World Match Racing Tour - With his sights firmly set on becoming a full time Tour Card Holder on the WMRT, William Tiller, NZ (Full Metal Jacket) is aiming to use his victory at the Musto Wellington Match Race Cup and subsequent wildcard for May’s Match Race Germany to help fulfil his match racing dream.
Tiller battles it out with Hansen in his WMRT debut during the 2010 Danish Open
'Gaining a tour card is definitely our team’s goal - this year is about trying to get our rankings to a level where we can push to get on the tour fulltime. Hopefully we will go for a tour card next year but first we’ll see how this year pans out and where our results take us.'
'It’s pretty important to us to gain this wildcard. It’s all of our goals and takes us to the next level of match racing, it’s where we want to get and it’s so important in getting our name out there.'
With the level of international match racing getting stronger by the year winning the wildcard was far from easy with competition in Wellington going down to the wire. At the half way point of the regatta Tiller’s team were locked level on 6 wins with Wellington Spirit and Black Sheep Racing before going on to down Wellington Spirit in the final.
'We always had the confidence that if we sailed well we could win. We were up against pretty good competition like Reuben Corbett (Black Sheep Racing) who’s 12th in the world at the moment and Josh Junior (Wellington Spirit) who is a top Olympic sailor who also does some match racing and is extremely tough to beat at home. So having beaten these guys we were pretty happy with ourselves.'
Taking it to the Next Level in Germany
Having made his debut on the WMRT at The 2010 Danish Open Tiller was given a taste of what it was like to take on the top match racers in the world and relished the experience of locking horns with the likes of Mathieu Richard and Adam Minoprio. The 20 year-old from Auckland now hopes to use that experience to succeed in Germany.
'We are pretty stoked, it’s the second WMRT event we have made so we are looking forward to having another shot at racing against the best in the world. We haven’t been doing that well lately so it’s good to get on the winning side again.'
'When we went to the Danish Open we wanted to finish in the quarter finals but that didn’t happen and we ended up placing 10th. Our goal for Germany is to make the quarter finals and get into the next stage of racing to see where we can go from there. Anything can happen in the knock out stages so it would be good to see how we can compete at that phase.'
Climbing up the Rankings
Tiller and his crew are eager to use 2011 to gain more international experience, improve their sailing skills and climb up the ISAF world rankings. To achieve this the crew are planning on racing at as many regattas as possible and hoping to get more experience on the WMRT.
'We are looking at doing the Korea Match Cup qualifier and then travelling into Europe and do a few more WMRT qualifying regattas there. We’re also planning on heading to the US to compete in the Chicago Match Race Cup.'
'In all we’ve got about 20 regattas planned for our team so we aim to compete at as many Tour events as possible.'
Inspiration and Rivalry
Following a long line of New Zealand skippers like Adam Minoprio, Russell Coutts and most recently Phil Robertson who have competed on the WMRT, Tiller is relishing the chance to learn from some of his heroes and hopefully become the next Kiwi sailing star.
'We looked up a lot to Adam Minoprio and his team. Torvar Mirsky is another one to look up to and see what he’s doing with his sailing. Even just competing at the Danish Open and learning tricks from legends like Peter Gilmour and picking up on his tactics is amazing.'
While Tiller is keen to learn from the Tour Card Holders he is also not afraid to take them on and is looking forward to the possibility of taking on fellow countryman and new Tour Card Holder Phil Roberston.
'I’ve raced Phil quite a few times locally and in Australia so it’s been awesome to see him stepping it up and being on the Tour. We are kind of rivals at the moment but we’re getting friendly again so hopefully after this year he can give us a few pointers.'
'It would be great to race him again so hopefully we come up against him at some stage this year.'
A skipper is only as good as the crew behind him and Tiller faces the challenge of pulling together the best team possible for the season ahead. With only 3 of his winning Wellington team confirmed as his crew for the season, the search is on to build the best possible full time team.
'We basically work when we are back in New Zealand. Our bowman Shaun Mason is a skipper at Sail NZ so he takes tourists out on the water, Harry Thurston is a sail maker and I was studying engineering at university but have put it on hold so I can sail as much as possible.'
'We’ve been really lucky to have a full sponsor on board the whole time, Chris Meads from Full Metal Jacket, so he helps us a lot and makes it all possible, we couldn’t do it without him.'
Fresh from his success in Wellington next stop for Tiller and his team is Long Beach, California for the Congressional Cup which will give them the chance to lay down some early season markers against WMRT Tour Card Holders Ian Williams, Mathieu Richard, Francesco Bruni, Phil Robertson, and Johnie Berntsson.
World Match Racing Tour website