Ian Williams in action at Match Race Germany © Brian Carlin / AWMRT
Langenargen, Germany (17 May 2013): This year GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams is attempting to the enter the history books by being the first person to better Peter Gilmour’s record by winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championship title for a fifth time.
While Chris Dickson, Russell Coutts and Ed Baird have been crowned ISAF Match Racing World Champion title three times, at present Gilmour and Williams are the only people ever to have won it four times. Following Gilmour’s retirement last season, the decks are now clear for the GAC Pindar skipper to be the first to get his name on the trophy for a fifth time. And if he manages this in 2013 he will also be the first person ever to win the title for a third consecutive year.
“That is the only goal that we can set - to try and win again,” says Williams. “But it is a case of getting into it and seeing how it goes. We have the same team, the same five guys, although we have not got them all in Germany - Matt Cassidy and Gerry Mitchell aren’t here.” They have been replaced by American Willem van Waay, and Australian Graham Spence, both experienced match racers, while Bill Hardesty and Mal Parker remain on board.
Match Race Germany is the first stage of the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour and the leading teams have been keen to start the regatta all guns blazing. Williams, Adam Minoprio and Taylor Canfield all competed in Congressional Cup in Long Beach last month, where Williams came home third, Minoprio was fifth and Canfield sixth.
In addition to this, Williams has just returned from Hong Kong where he finished third skippering for a local crew at the 1010 4G Match Racing International Regatta. He says he was there mainly to support his shipping company sponsor GAC, which has an office in Hong Kong, and the match racing program at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
As to the line-up on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour this year, Williams says that the field is mainly similar to last year. However significantly there is the return of the 2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion, Adam Minoprio – “we’d expect him to put up a pretty strong challenge and he has pretty much his old team back together. He’s been lucky in that respect, so you’d expect him to be strong.” Williams also gives the nod to US Virgin Island skipper Taylor Canfield. “He had a fantastic end to the last year, winning in Bermuda and Malaysia.”
Canfield is one of the ‘new generation coming through’. Williams observes that it is different to when he was in his 20s. “We didn’t do that much match racing when we were young. Now there is a lot more youth match racing and people are concentrating on it a lot earlier. Adam [Minoprio] and Torvar [Mirsky] were the leaders of the new group coming through, people who had really focussed on match racing during their youth years and got to a very high level very quickly.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum some of the old timers are coming back as wild cards – one time Oracle helmsman Gavin Brady applied or a Tour card this year and will be competing at the Chicago Match Cup, while the 2002 Match Racing World Champion, Pole Karol Jablonski is racing here on Lake Constance. Williams old foe, Mathieu Richard has got a number of wild card invites to events this year with his GEFCO Match Racing Team and at the end of day one of Match Race Germany was tied on points at the top of the leaderboard.
As to Match Race Germany, Williams says he’s never finished better than third here before. If they could get a win here it would be a very strong start to what could be a record breaking season for the British skipper.