Match Racing Regattas

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RC44 Match Racing Tour decided in last breath

 

RC44 VALLETTA CUP

 

In its tensest conclusion ever, the RC44 Match Racing Championship today came down to the very last race of the very last flight, victory ultimately falling the way of Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing.

Match racing at the RC44 Valletta Cup took place in a 10-14 knot southeasterly in the magnificent setting of the Maltese capital’s Grand Harbour, surrounded by the ancient fortified city’s towering ramparts.

All RC44 events begin with a day of match racing, points from which are accumulated across the season. Going into this final match racing day of 2016, it also couldn’t have been tighter on points, with Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika tied in the lead with Artemis Racing.

Bronenosec Sailing Team, Team Ceeref and Team Aqua were all tied, three points behind the frontrunners.

Team Nika, the 2015 RC44 World Champion and Fleet Racing Champion, got off to a strong start today dispatching Aleph Racing and Katusha, before picking up an easy win against Team Ceeref which suffered a terminal spinnaker halyard tangle while rounding the leeward gate. However the Russian team’s winning streak came to an end when it lost its flight four match against Chris Bake’s Team Aqua.

Meanwhile after being on a bye for race one, Artemis Racing dispatched Bronenosec Sailing Team, Peninsula Petroleum and Charisima. Going into the final match race of the season, this left the Swedes tied with Team Nika. The final race would decide the 2016 Championship.

In this Artemis Racing led off the start line, maintained her advantage through a tacking duel up the first beat and rounded the top mark ahead, before a spinnaker sheet issue on the downwind allowed Team Nika to gain the upper hand.

Artemis Racing helmsman, Francesco Bruni explained: “We had a problem with the old spinnaker sheet having a knot in it. Then we overcomplicated things at the gate and made a bad drop, so we were a little bit on the back foot.”

The two boats split at the gate and Artemis Racing picked up a favourable shift that had brought them back into the game by the next cross. Here the experience of the Swedish crew paid, as Team Nika tactician Ed Baird explained:

“We went to lee bow them and it was a little slow. They did a nice job of keeping their speed and then ducked us at the last moment to become the leeward boat. Under the new rules we had to tack away and that put them into the lead again.”

From there Artemis Racing defended well to finish narrowly ahead of Team Nika and to claim the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship title. Bruni commented:

“It was great to have such a close match with Team Nika in the last race. It was really intense, like how match racing should be: Very close, lead changes all the time, really good fun. Vladimir and the Team Nika crew did a really good job. They sailed well until the end.”

Having hoped to follow up his success in 2015 with the Match Racing Championship title this year, Team Nika’s owner Vladimir Proshikin came ashore not in the best of spirits.

“I am so depressed, feeling pain,” he admitted. “We made one quite basic mistake when we were ahead. I had to tack lee bow and I didn’t. It was stupid and it could have changed the outcome. It was one mistake and he [Bruni] didn’t allow me to make any mistakes.” He added: “Had I not wanted to win so badly, I would have had a lot of fun…”

With Team Nika second overall, an outstanding day for Team Aqua – joint top scorer today with Artemis Racing – allowed Chris Bake’s team to claim the third spot on the 2016 RC44 Match Racing Championship podium.

With the wind blowing more across Grand Harbour than down it, the start box was shallow and required teams to reappraise their pre-start manoeuvres, perhaps benefitting the more experienced crews. As Cameron Appleton, who helmed Team Aqua today observed:

“There was a lot more reverse circling and picking your time and a lot more shut outs at the committee boat just due to the limited space. So it was a whole different pre-start mind-set and strategy, but we always had a good game plan and were able to execute.”

Today was not only the last day of match racing in the 2016 for the RC44s. Going forward the decision has been made to change to an entirely fleet racing regatta format from next season on.

 

RC44 Valletta Cup – Match Race Results:

Artemis Racing 4-0

Team Aqua 4-0

Team Nika 3-2

Bronenosec Sailing Team 3-2

Artemis Racing Youth 2-2

Team Ceeref 2-2

Charisma 2-3

Peninsula Petroleum 2-3

Katusha 1-4

Aleph Racing 0-5

 

For more information about the RC44 Valletta Cup and racing progress please visit www.yachtingevents.com.mt and www.rc44.com

 

 

Robertson is crowned the million dollar champion

 

WMRT finals

Photos © WMRT

 

World Match Racing Tour Finals at Marstrand, Sweden

 

Phil Robertson has been crowned World Match Racing Champion after beating Taylor Canfield in an epic, high-wind duel in the Final of the World Match Racing Tour.

The 29-year-old and his Robertson Racing crew also banked US $33,000 for winning in Marstrand, Sweden, plus a World Champion’s bonus of $1,000,000. It’s the largest prize money ever awarded in the sport of sailing, but Robertson’s whoops of joy and celebration were more about winning the title of Match Racing World Champion.

“It’s a dream come true and the goal we’ve been striving for since 2009,” he told the crowd that he just done his best to drench with champagne.

“To do it here in Marstrand, I couldn’t think of a better place. Thank you all for watching, I hope it was entertaining because we sure had fun.”

There were so many twists and turns to the Final. Robertson was fast out of the blocks in the gusty wind which was bulleting through the fjord at up to 25 knots, with a nasty lumpy chop making it very difficult to maintain the speed on the light, 500kg M32 catamarans through the tacks.

