Sailor Ian Williams has claimed Match Race Germany victory after beating Keith Swinton in a light-airs, one-race final. The GAC Pindar crew from Great Britain put the Aussies on Team Alpari FX under pressure in the final seconds of the pre-start and, when Swinton ran into the committee boat at start time, the resulting penalty put the Perth skipper on the back foot. The four-time World Champion never relinquished his grip, focusing on squeezing every lost drop of speed out of the Bavaria 40 on a light-wind Lake Constance.
Williams said: 'My team on GAC Pindar have sailed really well all week. Our focus was to keep the speed on the boat at all times, as much as possible. We always have a great welcome here, it's a beautiful place. If you're sitting around waiting for wind, there aren't many better places to sit around and wait for wind!' The British team dropped just one match, when they raced Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested during Qualifying. It had been a near-perfect performance by GAC Pindar.
For Swinton, second place represents his best finish in Langenargen, and shows a clear sign that the 28-year-old is overcoming his traditional weakness in the bigger boats on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. 'It's been a really good regatta for Team Alpari FX. We'd love to have taken out the regatta, but second is still a great result. This is the event on the Tour where we thought we'd struggle the most, sailing in the bigger boats is probably not our forte. It's been a fantastic week.'
Williams and Swinton both made good progress through the Semi-Finals to beat their respective rivals, Mathieu Richard and Phil Robertson, 2-0. In the one-match Petit Final, the French team LunaJets went on to beat the WAKA Racing Kiwis and claim the final spot on the podium. 'I’m satisfied with the final result,' said Richard. 'We lost to GAC Pindar in the Semi-Finals, but they only lost one match in the whole week, so they have been very strong. Amazing job by Ian Williams and his team. But this is a great start for LunaJets.'
Phil Robertson traditionally does very well in Langenargen, and won here two years ago. So finishing fourth was a little disappointing by his high standards, but the New Zealander was upbeat all the same: 'We've had a wonderful week once again, we've really enjoyed our time. The Lederhosen Party is the main reason we come to Langenargen. It’s one of our favourite parties of the year, and we'll have to bring the lederhosen back with us next year.'
It was an incredibly challenging week on Lake Constance, with a massive high-pressure weather system called Wolfgang driving temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius, their highest on record for more than 50 years. From a sailing point of view, it meant that wind was in very short supply, and all the sailors paid tribute to the race committee for completing the schedule. For Williams, victory in Germany represents the best possible start to his 2014 campaign. The 37-year-old from Lymington was hurting after narrowly missing out on a record fifth world title at the end of last season in Malaysia. The team that beat him in 2013, Taylor Canfield’s USone, could only manage seventh place this week.
James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour said: 'I want to congratulate event organiser Eberhard Magg and his father Rudi, the principal race officer, who together have been enthusiastically and successfully running Match Race Germany for 17 years. We’ve seen 35,000 visitors come through Langenargen over the past few days, and we have witnessed some tense racing in very challenging conditions. Next stop on the Tour is just a few weeks away when we go to one of our favourite venues on the Tour: Marstrand for Stena Match Cup Sweden.'
GAC Pindar celebrating on the podium after winning Match Race Germany 2014 - Ian Roman-WMRT
Overall results of Stage 1 Match Race Germany, Alpari World Match Racing Tour
2014 Match Race Germany - James Pleasance (centre) presenting commemorative Garrard plaque to the organisers, Eberhard Magg and Harald Thierer. - Ian Roman-WMRT
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
2 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
4 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
6 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
7 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
8 Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team
9 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
10 Karol Jablonski (POL) Jablonski Sailing Team
11 Carsten Kemmling (GER) SegelReporter
12 Nicolai Sehested (DEN) TRE-For Match Racing Final
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar beat Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 1-0 Petit Final
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets beat Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 1-0 Semi-Finals
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar beat Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 2-0
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing beat Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 2-0 Quarter-Finals
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing beat David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 2-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets beat Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 2-0
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX beat Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 2-0 Qualifying
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 10-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 8-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 7-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 7-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 6-5
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 6-5
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 6-5
Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team 5-6
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 4-7
Karol Jablonski (POL) Jablonski Sailing Team 3-8
Carsten Kemmling (GER) SegelReporter 2-9
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) TRE-For Match Racing 2-9 2014 Leaderboard Standings after Stage 1
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 25pts
2 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 22pts
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 19pts
4 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 16pts
5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 14pts
6 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 12pts
7 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 10pts
8 Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team 8pts WMRT website