Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams maintains his position at the top of this year's World Championship standings following stage six of the 2008 World Match Racing Tour.
Ian Williams and crew (Danish Open 2008)
At 1850mt the St Moritz match race is the highest match race in the world and this year saw a new boat arrive on the scene. The Blu26, a narrow, low freeboard rocket ship that turned out to be a bit of handful for the four man crew.
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) and Sébastien COL (FRA) were fastest out of the blocks in the round robin groups securing their quarter-final places first and with it their prospects of climbing the Tour leader board. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) coasted into the quarters and were joined by local hero Eric MONNIN (SUI) and Denmark’s Jes GRAM-HANSEN. The rest were left to fight it out in the repechage for the final two places in the quarter-finals. Peter WIBROE (DEN) and Philippe PRESTI (FRA) did just that and escaped the early ride home.
Lying in third place on the Tour standings and 25 points adrift of the lead RICHARD needed the maximum he could gain in Switzerland and did just that to leapfrog COL into second place. COL faltered at the quarter-final stage but salvaged a fifth place to secure third place on the Tour.
Eager Kiwi MINOPRIO was on a roll in St Moritz but could only secure fourth after losing to Tour leader WILLIAMS in the semis and a charging PRESTI in the petit-final. The result does push MINOPRIO up the board where he now stands equal seventh with Paolo CIAN (ITA) who finished a disappointing 11th in St Moritz.
After excellent performances in Sweden and Denmark, Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) hit the wall, staggering home in 10th and scoring no points in Switzerland. He remains fourth on the Tour leader board but needs a top-three result in Portugal if he is to challenge the leaders. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) also struggled in St Moritz and left the event ninth and his points on the Tour remain unchanged.
WILLIAMS remains atop of the Tour standings with 92 points, 20 points clear of RICHARD and 25 clear of COL. The top three are all counting five results so from here on their points gains will be smaller as they can now only replace existing scores.
With only three events to go the battle for the Tour championship continues, securing points in Portugal and Bermuda is critical for those who have their eyes on the prize.
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Leaderboard - After Stage 6 of 9
1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 92
2. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 72
3. Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 67
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team , 45
5. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team, 40
6. Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 34
7. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 33
7. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL),, ETNZ/BlackMatch, 33