Canfield was handicapped by losing his tactician and mainsheet man, Chris Main, who took himself off the boat this morning due to a long-term shoulder injury flaring up.

“It wouldn’t have been fair of me to go out there and hold the boys back,” said Main, close to tears at missing his shot at defending the title he won last year with Ian Williams.

With reigning World Champion Williams knocked out in the Quarter Finals, Canfield was able to bring in GAC Pindar crewman Garth Ellingham as Main’s stand-in. Able replacement though Ellingham was, getting the coordination and teamwork right on the M32 at this level requires split-second timing and telepathy between the crew, and US One looked vulnerable on the upwind manoeuvres.

However, Canfield seemed to have the measure of Robertson in the second match and they were neck and neck, on collision course at the top of the course with Canfield on the inside at the left turn mark. As Canfield tacked, Robertson tried to sneak inside him but misjudged the turn with disastrous consequences. Crash, crunch, and a hole in the US One float.

“We’re taking on water!” yelled Canfield, as the umpires slapped a penalty on Robertson. “Mayday! Mayday! We’re sinking!” Canfield and Robertson sure know how to ham it up and turn on the drama for the live TV coverage, but the drama had to go on pause while a spare boat was prepared for US One.

An extra penalty point against Robertson now put the scores to 1-0 in favour of Canfield. Match point to US One, and for a while it looked like the American team were going to take out the next match and win the title. But somehow Robertson found his way past Canfield at the top of the final upwind leg and charged down to the finish, punching the air in defiance. 1-1, and all down to the final match.

We had already seen a number of big nosedives and near capsizes, but even with so much at stake the teams were never going to hold back. Robertson observed to the cameras between races:

“If you wanna win it, you’ve got to lick your stamp and send it!”

Both teams threw everything at the final start and the first downwind charge to the bottom of the course. They were neck and neck going up the next upwind leg, as both crews wrestled their M32s through the tacks. Towards the top of the track for the last time the two boats converged on collision course and came to blows again, though this time only a glancing one. The umpires slapped a penalty on Canfield and Robertson seized the moment, racing away up the course and across the finish line to the roar of the crowd.

The Kiwis had done it. ‘World Champions’. Phil Robertson had become the first million dollar man in sailing, backed up by his athletic crew of fellow Kiwis: Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski.

“We’ve been a super low-budget campaign,” said Robertson. “We’ve paid for everything ourselves this season. So we’re over the moon, just can’t believe it, we’re stoked.”

He paid tribute to Håkan Svensson, who took over ownership of the World Match Racing Tour last year, and whose company Aston Harald builds and promotes the M32 catamaran around the world.

“The M32s are just so much fun. We’re having a blast. There have been a few sceptics about whether you can do match racing in multihulls. Well just take a look at that Final. I’ve never had so much fun match racing as in these cats.”

Canfield, even in his moment of defeat, was grinning from ear to ear. “It’s incredible what Håkan has created for us, we’re definitely back next year. Congratulations to Phil and his team in some of the most challenging conditions you could ask for.”

Earlier in the day, Robertson beat Matt Jerwood, Redline Racing from Australia 3-0 in their Semi Final match. Canfield had more of a fight with Chris Steele, 36 Below Racing from New Zealand, who pushed his training partner very hard, but US One scraped through to the Final 2-1. In the Petit Final to determine 3rd and 4th place overall, Jerwood beat Steele 2-0.

The spectacle of the Final drew some of the biggest Saturday crowds Match Cup Sweden has ever seen, with the cliff tops packed with thousands of spectators. Svensson was delighted with how his vision for a rejuvenated World Match Racing Tour had worked out.

“We’ve had a great first season travelling the world, watching the M32s compete on the Tour for the first time. And today, the spectators, the sailors, the island of Marstrand, have done us proud,” he said.

“We have been very lucky with great conditions this week, and the competitors delivered thrills, action and drama beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t wait to do it all again next season.”

 

Marstrand Results Day 6 – Finals:

1. Phil Robertson (NZL), Phill Robertsson Racing – 2 pts

2. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One – 1 pts

 

Petit Finals:

1. Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing – 2 pts

2. Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing – 0 pts

 

www.wmrt.com

Taylor Canfields US One captures the title in Newport

 

M32 Newport scene ir

Photos © Ian Roman / WMRT

 

World Match Racing Tour in Newport RI

 

 

After an all but washed out penultimate day of the World Match Racing Tour Newport, Newport laid it on the final day with Taylor Canfield and his US One team claiming the Championship.

The organisers were able to run the complete schedule of semi-finals and finals. Throughout this the competing teams fought tooth and nail on their nimble hull-flying M32 catamarans.

Worthy winner US Virgin Island skipper Taylor Canfield and his US One Team comprising Chris Main, Hayden Goodrick and Ricky McGarvie, overcame New Zealand’s Phil Robertson’s WAKA Racing 3-1, but not without drama by the cart-load. Having now won two M32 events in succession on the World Match Racing Tour as well as dominating the M32 Scandinavian Series last season, Canfield’s team surely now represents the benchmark among M32 campaigns.

Canfield attempted to explain their success: “We have put the time in, we’ve been pushing hard and making sure that we are learning throughout all of this, including all the qualifying events, to make sure that we continually grow as a team, which is important to us.”

In the final Robertson claimed the first match, but Canfield then won the next three to clinch first prize. While Canfield ultimately prevailed, there were many many occasions when it could have gone the opposite way.

