British sailor holds tiebreak advantage against Gilmour at matchracing final 13/7/06

On the strength of an unbeaten day (day 2), Ian Williams has moved into the lead at the Locman Cup – Elba Island, the eighth and final stage of the 2005-06 World Match Racing Tour season.

Williams (GBR), skipper of Williams Sail Racing, went 4-0 on the day to run his record to 7-1. He’s tied with Peter Gilmour (AUS), PST, on wins, but gained the tiebreak advantage when he beat Gilmour head-to-head in the next-to-last flight of the first round.

Cameron Dunn (NZL), Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team, is third at 5-3, followed by Staffan Lindberg (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, at 4.5-3. Lindberg would be tied with Dunn but the Finn was penalized a half point yesterday for failing to avoid contact.

For Williams, his spot at the top of the leaderboard is unfamiliar territory after taking up match-racing full time last year. Commenting Williams said: “It feels like we’ve been improving all year. It feels like it’s coming together. I have the same crew as in Germany and that’s important.”

Williams placed third last month at Match Race Germany after faltering in the semifinal round. He lost that round to Gilmour, but exacted a bit of revenge today when he beat Gilmour handily.

Williams won the first cross, riding starboard across Gilmour’s bow. He led by about one boatlength at the windward mark, and then extended over the next three legs for the win. Williams continued: “We had some faults and addressed them after that semifinal round. It was about the way we prepare for races. You get the preparation right and feel a little more settled in the races. There’s a little less to worry about and you feel more on top of your game.”