canfield was announced as one of the new Tour Card holders for the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. The young US Virgin Islander had caught people’s attention when he had made the most of his Wild Card opportunities in late 2012, winning the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda and the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.



It’s one thing to win a Tour event, or two, but quite another to string together a whole season and win the World Championship of match racing at your first attempt. Canfield would crumple under the pressure, some said. By the end of 2013, however, the 24-year-old had silenced all doubters as, having lost to Phil Robertson in the semi-finals of the Monsoon Cup, he saw the 26-year-old Kiwi continue his unstoppable run of form to snuff out Ian Williams’ hopes of a record fifth world title in the final of the final event. It was one of the closest finishes in the history of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, with Canfield narrowly beating Williams in the overall season rankings.

Now we get the chance to see if Canfield can successfully defend his world title in 2014. With a pre-Tour win at the prestigious Congressional Cup in California in April, he starts as most people’s favourite for the Tour in 2014. The man he beat at Long Beach was none other than Williams. It seems to be shaping up as the great rivalry of match racing in modern times. 'I guess people like to see it that way,' says Canfield. 'For sure Ian is a very accomplished sailor, at the top of his game, one of the best we’ve seen in the sport.'

Williams repays the compliment when asked what makes Canfield tick. 'I don’t think there is any magic to it, he is just sailing well. He sails the boat pretty smoothly and he keeps the boat fast, particularly in the light airs - he seems to be able to keep the speed on the boat, just because he is a good sailor and he’s got a good team. That’s where we’ll need to step our game up. For sure as he gains experience he’ll only get stronger so we are going to have to keep up the pressure if we are going to get the title back.'

As equal as they are in their match racing abilities, their means of getting to that point couldn’t be more different, according to Canfield. 'Ian is very analytical, he looks at every part of the game in great detail, and he takes it very seriously. He knows the points situation going into every event, but we take a bit more of a relaxed approach. We take it race by race, just focus on the next match and do the best you can do. That’s the mentality I have always had going into sailing, whatever kind it is.' It seems to serve him well, with Canfield showing an amazing knack of bouncing back from seemingly impossible situations.

The Congressional Cup was the first match race event Canfield has done since last November’s Monsoon Cup and it was a good opportunity to check in with his USone team, unchanged from last year, and the opposition before the start of the Tour in June. Funnily enough he has spent most of the winter in Florida sailing with Ian Williams’ match racing tactician Bill Hardesty in the Etchells 22 keelboat. Hardesty is already a two-time world champion in the highly competitive international keelboat class, and is looking to win his third title with Canfield calling tactics and working the mainsheet next to him. 'I wasn’t too sure how we would get along with Bill,' says Canfield, 'but it’s been running pretty smoothly. He’s been great at getting me into the Etchells class, which is really technical. Early on I had my head in the boat too much, or looking up at the sails trying to work it all out, and missing some big tactical calls, but I’m getting used to it.'

Canfield made a conscious decision to break into the professional racing scene of small keelboats like Etchells and the Melges classes, and so resigned from his role of sailing director at the Chicago Match Race Center at the end of 2013. Canfield hasn’t forgotten the debt he owes the Center, however, as it’s that intensive two years of being steeped in match racing, week in and week out, that he believes enabled him to climb up the match racing world rankings so quickly. 'It’s not that I was even doing that much of my own racing,' he says, 'but being involved at all levels, just watching and observing the amount of racing that went on at the Center really helped my game.'


Now Jordan Reece has taken over Canfield’s job in Chicago, and it will be interesting to see what progress the young Aussie match racer will make from working in this role, which must be unique in the sailing world. Meanwhile, how will Canfield’s venture into big fleet keelboat racing work out for him as he steps back into the one-on-one of match racing? Well, the Congressional Cup victory bodes well, and he retains the same USone crew that pushed him to victory in 2013. Trimmers Dan Morris and Mike Rehe, along with bowman Hayden Goodrick and tactician Rod Dawson have a good chemistry on board. Kiwi Dawson, 20 years older than Canfield to the day, provides the experience, having won three world titles with Peter Gilmour before winning his fourth last year with USone. But with their first world title out of the way, all of Canfield’s crew now know what it takes to win, and they could be even harder to beat in 2014.