In the final, deciding fourth race, Canfield had aggressively and repeatedly luffed Robertson out of the start. Finally, as both boats ran back downwind, attention focussed on Canfield as, incredibly, for a second time in the finals, he hooked a mooring buoy located in the middle of the course. What many failed to notice was that while this was happening Robertson had passed the wrong side of the first reaching mark of the course. The Kiwi skipper led around the course oblivious to this until being informed while rounding the final mark…

“We obviously missed the first mark so technically we never sailed the first lap, so they were still waiting for us to do that… which was a little bit interesting.” Robertson explained later once he’d come to terms with it. “In the heat of the moment people were making mistakes like that and the courses are a bit new and different to everyone. But that was a big, costly mistake…”

An equal eye-opener was the second race. This Canfield somehow managed to win, despite picking up two penalties and there being two collisions along the way.

 

WMRT Neport final

 

Earlier both semi-finals matches had been decided 2-1 with Canfield overcoming Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar team and Robertson beating France’s Yann Guichard and his Spindrift racing crew. Williams subsequently came out on top in the best of one Petit Final, to secure third place overall.

All eyes are now on the final event of the season, the World Match Racing Tour Finals in Marstrand, the picturesque island on Sweden’s west coast over July 4th-9th. This event features the distinct incentive of a winner-takes-all first prize of a cool US$ 1 million as well as the Match Racing World Championship title.

“There will be more on for the finals in Marstrand,” warns favourite Taylor Canfield. “Everyone is going to want it that much more when that much money comes into play and that is going to change people. But if we can stay just as neutral as we can and do what we’ve done for the last couple of events, then we’ll have got a good shot at it.”

 

Finals Day Results:

 

Semi Finals Pair 1

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One – 2 points

2. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar – 1 point

 

Semi Finals Pair 2

1. Phil Robertson (NZL), WAKA Racing – 2 points

2. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing – 1 point

 

Petit Finals

1. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar – 1 point

2. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing – 0 points

 

Finals

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One – 3 points

2. Phil Robertson (NZL), WAKA Racing – 1 point

 

Overall Results:

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One

2. Phil Robertson (NZL), WAKA Racing

3. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar

4. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing

5. Chris Steele (NZL), 36 Below Racing

6. Nicolai Sehested (DEN), TRE_FOR Match Racing

7. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), ESSIQ Racing Team

8. Mattias Rahm (SWE), Rahm Racing

9. Steve Thomas (AUS), RPM Racing

10. David Gilmour (AUS), Team Gilmour

11. Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32

12. Hans Wallen (SWE), Wallen Racing

13. Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team

14. Matt Jerwood (AUS), Redline Racing

15. Eric Monnin (SUI), Albert Riele Swiss Team

16. Michael Menninger (USA), 13FIFTY Racing

17. Evan Walker (AUS), KA Match / CYCA

18. Chris Poole (USA), Riptide Racing

19. Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espāna

20. Keith Swinton (AUS), Team Accure

 

www.wmrt.com

 

 

Canfield cashes in on Martinez mistake to conquer Copenhagen

 

WMRT Copenhagen M32s ir

Photo © Ian Roman / WMRT

 

World Match Racing Tour in Copenhagen

 

Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One, has won World Match Racing Tour Copenhagen after beating Iker Martinez (ESP), Team Espana, in the most extraordinary circumstances. After taking straightforward wins in the first two matches of the final, in the third match Canfield found himself in a much tougher battle with the 2008 49er Olympic Champion who was improving by the race.

The early lead went to Canfield who always looked stronger at the start, but Martinez found a way past at the top of the beat. With the gusty wind pulsing hard, both boats nosedived badly on the downwind leg, and they regrouped in time to discover they were rapidly converging – collision course – on the same leeward gate mark. Martinez never gave Canfield mark room, forcing US One to ride over the top of the buoy and hooking it up underneath the trampoline.

Martinez, charging his way up the course, was given a penalty by the umpires and the match effectively restarted from scratch. However it wasn’t long before the Spaniard had sailed clear of Canfield again and looked set to win the match and take the score to 1-2. Just a 100 metre dash to the finish line to keep Spanish hopes and dreams alive, but no! The Team Espana crew unfurled the gennaker in the mistaken belief that they had another lap to complete. Canfield, some way behind, steered US One across the line unchallenged and undefeated, 3-0 in the Final. Victory in Copenhagen, and $33,000 richer.

“Oh my god, a bit of a relief seeing Iker deploy the gennaker,” said Canfield immediately after the race, scarcely able to believe his luck and feeling a bit sorry for his rival. “Tough to keep track of all the laps. We didn’t sail the race we’d have liked to, but we’ll take the win for sure. Spirits on US One were high, very intense, we were still pushing hard to get back into the race, but he made the last mistake, and we’re ok with that.”

Martinez can’t have been happy with his lap-counting error but by the time Team Espana returned to shore they were all smiles. Asked exactly what happened in that last race he joked:

“I don’t remember anything! But I was telling my team, ‘Look, if we focus and we win, we will never come back – ever – because then they might beat us the next time!

So I think [today’s outcome], that’s the best that could happen to us. We are more than proud to be here, in second place.” And so they should, having never raced an M32 together before and Martinez with no prior match racing experience. Canfield exposed Martinez’s match racing naivety a number of times, but the double Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper showed an incredible ability to learn and was never expected to progress so far through the competition on his Tour début.

