Britain's Ian Williams extends lead at top of World Match Racing Tour 29/8/07

Britain’s Ian Williams and his Team Pindar have extended the lead they hold at the top of the World Match Racing Tour ranking table with a win at the St Moritz Match Race last week. Williams is now 24 points clear of Mathieu Richard and the Saba Sailing Team on the World Championship leader board.

The win in St Moritz wasn’t assured until the last moments of the final race, but for Williams, it was a convincing performance nonetheless. In a very difficult venue, noted for its unpredictable wind shifts and gusty conditions – not to mention the challenging double-trapeze Streamline 7.15 boats – Williams entered the final undefeated, having sailed and won the minimum nine races required to qualify.

However, his opponent, Mark Mendelblatt (a two-time champion in St Moritz) and his Team Kaenon, composed of three America’s Cup sailors, gave Williams and his crew all they could handle. The teams alternated victories in the first four races, meaning the championship would be decided in the fifth and final match.

Looking ahead – next stop Rome
Now 24 points clear ahead on the overall rankings, Williams is well positioned in the chase for the Match Race World Championship. That being said there are still four events to be sailed with plenty of ranking points available.

Next up is the Latium Match Cup from the 11-16 September in Fiumicino, approximately 26 kilometres to the west of the city of Rome. In addition to critical ranking points, a prize pool of ?200 000 is available to be won.

The top five skippers on the World Tour ranking – Ian Willams, Mathieu Richard, Paolo Cian, Sébastien Col and Peter Gilmour – are scheduled to compete, along with America’s Cup sailors James Spithill, Magnus Holmberg, Sten Mohr, Ian Ainslie and Michael Hestbaek. Up and coming match racers Victor Lanier and Jure Orel are also registered to compete.

Following the stop in Rome, the World Tour continues with the Bermuda Gold Cup (9-14 October) and the Brazil Sailing Cup (13-18 November). The final event on the Tour is the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia (28 November-2 December), where the World Champion will be crowned. This event will have 200 points on offer and skipper must count this event in their final score.