The 2014 championship gets underway at Match Race Germany on 5 June. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America's Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World WMRT website

InSunSport - NZNaiad/Oracle SupplierNorth Sails NZL -  2 V Series Gen

Related Articles

A clash of backgrounds on collision course for Marstrand
Never before has the World Match Racing Tour attracted such a diverse set of sailors as in 2016. 2016 World Match Racing Tour - Never before has the World Match Racing Tour attracted such a diverse set of sailors as in 2016. While the Tour has continued to draw in the match racing specialists such as Taylor Canfield, Ian Williams, Bjorn Hansen and many others besides, it’s been interesting to watch some big names enter this branch of the sport for the very first time.
Posted today at 3:30 am
The 2016 Tornado Europeans have come to an end!
Nikolaos Mavros and Alexandros Tagaropoulos from Greece managed to maintain lead since the beginning of the championship After a great race and after taking their usual bath on the last day of the event, Nikolaos Mavros and Alexandros Tagaropoulos from Greece managed to maintain their lead since the beginning of the championship, becoming this year’s Open European Champions! The broken trapeze wire on the penultimate race was not able to deprive them of this well-deserved victory!
Posted today at 2:52 am
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek builds Phuket's 'Regatta Hub' status
'We estimate the net financial gain to the island from Phuket Raceweek is approximately THB 15m (USD 430k).' Thailand's leading island destination, Phuket, is soon to receive a boost in low season arrivals as the 13th Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek readies to welcome more than 400 sailors and friends from 30 countries between 20th and 24th July, to compete in four days of exciting sailing off Phuket's southeast coast.
Posted today at 1:08 am
Entries open for Invited Classes at Sailing World Cup Final
Racing for the 14 classes begin on 8th December, except for the 2.4mR non-classified class who will begin on Tuesday six This year, event organisers have catered for sailors who would usually compete in the Laser Standard, Laser Radial and 49er FX Olympic Classes but were unable to make a top 20 position. These sailors will have an opportunity to be part of the Sailing World Cup scene and compete in close proximity to the highest rated sailors in their class.
Posted on 1 Jul
18ft skiffs - Yamaha victorious at Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji
The trade winds arrived just in time for the final day of racing at the Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji. The trade winds arrived just in time for the final day of racing at the Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji. With 20knots on the course the fleet finally got to unpack their little rigs for a day of thrills and spills.
Posted on 1 Jul
Avanti
. .
Posted on 1 Jul
GC32 Racing Tour – Can one town tip the scales for Armin Strom Team?
With a population of 6500, Kerikeri is known for rural surroundings, plentiful orchards and a true laid back Kiwi life Kerikeri, one of New Zealand’s most northernmost towns is where team manager Sharon Ferris-Choat, bowman Alex Bryning, boat captain Ned Dalbeth Hudson and two-time Kiwi Olympian Andrew Murdoch, the latest addition to Armin Strom Sailing Team, all grew up. Their passion for sailing ignited while attending Kerikeri High School.
Posted on 30 Jun
Collinson FX Market Commentary - June 30 - Calm heads lead recovery
Markets are regaining sanity with the return of reason. The Brexit has not changed anything The U.K. will focus on alternative markets, with Commonwealth members lining up at the door, restoring historical trade links. The EU have failed to enact any substantial trade agreements globally, with negotiation of bureaucrats taking years, stalling market expansion. This has been one of the main problems of a protectionist Union and now Britain will be free!
Posted on 30 Jun
18ft skiffs - Yamaha wins the long race lottery at Mark Foy Worlds
After a general recall and an individual recall the fleet set off on long race in a light breeze of about four knots. After a general recall and an individual recall the fleet set off on the long race in a light breeze of about four knots. C-Tech won the start with a port hander and the remainder of the fleet quickly tacked over to head towards the top mark, MalaMala Island.
Posted on 30 Jun
Maxi yachts and a change of scenery around the world's largest lagoon
Ichi Ban, a 60’ Australian yacht, well known in this part of World, announced his participation in next Groupama Race. 2016 Groupama Race - Ichi Ban, a 60’ Australian yacht, well known in this part of the World, has announced his participation in the next Groupama Race. The 'fight' with the Maxi Beau Geste Racing from Hong Kong and the trimaran Orma 60 Team Vodafone Sailing will be undoubtedly exciting.
Posted on 30 Jun