Williams takes first blood over Canfield. Will World title be next?

Published on February 12th, 2015

Johor, Malaysia (February 12, 2015) – As Qualifying came to an end on day three of the Monsoon Cup, the much awaited duel was between the two dominant teams of recent years, Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar versus Taylor Canfield’s US One. As the final event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the tour and world title will be decided in Malaysia, and these two team will likely decide it.

Even on the first beat there were multiple lead changes as the fickle breeze smiled on one crew and then the other. Towards the top of the first leg, Canfield engaged Williams in a luff, lowering his jib. However when the breeze shifted mid-manoeuvre, Canfield was caught short while Williams powered away in a small gust. Game, set, match.

“We were a bit greedy,” said US One’s Hayden Goodrick. “We should have been a bit more patient and waited for our next moment to attack.” GAC Pindar’s Chris Main couldn’t believe how quickly the advantage went their way. “The whole thing lasted just a few seconds but suddenly we had a few boatlengths’ lead and that was enough for the match.”

It was a crucial match that Canfield really wanted to win, as topping Qualifying would have given them options, whereas leaving Williams clear to top the leaderboard allowed the Briton to have first choice of opponent. The British sailor shares the record of four world titles with Peter Gilmour, now retired from professional match racing.

Williams picked the younger Gilmour, David, as his Quarter Final duellist. The GAC Pindar skipper was merciless in the start of both matches, forcing the young Australian over the line in both starts and winning with ease. Not to be outdone, Canfield was similarly brutal with his chosen opponent, Wild Card entry Pierre-Antoine Morvan, also going 2-0 up.

With the top eight of the 12 teams set to go through to the Quarter Finals, it was Wild Card entry Eric Monnin that turned on the afterburners on day 3. The Swiss skipper made sense of the often random and shifty conditions in Johor Bahru to score a perfect day on the water.

“Looking back this morning, we had just 2 points from two days. There’s still snow in Switzerland, we haven’t had any practice time for match racing, so every day we sail here makes us feel stronger.”

Having come through Qualifying in 3rd place, Phil Robertson picked Monnin as his Quarter-Final opponent, a choice the defending champion from the Monsoon Cup might be regretting as he now sits 0-2, just one loss away from being eliminated.

“Haven’t had the best day to be honest,” said Robertson. “Tried to sink two boats. Same situation, different races, so there’s two holes in two boats, courtesy of myself. And it didn’t get much better in the Quarter Finals. But my team likes a battle, being put on the back foot. The situation’s the same: still got to win three races, just no mistakes, and I think we can do that.”

With three of the Quarter Final match on tilt, the only evenly balanced pairing is between Mathieu Richard and Keith Swinton who sit on 1-1. The Australian skipper is happy just to be racing after being laid low the previous day with a bug.

“I feel a lot better than this time yesterday, feel like I’m on an upward curve,” noted Sinton. “Ricky [McGarvie, Swinton’s bowman] was even more ill than I was, was at hospital for quite a bit longer. They put him on a drip, and this morning he was still feeling average. So, thanks to Jeremy Koo for lending us Don McCracken for a race. We held on and we’re happy to get to the Quarters.”

Keith Swinton might feel he deserves to be 2-0 up on Richard, but a gust from heaven brought the LunaJets team right back into contention as the French sailed past the Australians for a lucky victory.

“Yes, we were lucky,” shrugged Richard, “but it is the same as what happened to us when Taylor Canfield came from behind in our Qualifying match.”

Lady Luck is certainly playing a strong part in the proceedings, but when you look at the likes of the hot favourites – Williams and Canfield – continuing to dominate, it’s hard to argue that it’s the deciding factor. Ride your luck and hammer home your advantage, without mercy. That’s what the top dogs are doing in their scrap for the glory and prize money up for grabs at this concluding event of the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

Earlier in the day, the conclusion of Qualifying saw the departure of four teams: the two event Qualifiers from Malaysia and Singapore, skippered respectively by Jeremy Koo and Maxi Soh, and two Swedish teams. Winner of last October’s Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda, Johnie Berntsson was a late call-up for a Wild Card and said his timing and boathandling had suffered because of Stena Sailing Team’s lack of practice. The biggest surprise was to see the other Swedish team skippered by Bjorn Hansen making an early exit. He too put his problems down to a lack of match race training since Bermuda.

The Quarter Finals continue on Friday, February 13.

Report by tour media.

Tour websiteMonsoon Cup qualifying gridTour ScoreboardVideos

Watch full replay of Thursday, February 12: CLICK HERE

LIVE: Quarter/Semi-Finals: FRIDAY February 13 (see date/time below for your local area)

2015 Monsoon Cup Malaysia Stage 7 – Season Finale 2014/15 Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Quarter-Finals Results
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar bt David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 2-0
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One bt Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 2-0
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox bt Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 2-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets vs Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 1-1

Final Results of Qualifying

1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 10-1
2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 10-1
3 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 8 (7.5)-3 (0.5 point deducted for damage)
4 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 7-4
5 Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 6-5
6 Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox 6-5
7 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 6 (5)-5 (1 point deducted for damage)
8 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 5-6
9 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 4-7
10 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 3-8
11 Maximilian Soh (SIN) Team Red Dot 1-10
12 Jeremy Koo (MAS) Sime Darby Foundation / 1 Malaysia Match Racing Team 0 (-0.5)-11 (0.5 point deducted for damage)

Tour Leaderboard Standings after Stage 6
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 94pts
2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 88pts
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 76pts
4 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 69pts
5 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 58pts
6 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 56pts
7 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 39pts
8 Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team 32pts

Background: The Monsoon Cup (February 10-14) is the seventh and final stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Prize money is awarded for each event, with event points culminating in the crowning of the “ISAF Match Racing World Champion”.

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