World Champion Williams for RYA Winter Challenge

by RYA 
Ian Williams
Newly-crowned World Champion match racer Ian Williams is set to celebrate his historic triumph back on home waters by competing at the RYA Winter Challenge Series 2 this weekend (7 – 9 December).

Williams and his Team Pindar crew of Bill Hardesty, Simon Shaw, Mark Nicholls and Mark Williams became the first British team to win the coveted ISAF World Match Racing Tour Championships on their way to Monsoon Cup victory in Malaysia last weekend.

And now the Southampton-based skipper, who only began competing on the World Tour in 2005, is poised to lead his champion crew back into Winter Challenge battle once again when the three-day second round of the series gets underway at Queen Mary Sailing Club, London, on Friday 7 December.

Williams, a former RYA National Match Racing Series and RYA Youth Match Racing Champion, will be looking to forward to going head-to-head with 2006-2007 Series winner Andy Green who begins the defence of his crown this weekend.

Meanwhile Mark Campbell-James, runner-up at Series round one a fortnight ago, will also feature as will ISAF ranked world number nine, Pierre Antoine Morvan.

David Campbell-James, Winter Challenge Series Co-ordinator, said: 'We were all delighted to see Ian claim the World Championship title, he is someone we have known for a very long time and he has always been a staunch supporter of RYA match racing.

'To have him agree to take part in the Winter Challenge Series while the euphoria of Team Pindar’s success in Malaysia is still at a peak is a huge fillip for the event and we are looking forward to some outstanding competition.'

This weekend’s event marks the final Challenge round of the year before the series resumes in late January and culminates with the Series Final from 7 - 9 March 2008.

The Women’s Winter Challenge Series, in which 2007 ISAF World Sailor of the Year and 2006 Challenge winner Claire Leroy is an early entrant, takes place a fortnight earlier from 22 – 24 February.

RYA Winter Challenge Match Racing Series 2 Entry List :

Ian Williams (GBR) (ISAF world ranking 2)
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) (9)
Peter Wibroe (DEN) (11)
Eric Monnin (SUI) (14)
Mark Campbell-James (GBR) (22)
Chris Van Tol (USA) (31)
Philippe Presti (FRA) (38)
Alistair Hall (GBR) (64)
Christian Hamilton (GBR) (75)
Andy Green (GBR) (204)

2007-08 RYA Winter Challenge Match Racing Series Dates:

Winter Challenge 2 (Grade 2) 7 - 9 December
Winter Challenge 3 (Grade 3) 19 - 20 January
Winter Challenge 4 (Grade 3) 26 - 27 January
Winter Challenge 5 (Grade 2) 8 - 10 February
Women’s Winter Challenge (Grade 2) 22 - 24 February
Winter Challenge Final (Grade 2) 7 - 9 March 2008
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