At the Monsoon Cup, if ever there was a bad day to be had for a four-time world champion, then this was it – both of the men holding that elite record lost their semi-finals at the Monsoon Cup and then faced one another in the Petit Final for third place. And they were the last-ever match races on the World Tour for Yanmar Racing’s legendary Australian skipper, Peter Gilmour.
The two four-time world champions, Peter Gilmour and Ian Williams
Peter Gilmour had previously announced that his retirement would come at the end of this event, so it was somehow fitting that he should sail his final match against Ian Williams, the British skipper that had equalled Gilmour’s four world titles with overall victory in this year’s Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Once again, light winds forced a late start on the race committee, and as a result the semi-final was shortened to ‘first to two points’ – usually the best of three races unless there’s a big collision and points deducted for damage. Yanmar Racing’s tactician, Fred Guilmin (FRA) explained their choice of semi-final opponent.
‘The spirit was good when we finally got on the water, we chose Taylor Canfield because he was the least experienced of the three skippers. And in the first race we had the start we wanted, we got the first leg right and were leading for the first lap and a half. Then we gybed a bit early at the last mark and he just sailed past us in a puff of breeze and took the win.’
‘It was a bad tactical mistake,’ admitted Guilmin, ‘the rules changed in the semi-final and we are allowed help from an off-the-water coach, but I got distracted with that conversation and I wasn’t focused on our opponent. There was no reason to gybe early, and we could have got the win, and it might have been a very different day. I just wasn’t used to managing the information from the coach.’ Yanmar Racing lost the start of the second race, and Canfield shut them out from there.
Taylor Canfield went onto win the final against Phil Robertson, while Yanmar Racing now faced Ian Williams in a battle for a crucial third place. The first race was a repeat of the second against Canfield, with Williams winning the start and controlling it from there. Fred Guilmin takes up the story of the second, must-win race.
‘We won the start, and we were leading at the gate at the end of the first lap. And again I got distracted by the conversation with the coach, we took the left-hand gate, and Ian Williams took the right and passed us on that leg. And once he was in the lead, he held that to the finish.’
It was a disappointing end to the season, as Guilmin explained, ‘The Petit Final was important for the overall results, if we had been third at the Monsoon Cup, we would have been third overall in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour – but fourth in the Cup dropped us right down to fifth overall in the Tour.’
Fred Guilmin looked back on Yanmar Racing’s year, ‘We’ve done well at every event in the bigger, five man boats. We missed the little bit extra that would have meant a win, but we always made the semi-finals. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of small-boat events on the Tour, and probably more in the future, so I understand why Peter thinks it’s time to move on. The younger guys will always have a boat-handling edge in smaller, more physical boats. But it’s been a great season, we have always been a happy team, and there has always been a good ambience. It’s been great to sail with Peter in his final season.’
The Monsoon Cup is the eighth and final event on this year’s Alpari World Match Racing Tour and was held in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia from the third-8th December, 2012
Taylor Canfield 2 – 0 Peter Gilmour
Phil Robertson 2 – 0 Ian Williams
Petit Final: Ian Williams 2 – 0 Peter Gilmour
Final: Phil Robertson 2 – 3 Taylor Canfield
Monsoon Cup Final Results:
1. Talyor Canfield
2. Phil Robertson
3. Ian Williams
4. Peter Gilmour
5. Bjorn Hansen
6. Keith Swinton
7. David Gilmour
8. Pierre-Antoine Morvan
9. Adam Minoprio
10. Laurie Jury
11. Johnie Berntsson
12. Jeremy Koo
Overall Tour Championship Standings:
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 130pts
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 125.25pts
Phil Robertson (NZ) Waka Racing – 103pts
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 101pts
Peter Gilmour (AUS) Yanmar Racing – 100.25pts
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 83pts
Taylor Canfield (USA) USone – 79pts
Laurie Jury (NZ) Kiwi Match – 73.25pts
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team – 68.25pt
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket – 37pts
Monsoon Cup website