Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

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

T Clewring CruisingSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Trans-Atlantic record- Comanche sets new monohull record
The US supermaxi Comanche is fast closing in on the finish of her attempt on two world sailing records. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche is fast closing in on the finish of her attempt on two world sailing records. She is close to Plymouth, England and is expected to finish around 11:00hrs on Thursday July 28,2016, having left New York on Saturday July 23, 2016.
Posted today at 11:09 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea, further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide.
Posted today at 6:09 am
52 Super Series - Double bullet Quantum jump clear
Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos Two hard earned wins for Quantum Racing elevates the team which is steered by owner Doug DeVos to a lead of four points ahead of Azzurra at the 52 Super Series’ Puerto Portals Sailing Week on the Bay of Palma.
Posted today at 5:19 am
Transat Québec Saint-Malo - Sailing into the big leagues
The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish “It’s the finest event of the offshore racing calendar.” That’s what all the skippers are saying—albeit a little subjectively—following this ninth edition of the Transat Québec Saint-Malo. The long nautical journey from La Belle Province proved to be one long show of bravery from start to finish, with the Multi50s grappling alongside one another all the way
Posted today at 3:51 am
Three tips for any boater facing a powerful summer thunderstorm
Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during summer boating season Recreational boaters and paddlers understand that late afternoon thunderstorms are common during the summer boating season. A recent incident involving two TowBoatUS Fort Lauderdale captains and their rescue of four kayakers pre-fishing a local tournament offers some lessons learned on how to survive an afternoon storm.
Posted today at 3:27 am
Jim Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen pull ahead at OK Dinghy Worlds
Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon Jim Hunt (GBR) has maintained his lead after a very tricky day at the OK Dinghy World Championships in Quiberon, France, with the shifty, offshore winds mixing up the fleet on more than one occasion and leaving Hunt and Jørgen Svendsen (DEN) with a clear lead over the rest of the 105 boat fleet. Charlie Cumbley (GBR) drops one to third overall, with just four races left to sail.
Posted today at 2:53 am
Supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, returns to racing in Sydney-Gold Coast Race
Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break. The Oatley family’s Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race record holder, the 30-metre long Supermaxi Wild Oats XI, will make her return to ocean racing this weekend after a six month break.
Posted today at 2:38 am
Energa Sopot Match Race- Rast ready for uphill battle with specialists
Reigning Melges 24 World Champion Chris Rast from Switzerland is competing at his second M32 regatta of the year. One of those top guys will be the young Sam Gilmour, another 49er sailor but who also has the benefit of a strong match racing background. The young sailor from Perth, Western Australia, put in a strong performance at the $1 million World Championship Finals in Sweden earlier this month.
Posted on 27 Jul
52 Super Series- Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Day 3 action shots
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from day three
Posted on 27 Jul
RS Feva Worlds – Qualification phase is complete at the end of Day 2
Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. PA Consulting and Allen RS Feva Worlds 2016 - Heavy metal day. Gold, Silver or Bronze. It was going to going to be tight at the cut off points. A number of boats went into the day in much lower positions than expected for a variety of reasons. Could they make it up?
Posted on 27 Jul