Ian Williams wins battle of the Brits on day one of the Stena Match Cup in Sweden
Ian Williams made a spectacular start to his Stena Match Cup skippering the GAC Pindar to victory in all four of his races including an impressive win over fellow British skipper three-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie in his TEAMORIGIN.
The Stena Match Cup is the biggest event in the Swedish sailing calendar marking the halfway stage of this year’s World Match Racing Tour. This year’s race took place on the beautiful island of Marstrand with the Royal Gothenburg Yacht club playing host to a total of 16 crews all in identical DS 37 boats. The morning’s race got underway in near perfect conditions as the round-robin stages were battled out under clear blue skies with a steady 10-15 knot breeze.
During his first race Williams faced stiff competition from local sailor Johnnie Berntsson (Berntsson sailing team). Williams was still trailing after the last mark but he fought back to clinch the win in a tight finish across the line. Races 2 and 4 were won convincingly by Williams as he triumphed over Torvar Mirsky (Mirsky Racing Team) and the reigning Stena Match Cup Seden champion, Peter Gilmour (YANMAR Racing).
However the best sailing of the day was reserved for the all-British showdown between Williams and Ainslie. Ainslie looked to have secured an early success as he stormed to an early lead with some strong tactical tacking up the first beat. Yet the race was far from over as Williams responded superbly; managing to close the gap considerably before forcing Ainslie into a difficult maneuver as the pair rounded the bottom mark. Ainslie’s spinnaker wrapped itself around his bow and Williams seized the opportunity to overhaul the floundering Ainslie and win by a comfortable distance.
A cheerful Williams commented “it’s a great start to the week- we faced a tough line-up this morning so we are delighted to win all four races. It’s a new team so we are improving race by race. We are looking forward to more competitive racing tomorrow”.
Team GAC were joined by Lars Safverstorm, Group President of global shipping logistics company and partner to the team who was on board for the first race. After his exhilarating guest ride Safverstrorm spoke delightedly of his experience on board GAC Pindar: “This is my first visit to the Stena Match Cup Sweden and I am enjoying it immensely. The race conditions could not have been better and it was fantastic to experience Ian’s cool management and the impressive team work from such an exciting vantage point. I am looking forward to following the action for the remainder of the week”.
Williams now only needs one win from his remaining 3 round- robin matches to secure his teams progress to the quarter- finals.