Earlier in the day Martinez had seen off the last remaining Scandinavian in the competition, Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Dackhammar Racing, in a tense Semi Final. On the other side of the draw Canfield came out on top of Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift racing.

In the one-race Petite Finale the Swedes beat the French to take the bottom step of the podium. After only just scraping through the early rounds of the fleet race qualifying, third place was an impressive result for Dackhammar who looked stronger and stronger throughout the six days.

“We’re super happy, 3rd is a great result for us,” said the young Swede who has the taste for even greater success in the next two months. “We’ll take one place more in Newport and one place more in Marstrand. I think we have a lot of things to work on, but we have sailed really well here and we just need to work on a few things.”

This week has produced some stunning racing, with many high points, not least Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32, coming so close to eliminating US One in their nailbiting Quarter Final match.

But Canfield rode his luck to come through all the way to victory. After finishing 7th in Fremantle two months ago, the US Virgin Islander’s campaign is well and truly back on track. US One take home a winner’s cheque for $33,000 from a total prize purse of $200,000.

But there’s scant time for celebration as World Match Racing Tour Newport is just a couple of weeks away, and that’s one that US One will surely want to win on home waters. However, there will be 19 other international teams doing their very best to make sure that doesn’t happen.

 

Overall Results:

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV), US One

2. Iker Martinez (ESP), Team España

3. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Dackhammar Racing

4. Yann Guichard (FRA), Spindrift Racing

5. Mattias Rahm (SWE), Rahm Racing

6. Sally Barkow (USA), Team Magenta 32

7. Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar

8. Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Nautiska Racing

9. Phil Robertson (AUS), Waka Racing

10. Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Flux Team

11. Evan Walker (AUS), KA Match / CYCA

12. Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Trefor Matchracing

13. Chris Steele (AUS), 36 Below Racing

14. Michael Hestbaek (DEN), Team Hydra

15. Sam Gilmour (AUS), Neptune Racing

16. Steven Thomas (AUS), Royal Perth Yacht Club

17. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), Aschenbrenner Racing

18. Hans Wallén (SWE), Wallén Racing

19. Eric Monnin (SUI), Albert Riele Swiss Team

20. Mans Holmberg (SWE), Team Holmberg

 

 

 

Story of a gamble

 

31 mars 2016, Baie de Quiberon, Trimaran Gitana XV Edmond de Rothschild en naviguation d'éssais avec foils. Skipper Sébastien Josse

31 mars 2016, Baie de Quiberon, Trimaran Gitana XV Edmond de Rothschild en naviguation d’éssais avec foils. Skipper Sébastien Josse

 

In late 2013, the members of Gitana Team embark on an adventure that is as thrilling as it is complex: overhauling the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild, a 70-footer initially built to race in crewed configuration on a one-design circuit, in a bid to become the first flying offshore trimaran.

It is an ambitious project. Like Rome, which wasn’t built in a day, the transformations to Gitana XV call for over two years’ research and innovation to satisfy the objectives of the five-arrow team. However, everyone agrees that the interplay is very worthwhile. Just a few days ago, equipped with her new appendages, the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild definitively took flight, racking up some 43 knots on the speedo in 20 knots of breeze and thus validating the efforts of a whole team, supported by the passion and commitment of the boat’s owners, Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild.

There is nothing new about the idea of flying… but the 34th edition of the America’s Cup, which was held in 2013 in San Francisco, revived this quest to such an extent that it has changed the face of contemporary offshore racing, modifying the vision and the ambition of the sailors who shape the milieu. The spectacular images of the AC72s, the winged catamarans created during the last Cup, quickly find an echo within Gitana Team. However, true to the aspirations which guided its creation in 2000, the stable founded by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is keen to gear its sights towards the open ocean. We review the team’s perfectly choreographed ramping up of activities.

 

2014 – the Rhum launch pad

In this way, from late 2013, a series of studies is launched with a view to a participation in the Route du Rhum in the main Ultime multihull category. In a bid to do well and stand a chance of keeping pace with the class’ XXL competitors, which measure between 30 and 40 metres compared with Gitana XV’s 21 metres, all the appendages (rudders and foils) need revising, as does as the sail plan. However, there isn’t much time left and the full jobs list is abandoned in favour of enhancing the boat’s reliability in a manner that is more coherent with the sports programme: T-foil rudders replacing the classic rudders. A new genre of appendage for an oceanic trimaran, they are the result of a close collaboration between the Gitana design office, naval architect Guillaume Verdier, who is as talented as he is modest, and the members of Team New Zealand, Jamie France, Bobby Kleinschmit as well as the Pure Design company. The intended speed gains are considerable. However, as ever, the theory still has to be transferred to the water. Sébastien Josse’s very fine third place in the famous transatlantic race between Saint Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre has a rather positive ring to it for the five-arrow team.

“ The system of lifting surfaces developed by Gitana Team, in collaboration with Guillaume Verdier’s team, has clearly proven itself and the rudders have made it to Guadeloupe intact. This transatlantic has enabled us to validate the system’s reliability in rough weather over the first days of racing, as well as throughout the remainder of our journey. The T-foil rudders create an indisputable turbo effect on the boat on certain points of sail. They are also appealing in terms of safety as we’ve made solid gains in stability, which notably enabled me to go on the attack during the first few days in the big breeze, without feeling that I was putting myself in danger. Gitana Team’s gamble was a daring one given the short amount of time we had for development and making her reliable but the experiment is a success. There is still considerable room for improvement and the next stage of the adventure promises to be thrilling,” Sébastien Josse comments on his arrival in Pointe-à-Pitre on 11 November 2014.

