The remainder of the knockout rounds at the RYA match racing championship at Weymouth took place yesterday

The remainder of the knockout rounds at the RYA match racing championship at Weymouth took place yesterday (19 September, 2001). After a long day with 10 flights raced in all, the four semi finalists have been decided. Ian Williams, the British Match Racing Champion looked on fine form, and sailed extremely well to win all of his races and become the top seed in the semi-finals. Williams is sailing with his brother Mark, Swedish IMS national champion Dave Lenz, past British Match Racing Champion Chris Gowers and Mark Nicholls. Second to qualify, winning six out of seven races, was Andy Green. Green, who won the Bermuda Gold Cup in 1999 and the Stockholm City Match in 2000, is sailing with some of his GBR Challenge crew including 1996 Olympian Adrian Stead, 2000 Olympian Richard Sydenham, America’s Cup veteran Chris Mason and fellow GBR Challenge crew member and Farr 40 sailor Mark Sheffield.

Qualifying in third place is Paulo Cian from Italy who is ranked in the top 20 of the ISAF Match Racing league, and also signed up to sail for the Italian America’s Cup Challenge for 2002/2003. Last to qualify for the Semi finals was Chris Main of New Zealand, Main sailed for Nippon Challenge in the America’s Cup 2000 and more recently had successes at the Farr 40 Europeans and worlds where he finished third in both. He is sailing with a predominantly British crew including top Admirals Cup sailor Jonathan Taylor, Etchells world champion Nik Pearson, Jim Turner who was ranked number seven in the ISAF World Rankings in 2000, and Matt Cornwell after a crew swap with Derek Clark who injured himself in yesterday’s racing.

Racing for the final place was tight with any of the other five boats being contenders. 1996 and 2000 Olympian Ian Walker, who has had such a successful event so far, seemed to lack speed yesterday, and after winning only one race was knocked out of the championship. RYA Youth Match Racing Champion Paul Campbell-James, who is the youngest skipper in the championship, was knocked out after a very tight match against Main. Whoever had won this match would have gone through to the final four and it was Main who just clinched it.

Today will see Ian Williams line up against the number four seed Chris Main and Andy Green against Paulo Cian. Commenting on his opponent Williams Said: “we have not really thought too much about who we will be racing today, we sailed really well yesterday, played the shifts to our advantage and led round every mark which obviously helps. It is an advantage qualifying for the semi finals in poll position because you get to sail off the number four seed and in theory this should be the weaker boat. We will go out today and carry on doing what we have done so far and hope this works for us.”