Briton Ian Williams wins his second consecutive ISAF World Match Racing title at Monsoon Cup
Leading British sailor, Ian Williams (Bahrain Team Pindar) has won his second consecutive ISAF World Match Racing title at the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia – the final and deciding event of the 2008 World Match Racing Tour.
After decisively defeating world title rival Mathieu Richard (French Team / Team French Spirit) 3-0 in the quarter final stages, Williams officially clinched the title when fellow contender for the world crown, Sebastian Col, (French Team / K Challenge) was defeated by former World Match Racing Champion Peter Gilmour (PST) 2 -3 in a dramatic deciding fifth race that went down to the wire.
It was a tense start to the day, with eight skippers contesting the quarter final stage in heavy monsoonal downpours, strong river current and gusty 15 – 20 knot winds.
Williams and his Bahrain Team Pindar crew of Gerry Mitchell, Mark Nicholls, Simon Shaw and Richard Sydenham sailed exceptionally well in the quarter finals. Hitting the start line in each of the matches with incredible aggression, they won three straight matches against Mathieu Richard, putting an end to the Frenchman’s hopes of winning the 2008 World Match Racing Tour.
Speaking from Malaysia, a delighted Ian Williams, who last year rewrote the history books becoming the first ever British sailor to win the title, said, “What a fantastic day. We are absolutely thrilled. It was quite a strange way to win as we were out on the water when the Col/ Gilmour match was decided. It all came together today, the crew were amazing and we really sailed like champions – I don’t think we have ever beaten Richard 3-0 before. Winning the title means a great deal, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work throughout the season. We will be giving it our all tomorrow to reach the final of the Monsoon Cup and hope to make it a double celebration.”
Andrew Pindar, Chairman of Bahrain Team Pindar commented, “Match Racing is an exacting form of sailing and to get to the top and become World Champion is only done by skill, dedication, team work and a computational brain. To win the title for a successive second time is outstanding and we are immensely proud of Ian and all the crew. We look forward to watching him defend his crown again, on behalf of Bahrain Team Pindar, next season.”
On Sunday Williams will be presented with the prestigious World Match Racing Tour trophy, but first he must complete his semi final against Adam Minoprio. Currently leading 2-0, Williams needs one more race win to guarantee his place in the final of the Monsoon Cup, where he would then face either Peter Gilmour in a repeat of the 2007 final, or Torvar Mirsky ( Mirsky Racing Team).
Now in its fourth year the Monsoon Cup, hosted by Terengganu Heritage Bay Club, has gained prominent status on the World Tour. A world class line up of 12 crews competed on identical Foundation 36 Yachts for a share of the $295,000 prize money, including Britain’s three times Olympic Gold medallist and ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year, Ben Ainslie (Team Origin).