 

2015 – foils on guard

The feedback from the Route du Rhum backed up the theories put forward by the naval architects and reinforced Gitana Team’s choices. For all that, Sébastien Josse and his men are only at the start of their journey. Now free from any sports programme, the Mulit70 Edmond de Rothschild is to become a fantastic test laboratory. With the appendages trialled during the

Route du Rhum proving to be super efficient, it’s time to switch to the second phase of the initial project, namely equipping the trimaran with new foils. Favouring a research approach, it is decided that these appendages must be asymmetric: L to port and C to starboard. This highly informative and promising test phase results in the boat’s debut flights offshore.

 

 

2016 – the realisation

The third and final phase must enable Gitana Team to take the project to another level and live up to the expectations of the original project. To achieve this, the members of the technical team have to make structural modifications to the platform, particularly around the foil casing. These will be the main focus of the winter refit. Meantime, new foils with profiles more geared towards flight are built. On 22 March, Gitana XV puts in her first tacks as the 2016 iteration: the sensations are excellent as are the speeds! With many miles in flight making between 35 and 40 knots, the boat racking up a record 43 knots in 20 knots of breeze and the shared sentiment that they have a lot more to discover… The first part of the gamble has paid off: the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild has just taken flight!

“Theory is one thing, putting it into practice is another. Despite the calibre of the project’s contributors and the ground we’ve covered in terms of digital calculation, nothing replaces miles on the water. Being in a position to benefit from a platform like Gitana XV throughout this period of reflection, followed by the construction of the future Maxi, is an incredible opportunity, which we’ve been able to make full use of.

Dedicated to flight, this second test campaign has proven to be more than positive! The sea trials we’re carrying out right now are just incredible, so much so that I never thought I’d see the day… With our new appendages, we’ve exceeded speeds we hadn’t expected to reach in this configuration, or at least not as quickly! Speed is a very important thing, but on top of that these latest sea trials have also taught us a great deal about how the boat handles, which is clearly very different to our understanding thus far. The boat no longer floats, she flies along on two blades… We’ve passed a very important milestone. We’ve also learned very interesting lessons about what steps to avoid in the future in terms of both our architectural choices and the on-board systems. As such, the design office has a significant amount of data with which to continue its research. The work never stops and the sea state is still something we need to make progress with!” explains Sébastien Josse

However, the incredible sensation of flight on such a machine, as pleasant as it is to be powered up at over 40 knots, is not Gitana Team’s only objective of course. Following the announcement made in May 2015, the five-arrow team also began construction of a maxi-multihull at the Multiplast yard in Vannes, south-west Brittany back in November. This craft, the twelfth in the history of Gitana Team, will reap the full benefit of the trials carried out on the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild from 2014 to 2016. Indeed, Sébastien Josse and his men have been able to build the future on the water rather than solely at a desk.

“Today is massively satisfying and I feel immense pride for the entire team that I manage. The project seemed a bit crazy when we began in late 2013 but once again, within Gitana Team, we benefited from the unfailing support and enthusiasm of the owners of the boat, Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild. When we presented the project to them, they immediately understood the challenges and the appeal of staking out the future and they didn’t hesitate an instant in encouraging us along this pioneering route. We were in a transition phase because we were at the dawn of major technological change. Indeed, the switch from sailing in Archimedean mode to flight mode might be compared to the switch from steam engines to combustion engines. Although the America’s Cup had gone a long way to showing us the direction things were heading in terms of flight in inshore racing, transferring that knowledge to offshore sailing was a whole new ball game as the very philosophy of flight is different. It’s a far cry from simply getting big multihulls to fly around the world as the AC72s did in San Francisco bay… It’s something else entirely, but the expected gains are huge and this is where the future’s at. We’ve passed a milestone and a new adventure is opening up in front of us!” admits Cyril Dardashti, Director of Gitana Team.

 

By Gitana Team

Shared from The Foiling Week blog, www.foilingweek.com

 

 

 

Record three-time win for Canfield

 

Con Cup finals ir

Photos © Ian Roman / WMRT

 

52nd Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club

 

Taylor Canfield and his US One Sailing Team triumphed in the Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), after five days of ‘unbelievable match racing’ – making him the first skipper to win three Crimson Blazers back-to-back, in the 52-year history of the legendary regatta.

The five-day World Championship event had been beleaguered with unseasonable weather: light and shifty breezes, rain, and calms. That PRO Randy Smith and WMRT Racing Director Craig Mitchell were able to pull off the series, was a near miracle. The repechage was terminated; series were shortened to first-to-two.

But the racers were unflappable, and ever favourable about their participation in the Congressional Cup; known as the ‘granddaddy of match racing’ and a gateway to the America’s Cup.

And finally, Long Beach delivered. The steady breeze and sunshine this world-class venue is known for arrived, just in time for the Semi Finals and Finals Sunday.

Canfield beat Semi Finalist Scott Dickson (USA) in three successive matches, racing so close to the spectator-lined pier, that Dickson’s spinnaker grazed it; earning him a penalty he couldn’t shake. At the same time Sehested was duelling Sam Gilmour (AUS) in a breathtaking Semi Final series that went to the full five matches.

