A win in Marseille puts British match racer Ian Williams at top of World Match Race rankings list 19/3/07

British match racer Ian Williams of Team Pindar has won the Marseille International Match Race, after a breezy 2-0 final against Frenchman Pierre Antoine Morvan this weekend. Williams’ result at the Marseille regatta, a Grade 1 event, will enable him to take first position in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, the best ever placing for any British sailor.

After four days of close racing, Team Pindar finished the semi-finals with a score of 3-0, sailing three exciting matches against Russian Evgeny Neugodnikov. French sailor Mathieu Richard, one of Williams’ closest rivals on the match racing circuit was beaten in his semi-final by the young Pierre Antoine Morvan. Ian and his team of Simon Shaw, Mark Williams and Mark Nicholls then went on to compete in the best of three final against Antoine Morvan in a testing 20-25 knots of wind and big seas.

Williams commented: “I am delighted with our performance in Marseille. We stayed calm and focussed throughout the event, and while there was pandemonium going on around us in the semi-finals, in both our matches and in others, we maintained our composure. The final was breezy so it was important to have impeccable boat handling in the strong conditions. Sailing with our regular team I think our experience showed through in the final which was pretty gnarly!”

Williams, Britain’s most promising match racing helm, is currently leading the World Match Racing Tour. At present he lies second in the ISAF Match Race Rankings, however he will move up to first place when future rankings are announced. No Briton has ever been ranked higher on the open ISAF ladder, or ever led the World Match Racing Tour before.