Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

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

Southern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

International Maxi Association 2017 program full due to new events
The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean. The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean.
Posted today at 12:35 pm
Clipper Race Coxswain Training commences
We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience, but there are also many talented and experienced sailors amongst the fleet.
Posted today at 11:40 am
Tawera Racing joins Extreme Sailing Series line-up in Muscat
Team has been formed to give New Zealand's sailors a launch pad into the cutting-edge world of foiling multihull racing. The seventh challenger for Act one is announced today in the form of New Zealand-flagged Tawera Racing, which will compete as a full season entry.
Posted today at 11:09 am
JJ Giltinan Trophy - Images from the Invitation Race
Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs Top Sydney skiff photographer, Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship. Winds were light to non-existent, until a bit of puff appeared out of Rose Bay allowing the fleet to sail a three leg course. Here's the images from the day
Posted today at 10:52 am
EFG Bank Monaco sets sights on rivals in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title from arch rivals Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA) as the Arabian classic approaches its climax.
Posted today at 9:50 am
JJ Giltinan 18fters - 26 skiffs enter championship starting Saturday
The Invitation Race for the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship has been sailed ahead of the start of the series The Invitation Race for the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship has been sailed ahead of the start of the Championship proper on Saturday - which has drawn a fleet of 26 skiffs from around the world. First race in the seven series is on Saturday. Little as to the form of the countries competing could be deduced from the Invitation Race - which suffered from a lack of wind.
Posted today at 3:48 am
Vendee Globe - Last night at sea for CrazyKiwi Superhero Conrad Colman
At the latest position report at 0430UTC dismasted solo sailor Conrad Colman is 67nm from the finish at Les Sables At the latest position report at 0430UTC dismasted solo sailor Conrad Colman is 67nm from the finish at Les Sables d'Olonne and looks set to complete one of the most inspiring race finishes in sailing history. After latching into a more favourable weather system, Colman's speed has tripled to around 6.7kts and he is expected to finish in 10hrs or 1430hrs UTC.
Posted today at 3:11 am
Annapolis-to-Newport Race Seminar - Electronics
This presentation will cover Electronics Requirements sections of US Sailing Safety Equipment list as specified in NoR. This presentation will cover the Electronics Requirements sections of the US Sailing Safety Equipment list as specified in the Notice of Race. Emphasis will be placed on the practical application and impact of these rules from industry professionals with experience installing, maintaining, and using these systems.
Posted today at 2:57 am
Registration is now open for the 2017 Queen's Cup Race
The on-line entry is now open and available to register for the 2017 Queen’s Cup Race hosted by South Shore Yacht Club. The on-line entry is now open and available to register for the 2017 Queen’s Cup Race hosted by South Shore Yacht Club. The Queen’s Cup race has a great history and competition. Race for one of the oldest trophies in yacht racing. On-line entry, entry form, NoR and other race documents can be found at www.ssyc.org under the Queen’s Cup tab.
Posted today at 2:08 am
Swiss match race gentleman Monnin returns with 2017 Tour Card
With a new setup, Eric believes his game plan will kick in this year and the team see big improvements on the horizon. The 2016 season tested the Albert Riele Swiss Team to the maximum and with mixed results the team found themselves in unfamiliar territory on the WMRT leaderboard. With a new setup in 2017, Eric believes his long-term game plan will kick in this year and the team see big improvements on the horizon.
Posted on 23 Feb