The legs were short, to ensure completion of the series; providing few passing lanes, but plenty of excitement. The Congressional Cup had entered a new era of competition, with exhausting, aggressive pre-starts crammed with headsail changes, luffing and tacking duels galore.

Gilmour defeated Dickson, to take third place in the event. “This is probably the best regatta I’ve been to in the world,” Gilmour said, speaking of both the level of competition and hospitality.

In the first of the Finals, Canfield defeated Sehested handily, with a thirty second lead. It looked like the two-time defending champion had the title sewn up. But in the second match, Sehested retaliated, crossing the finish line three seconds ahead of Canfield. And as he rallied strong in the final sudden-death bout, it appeared that Canfield had met his match. Sehested led his rival by mere seconds around the course, then Canfield hit the leeward gate, and was flagged.

“I was definitely a little worried at that point. I made a simple mistake, a stupid error,” Canfield confessed. “But the boys were calm.”

Pressing up the course, he continued, “We had nothing to lose, so we parked it up at the top mark.” They luffed Sehested. “The execution was spot on, and Nicolai made a small mistake,” Canfield said, a penalty that scrubbed Canfield’s.

“At this level. you make an error and your competition takes full advantage of it.” Back in control, Canfield kept Sehested pinned, saying, “I was very confident on that last run, that we were set up to hold them out at the pin end.” US One Sailing Team shut the door on Sehested, took the match, and the Congressional Cup.

Canfield was greeted at the Long Beach Yacht Club by his dad, Bill, and girlfriend Stephanie Roble, 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Wearing an ISV flag like a cape, he looked a bit like a super hero: a super hero drenched in champagne.

He was pleased, he said, not only with this three-peat, but also for logging the seventh Congressional Cup win for St. Thomas Yacht Club. Member Peter Holmberg is a four-time Crimson Blazer winner, in 1998, 1998, 2001, 2002. “We’re closing in on Peter’s record, Canfield added, with a smile. “We’ve got a couple more in us, we’ll be back.”

Carried to the poolside stage by his crew, to don his third Crimson Blazer and hoist the Congressional Cup trophy, he commended his crew. “We lost four races all week… to be at this level, racing against the top teams in the world: that’s the world champion team I have behind me.”

“We had one hand on the trophy,” said a disappointed Sehested. “It’s the closest match racing I’ve done in a long time.”

“But we’ve had a fantastic week, It’s our first Congressional Cup, but definitely not our last. We feel so welcome here.”

He echoed the sentiment of many of the sailors, who had experienced the unrivalled hospitality and pleasure of the annual Long Beach Yacht Club event.

“Every year we come back because of you, great Long Beach people,” said fifth place Phil Robertson (NZL). “We had a ripper.”

The World Match Racing Tour now moves on to Copenhagen, Denmark 9-14 May where the battle will restart for the 2016 World title.

 

Semi Final Results:

Match 1 Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 3 v 2 Sam Gilmour (AUS)

Match 2 Taylor Canfield (ISV) 3 v 0 Scott Dickson (USA)

Petit Final Result:

Sam Gilmour (AUS) 2 v 0 Scott Dickson (USA)

 

Final Result:

Taylor Canfield (ISV) 2 v 1 Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

 

Overall Results:

1. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One

2. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing

3. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing

4. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing

5. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing

6. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing

7. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing

8. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team

9. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team

10. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing

11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32

12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar

 

www.wmrt.com

 

 

Shock exit For World Champion

 

Con Cup D3 ir

Photos © Ian Roman / WMRT

 

52nd Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club

 

 

Six-time Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams, GAC Pindar crashed out of the 2016 Congressional Cup, Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour after finishing 12th and last in Qualifying. Exiting the regatta alongside Williams were Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Keith Swinton (AUS) and Sally Barkow (USA).

Despite three days of rain, light air, shifting breeze, drizzle, gusts, cross currents, and a drenching fog, LBYC PRO Randy Smith and his Race Committee pulled off 66 matches, to complete Qualifying.

The international field of racers willingly obliged, saying, “that’s sailing,” as the weird and wet weather system overtook Southern California.

But there was breeze. Wafting, light, but steady; from the south, but enough to complete the round.

In the end, Phil Robertson (NZL) with 10 points, maintained a solid lead, followed by Chris Steele (NZL), Nicolai Sehested (DEN) and defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) at eight points each: all of whom automatically moved into the Quarter Finals, alongside Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Sam Gilmour (AUS).

Initially repêchage racing was underway in the Congressional Cup Stadium, to determine the final two Quarter Finalists. ‘Repêchage’ is from the French term ‘second chance’ – a round that gives the defeated teams a last-ditch opportunity to qualify for the Quarter Finals.

But as winds dwindled, PRO Smith was concerned that with further disruptive weather forecast, continuation of the repêchage would jeopardise the Quarter Finals and Semi Finals. He and WMRT Racing Director Craig Mitchell decided to terminate the repechage.

That decision abruptly eliminated the bottom four contenders: Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Keith Swinton (AUS), Sally Barkow (USA) and Ian Williams (GBR) – reigning World Champion, who said he looks forward to coming back next year, “and redeeming ourselves.”

 

Robertson & Steele out but Sehested stays strong

 

Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) dispatched Eric Monnin (SUI), and Nicolai Sehested (DEN) eliminated Bjorn Hansen (SWE) one-two-three, in the early matches of the Quarter Finals here today, in Stage Two of the World Match Racing Tour.

