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World Match Racing Tour leader under pressure at the Monsoon Cup

by Sail-World.com on 24 Nov 2011
Ian Williams in action - WMRT Monsoon Cup 2011 © Chris Davies/AWMRT
In 2007 Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar) squeaked into the quarter finals of the Monsoon Cup on a count back, having won just five of his 11 matches. He went on to win the Monsoon Cup defeating Peter Gilmour in the final and was crowned the 2007 Match Racing World Champion. He took the title again in 2008.

To date, 2011 has been another stellar year for the 34-year-old British lawyer. Going into the final event of the Tour, he was atop the 2011 World Match Racing Tour leader board after wins at Portimão Portugal Match Cup and Stena Match Cup Sweden and third places at the Korea Match Cup and the St. Mortiz Match Race.

However this year's Monsoon Cup has already produced a few unexpected results for Williams.

In the opening match yesterday Team GAC Pindar went down to Peter Gilmour’s Yanmar Racing, after they rounded up going into the top mark in a heavy gust and hit Gilmour. Williams then suffered at the hands of the ‘on fire’ Bjorn Hansen (Mekonomen Sailing Team) to finish 0-2.

But it could have been worse as he was behind in his third match against the 21-year-old Asian Match Racing Champion William Tiller (Full Metal Jacket Racing), when the race was abandoned in the dying breeze.

The second day of the event started badly in the rematch against Tiller. Williams trailed at the top mark by ten seconds and the young New Zealander sailed away from the Tour leader.

Dockside Williams was sure they had been slowed by flood debris and was looking for a rematch having discovered his prop was not properly folded.

The saying goes ‘You cannot keep a Champion down’ and so it was with Williams. The comeback started when Williams defeated Jesper Radich (Adrian Lee & Partners) after leading at the top mark following an even start.

Williams won the start against Damian Iehl (French Match Racing Team) and successfully defended his lead to take a valuable second win.

His match against Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) was close. Williams trailed up the second beat with a penalty outstanding but sailed through his rival and narrowly extinguished the penalty on the line.


Dockside after racing today, Williams was relaxed.

‘0-3 this morning was absolutely not good, but at the end of the day you can only control what you can control.

‘The race against Gilmour … there were a lot of things wrong with that race, both the prestart timing and the visibility. We didn’t handle the situation as well as we could have but I brushed it off pretty quick. It’s not something you beat yourself up about too much.

‘In the race with Will Tiller we had something going on under the water. We started talking and thinking - should we do a back up or not? but in a ten minute race you lose a minute in a backup and you are unlikely to catch up again.

‘I suspect it was something caught on the prop. When we turned on the engine at the end of the race there was something in the prop at that point, so yes, that was a shame. We brushed it off as you have to. If you let these things get to you, you can go on a pretty quick downward spiral.

‘That’s what we try to do - we try to brush these things off. After the mistakes we were making around the course, we did a good job of bouncing back in the three matches in a row we then sailed.

‘The race against Bjorn, I think he fully deserved the win. It was all in the start. We miss-timed it and we lost that one, as we didn’t control what we could control.

‘We are 4-3 now. I would say six is safe. In one 12 round robin regatta, we were on six wins and then missed the quarter finals but that’s very, very rare. So from we are aiming at winning more than we are losing.

‘It will be the same in the quarters, the same in the semis and the same in the finals, three from five. We are in OK shape. I think we are going to have to sail a little better to win the regatta but we are improving all the time.

‘That’s how match racing regattas are. You look to improve as the regatta goes on and it’s normal for the team who wins the final to be the team that has improved the most during the regatta.

‘Right now it seems there is plenty of work to be done in the last few flights tomorrow morning.

‘I said to the guys last night that we haven’t had a single regatta this year where we haven’t had one bad day. Well we have had one, so let’s not have another one and we will see what the regatta throws at us and if we don’t have any more bad days, then I think we will win.

‘You’ve just got to get into the next round, that’s what match racing regattas are all about. Once you are into the next round, then what has happened has happened and it’s gone. It’s then the next round.

‘That's the beauty of our sport but it also, sometimes, makes it tough.’



While Williams is 4-3 with four matches to sail, he is not the only skipper with work to do.

The new number one ISAF World Match Race rankings leader Torvar Mirsky (The Wave Muscat) desperately need more wins, he is 3-4 and will have to have a very good morning tomorrow to make the quarter finals.

The third member on the Tour leader board podium is Francesco Bruni (Bruni Racing). He is 5-2 and already close to the magic six wins.

From today’s Skipper’s press conference:

Jeremy Koo (Abdullah Chan/KRT ) 0-9. ‘We just could not keep boat flat in the stronger breeze.’

Mathieu Richard (French Match Racing Team) 3-5. ‘It’s a disappointing day. The starts are so important. It’s very difficult from here.’

Torvar Mirsky (The Wave Muscat) 3-4. ‘We have our backs against the wall. I lost all the starts but one today. We have to do a whole lot better tomorrow. Tomorrow we are going to try and forget how many titles our competitors have won.’

Peter Gilmour (Yanmar Racing) 4-4. ‘Not delighted. There have been opportunities missed. More work tomorrow.’

Jesper Radich (Adrian Lee & Partners) 4-3. ‘We had good starts but one really stupid mistake.’

Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar) 4-3. ‘A much better day for us. We need 50/50 tomorrow.’

Phil Robertson (Waka Racing) 5-2. ‘Definitely a good day. My guys did a good job. We were behind against Peter (Gilmour) and we just got some divine luck.’

Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) 5-3. ‘Beating the top guys as we did today was nice, but it’s about getting points.’

Bjorn Hansen (Mekonomen Sailing Team) 5-3. ‘I managed some not so good starts but we are on track.’

Damian Iehl (French Match Racing Team) 2-5. ‘We are not doing well in the pre-starts. We have to win four matches tomorrow.’

Francesco Bruni (Bruni Racing) 5-2. ‘We had opportunities on the two matches we lost. We are pretty happy.’

William Tiller (Full Metal Jacket Racing) 6-2. ‘We were starting well. Of all the wins, beating Torvar Mirsky was lot of fun.’

David Tallis PRO. ‘A much better day with breeze and less rain. But it is hard to set courses without bias because of the two strong river currents at the moment.’



Results:

Skipper

Win

Loss

Points

William Tiller

6

2

6

Francesco Bruni

5

2

5

Björn Hansen

5

3

5

Johnie Berntsson

5

3

5

Phil Robertson

5

3

5

Ian Williams

4

3

4

Jesper Radich

4

3

4

Peter Gilmour

4

4

4

Torvar Mirsky

3

4

3

Mathieu Richard

3

5

3

Damien Iehl

2

5

2

Jeremy Koo

0

9

0



The seventh annual Monsoon Cup, the final event of the 2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour, is being sailed in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia from December 22-27 and will decide the 2011 ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

Monsoon Cup website www.monsooncup.com.my
World Match Racing Tour www.wmrt.com

* All images remain copyright property of the photographer and must not be copied or used in any way without the photographer's permission.
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