Ian Williams Wins World Match Racing Tour Fremantle

Published on March 7th, 2016

Fremantle, WA (March 7, 2016) – Reigning World Champion Ian Williams swept aside Hans Wallén 3-0 to win the final of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, the opening event of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season.

Even though the GAC Pindar skipper has won a record six world titles on the Tour, the level of his domination in high-speed M32 catamarans now being used took even the British skipper by surprise.

“There’s always a lot of focus on the skipper, but this really is a team sport,” said Williams. “It’s pretty obvious which way to point a fast boat like an M32 so my job is relatively easy, it’s what the guys do in front of me that really counts.”

Williams was sailing with Mark Bulkeley, Garth Ellingham and Brad Farrand.

In the morning, the wind was gusting unpredictably off Bather’s Beach for the Semi Finals. Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested was expected to give Williams a tough battle having been the class act of the previous day’s high-wind racing, but that didn’t happen

At the start of the first match Sehested was penalised for starting too early by the umpires. “Actually both Williams and ourselves were over but the message didn’t get through correctly from the race committee to the umpires,” said a frustrated but philosophical Sehested. “We shouldn’t have been penalised but we were and that was the race gone right there.” Sehested appealed the call but to no avail.

The start of match two, and moments after the start Williams’ gennaker unfurled too soon – the result of a bad furl during an aggressive pre-start between the teams. Sehested surged into a seemingly unassailable lead until his gennaker started unfurling on the first beat – again the result of operator error at the leeward gate. Match two, and match point to Williams.

Finally in match three Sehested got his groove on, surging away to a good lead until – disaster – he capsized at the leeward turning mark. “I did a normal turn but I hadn’t noticed that our boards weren’t in their correct position,” said Sehested. “The leeward one was up and the windward one was down, and the lift from the windward board tipped us in. Frustrating, but that’s sailing. We gave Ian two of those races on a plate. But overall we’re pleased with how we sailed this week. A new team, we’re fast, and we’ll come back strong for the next event.”

So Williams was through to the Final 3-0.

There was a good battle on the other side of the Semi Final draw, although Hans Wallén’s experience in the M32 catamaran proved too much for Yann Guichard who lost 3-0 to the Swedish crew.

In the Petit Final, the race for 3rd overall, Guichard beat Sehested 2-1.

For the Final later on in the afternoon, when the breeze had turned to an offshore moderate wind, Williams looked more in control during the pre-start maneuvering and generally got the better of Wallén from early on in each match. The exception was match three when an unforced error by Williams during the pre-start entry resulted in penalty on the British team. However, the Swedish advantaged proved short-lived as Williams found a different path down the first run and surged into a lead that he would extend all the way to the finish.

With 20 international teams from all kinds of grand prix sailing backgrounds, it wasn’t meant to be like this. Williams was expected to be there or thereabouts, but not to dominate quite like he did. “If there’s one thing that I think I’ve always been good at throughout my career, something I’ve been very focused on, is looking at ways of improving different parts of what we do, always trying to learn and move things on.”

Wallén probably wasn’t expected to make the Final, but the Olympic Star silver medallist was rightly proud to have done so. “We are happy, only frustrated that we couldn’t give Ian more of a fight. In these moderate conditions and stable wind direction there were very few passing lanes,” said the Swede.

Williams raised the trophy aloft and accepted a winner’s cheque for USD 33,000, his team’s share of a USD 200,000 prize purse. Now the game moves on to three other international venues before the big finale this July, the World Championship Finals in Marstrand, Sweden. The winner’s prize is USD 1million.

Final Results
1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar $US 33,000
2. Hans Wallén (SWE) Walleén Racing $US 23,000
3. Yann Guichard (FRA) Spindrift Racing $US 18,000
4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing $US 18,000
5. Matt Jerwood (AUS) Redline Racing $US 12,000
6. Murray Jones (AUS) Full Bants Racing $US 12,000
7. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One $US 12,000
8. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Rahm Racing $US 12,000
9. Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing $US 5,000
10. Evan Walker (AUS) KA Match/ CYCA $US 5,000
11. Steven Thomas (AUS) Royal Perth YC $US 5,000
12. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing $US 5,000
13. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team $US 5,000
14. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing $US 5,000
15. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing $US 5,000
16. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) Dackhammer Racing $US 5,000
17. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 $US 5,000
18. Brett Burvill (AUS) Edge Racing Team NYC $US 5,000
19. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Royal Danish YC $US 5,000
20. Mark Whittington (AUS) South of Perth YC $US 5,000

The event began with 20 teams competing for three days of fleet racing, with the top 16 teams advancing to the knock-out match race rounds.

Round of 16 Results
Matt Jerwood (AUS) beat Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) 3-0
Ian Williams (GBR) beat Sam Gilmour (AUS) 3-1
Mattias Rahm (SWE) beat Evan Walker (AUS) 3.5-2
Hans Wallén (SWE) beat Eric Monnin (SUI) 3-1
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) beat Steve Thomas (AUS) 3-1
Taylor Canfield (ISV) v Chris Steele (NZL) 3-1
Yann Guichard (FRA) v Keith Swinton (AUS) 3.5-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) v Murray Jones (AUS) 2-3

Quarter Final Results:
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) beat Taylor Canfield (ISV) 3-1
Yann Guichard (FRA) beat Murray Jones (AUS) 2-1
Hans Wallén (SWE) beat Matt Jerwood (AUS) 2.5-1.5
Ian Williams (GBR) beat Mattias Rahm (SWE) 3-0

World Match Racing Tour Fremantle on March 2-7 was the first stop on the 5-event 2016 World Match Racing Tour. Now in its 17th consecutive season, the tour is the longest running global professional series in the sport.

In July 2015, Swedish company Aston Harald AB bought the World Match Racing Tour. Aston Harald AB is a privately owned group of companies which includes M32 catamarans and the M32 Series.

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