But it was a different story for Phil Robertson (NZL) and Chris Steele (NZL) – Kiwi compatriots who were placed number one and two, at the end of the Round Robins yesterday.

Robertson elected to race Sam Gilmour (AUS) – a pairing that presented stunning starts and finishes to the crowds lining the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Robertson won the first match, but Gilmour returned with two wins, before Robertson triumphed in the fourth.

In freshening breeze from the southeast they embarked on a final, sudden death match. Robertson had a clear start and carried a small advantage at the top mark, but the lead changed on the downwind leg, even as Gilmour fouled Robertson at the gate.

Splitting tacks, Gilmour went right, surging ahead to a 25-second lead. Still ahead, but carrying a penalty, the 22-year-old from Fremantle threw in a final penalty turn as Robertson approached the finish line: but too late. Gilmour took match point, eliminating Robertson from the Quarter Finals, saying, “I am ecstatic to make it this far, in some of the most exciting racing I’ve ever done.”

 

Con Cup D3 group ir

 

 

Dickson dives into Semis

 

A similar duel ensued between ‘frenemies’ Steele and Scott Dickson (USA). Steele won the first two matches, but Dickson – who earned his way into the Ficker Cup Presented by Porsche qualifier as Long Beach Yacht Club rep, then advanced to Congressional Cup – evened the score, as the home crowd roared.

In the final match, there was an early penalty on Dickson in the pre-start, but Steele was OCS at the start. Dickson went left, Steele right: a risky move in the shifty breeze, and by the top mark, Dickson’s lead had opened up to a 30 second advantage. The rest was history, as Dickson did his penalty turn and crossed the line a half a boat length ahead of Steele; beating the odds and knocking out eighth-ranked Steele, and booking his place in the Semi Finals.

The first matches of the Semi Finals commenced in the late afternoon on Saturday, but were quickly abandoned as the wind dropped off. PRO Randy Smith announced an early start to the conclusion of Congressional Cup racing on Sunday April 10 with Semi-Finals and Finals in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach.

The public is encouraged to enjoy this world-class yacht racing, with live commentary, seating, refreshment vendors, and free parking.

 

Con Cup D4

 

Results after Qualifying:

1. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 10-1

2. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 8-3

3. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 8-3

4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 8-3

5. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 7-4

6. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing 6-5

7. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team 4-7

8. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing 4-7

9. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 4-7

10. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 3-8

11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 2-9

12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 2-9

 

Quarter Final Results:

Match 1. Sam Gilmour (AUS) 3 v 2 Phil Robertson (NZL)

Match 2. Scott Dickson (USA) 3 v 2 Chris Steele (NZL)

Match 3. Taylor Canfield (ISV) 3 v 0 Eric Monnin (SUI)

Match 4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 3 v 0 Bjorn Hansen (SWE)

 

Semi Final Pairings:

Match 1. Sam Gilmour (AUS) v Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

Match 2. Scott Dickson (USA) v Taylor Canfield (ISV)

 

Follow the action online at www.thecongressionalcup.com; via Twitter @LBYCConCup; facebook.com/CongressionalCup; and Instagram #concup. For more information on WMRT please visit www.wmrt.com.

 

 

Feisty day one as the fur flies

 

 

Con Cup D1 bc

Photo © Betsy Crowfoot

 

 

52nd Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club

 

 

On the opening day of the 52nd Congressional Cup, Stage 2 of the World Match Racing Tour, one-dozen of the world’s top ranked skippers scrapped on the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. And nothing was predictable about the day. Not the wind direction, nor velocity, nor the outcomes.

Johnie Berntsson, primed after three days of racing at the Ficker Cup, chased Keith Swinton’s tail in a masterful pre-start tacking duel that had spectators on their toes, in awe. Berntsson won that dog-eat-dog match, finishing the day 3-2.

Reining World Champion Ian Williams’ bark was seemingly worse than his bite, as he wrapped up 0-5; while Nicolai Sehested, racing in his first Congressional Cup, was the alpha dog of the day: undefeated at 5-0. Waka Racing’s Phil Robertson was nipping at his ankles, at 4-1. Chris Steele finished 4-1 also.

The day began with 6 to 8 knots from the southwest providing classic Long Beach conditions. Four flights of Qualifying were pulled off smartly, until a sudden wind shift that put racers practically on the beach. After a lengthy postponement the wind shifted right again, and built to a stunning 20 plus knots that spread white caps across the bay, and threw green water over the bows of the Catalina 37s.

Despite the rough conditions, Sally Barkow and her all-girl crew accomplished their first and only win of the day, against Ian Williams – proving they have no problem playing with the big dogs.

 

Rain and zephyrs cut short racing on day 2

 

Dismal conditions on the race course forced lengthy postponements, and ultimately curtailed racing, on the second day of Qualifying at the 52nd Congressional Cup regatta.

Despite rain and a light, shifty breeze, PRO Randy Smith was able to sneak in two flights, before winds deteriorated to nothing.

And they were eventful races. Phil Robertson (NZL) tacked on two more wins to his tally, climbing to the top of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile a tenacious Chris Steele (NZL) evened the score between his 36 Below Racing team, and Nicolai Sehested (DEN) in a match that saw boat speeds, at best, top three knots; and damp spinnakers hang limp.

Following the first postponement – with the course reversed from the norm in an attempt to make the best of an uncharacteristic offshore breeze – Sam Gilmour (AUS) beat Johnie Berntsson (SWE); while Ian Williams (GBR) won his first match of the event, over Eric Monnin (SUI).

