Ian Williams takes time out from matchracing to join VO70 Pindar Oceangraphics in Antigua 5/5/07

British matchracing champion Ian Williams is currently taking time out away from the matchracing scene helming Andrew Pindar’s VO60 Pindar Alphagraphics at Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

Williams who’s ranked top of the ISAF world match racing league – the first British sailor to have ever reached that status – is sponsored by Pindar and is using the time at the helm of the 60 footer to improve is helming technique.

After this event he’ll be heading to Italy for a spot of Swan 45 sailing and then going straight to Germany for the start of 2007 World Match Racing Tour. From here he’ll be in full swing back on the matchracing scene with two events per month until the end of the year.

Chatting about the benefits of sailing here in the Caribbean, Williams said: “It was perfect timing because the matchracing scene is fairly quite at the moment with the America’s Cup taking place. It was a great opportunity to work on improving my helming technique and to sail with a different, really good crew. It was also good really be involved the Pindar team and meet the likes of Brian Thompson and the other good guys on board. Pindar’s involvement has been great for me and hopefully great for them too.”

There is no doubt that winning the World Match Racing Tour and being ranked at the top of the world league couldn’t have come at a better time for Williams who admits that his ultimate ambition is to win the America’s Cup for Britain. The launch of the Origin British America’s Cup campaign could be perfect platform for someone like Williams who’s not only an extremely talented sailor but who has proved himself of the match racing scene.

Commenting on the new British team and a possible involvement, Williams said: “For sure it’s very exciting there’s a British America’s Cup team. So, yes, of course if Origin were interested in me joining them I’d be very interested.”

The announcement of Pindar’s sponsorship came at a perfect time too – just after winning the World Match Racing Tour. This has set him up financially for the start of the next tour, which Williams says, has been a massive help.

“Match racing is all about team work so this sponsorship means we can now keep the team together. Although I have a core team: Simon Shaw, Mark Nicholls, Bill Hardesty, my brother Mark Williams, and Gerry Mitchell, last year I sailed with 17 or 18 different people because I couldn’t really offer them anything financially. Now I can offer a much better financial deal. Not quite as much as they get going sailing elsewhere but comparable so they can put things in their diary, commit to them, commit to the programme and they can give up other sailing to come and do the match racing.”

Williams is trained lawyer and has already practiced as a solicitor for 18 months. But he says although he enjoyed the work he felt he couldn’t miss the sailing opportunities that have arisen. The solicitor training has also really given him a great range of skills which he believes will help take him further in the professional racing circuit. “These skills are relevant to a lot of different areas in life and I think the experience I got training as a solicitor are actually quite relevant to what I do – how to work in a big team and how to present yourself professionally.”

Here at Antigua Sailing Week Williams is leading the Pindar team. They’ve not had the most successful this week as far as results are concerned (including a DNS on day one due to rig problems) but the boat’s going well and they are generally pleased with her performance.

Unfortunately for them, however, she doesn’t rate particularly well which has kept them down the scoreboard but despite this Williams confirms the team’s having good time. “It’s easy to enjoy yourself in Antigua. I’ve done it twice before, five years ago with friends just in the bareboat class which was more of a social week than a racing week, and a couple of years ago I did it with my parents on a Swan 44. That was also great fun.”

Click here for Stanford Antigua Sailing Week results.