Sehested, had entered the day undefeated; but “not invincible,” he implored. The 26-year-old Dane, currently fifth on the Tour leaderboard, had triumphed over past winners of the Congressional Cup, World Champion Williams, and Taylor Canfield (ISV).

His 5-0 day was no small feat for someone unfamiliar with the custom Catalina 37s, and Long Beach conditions, but he credited his success to, “a strong team, who knows how to set up the boat well.”

“But sailing at the top level like this, things can go up and down rapidly,” he added. “We don’t feel confident at all.”

On the first leg of his match against Steele, he rounded the first mark eight boat lengths ahead, but in the fallow breeze, that eight boat lengths equated to 42 seconds. And by the time Sehested was on his second lap, that advantage had grown to nearly eight minutes. But as Steele rounded the mark astern, he found a lane with a tickle of breeze. That puff carried him to the finish, as Sehested foundered further offshore.

Steele, Sehested, and Taylor Canfield (ISV) each finished the day 5-1; after Canfield defeated Bjorn Hansen (SWE), saying, “we drifted a little faster than them.”

As the zephyrs waned, and drizzle fell, PRO Smith called time on the races, and sailors retreated to the warmth and comfort of the hosts, Long Beach Yacht Club.

Racing will continue through Sunday April 10, in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, in Long Beach; beginning at roughly 1130 each day.

With unsettled weather ahead, PRO Smith announced that at the conclusion of Qualifying, a modified six-team repechage will be raced. If they are unable to complete more than three flights before the end of the day, the repechage may be eliminated.

 

Results after Qualifying Day 2:

1. Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 6-1

2. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 5-1

3. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 5-1

4. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 5-2

5. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team 4-3

6. Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Nautiska Racing 4-3

7. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Team Flux 4-3

8. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing 3-4

9. Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing 2-4

10. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 1-5

11. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 1-6

12. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 1-6

 

 

Follow the action online at www.thecongressionalcup.com

Twitter @LBYCConCup;

facebook.com/CongressionalCup

 

Could the World Match Race Championship go back to monohulls?

 

May 16, 2015--The 2015 Congressional Cup hosted by the Long Beach Yacht club, is. the 51st year of this event and now part of the 2015/2016 World Match Racing tour BobGrieser/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM Outside Images Photo Agency

Photo credit: Bob Grieser / Outside Images Photo Agency

 

Congressional Cup – Maintaining the Monohull Paradigm

 

The only two World Match Racing Tour events in North America are caught between their historic past and a newly launched Tour format which features the M32 catamaran.

While organizers of the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda have yet to decide if they will abandon the International One Design sloop for the 68th edition in October, the Congressional Cup in Long Beach (CA) is standing firm with their fleet of Catalina 37s, a condition the Tour has accepted… for now.

As the Congressional Cup prepares for its 52nd edition on April 6 – 10, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck checks in with Principal Race Officer Randy Smith for an update.

 

CL: You have some history with the Congressional Cup?

RS: I have been involved since the early 90’s, sailing in the event as a crewmember five times. I served as the PRO for the first time in 2003 and this year will be my seventh time in that role. I also wore the big chair hat in 2006.

 

CL: The Tour’ format has moved to multihulls. Why has the Congressional Cup stayed with the Catalina 37s?

RS: We’ve been affiliated with the tour off and on in the past, and we renewed that partnership in 2015. We love the tour, the people involved, and their mission to provide a professional circuit. However, we also feel we have an important responsibility to the sport, and we are taking the position that everybody – certainly in the United States and perhaps beyond the United States – is looking at what we do, how we run our races, and where we’re going.

In 2016, we have more than a dozen match racing events on our calendar and to our knowledge there is no other club or entity which is that vested in match racing. This ranges from entry-level to pro events, and junior and women’s events, and we have built up the infrastructure – umpires, race committee, boats – to support this schedule.

There is an entire match racing paradigm that needs leadership and the conclusion we’ve come to is there’s such a huge investment in keelboat match racing and training, and not just with us but throughout the country, and it just doesn’t seem very realistic to suddenly say that match racing is now in catamarans. There are junior championships and collegiate nationals, and several highly organized multi-event regional circuits. These roads lead to the Congressional Cup… we can’t just cut that off.

 

CL: The Congressional Cup has long been a vital stepping stone toward the America’s Cup. Now that the America’s Cup is vested in multihulls, where does that leave you?

RS: Bottom line is the America’s Cup is not mainstream sailing anymore. When it was in the IACC boats, there were many, many elite keelboat platforms that were preparing people for the America’s Cup. Plus the knowledge gained at the America’s Cup was widely transferrable back to the sport. But now that the America’s Cup is in catamarans, those channels have changed.

While this shift to catamarans might be awesome, there’s now a really big disconnect. If the Tour comes to us and says “Hey, we want to have a catamaran event in Long Beach at Long Beach Yacht Club”, we’d be all over it and try to make it work but we just don’t see that direction as a significant basis of what match racing is in the sport.
CL: But a catamaran event, if it were to happen, wouldn’t be the Congressional Cup?

RS: As it stands, we are in discussion regarding the possibility of hosting a M32 event in the fall, but it would be completely separate from the Congressional Cup. The Congressional Cup has a myriad of relationships that we are proud of and want to maintain. We are in a partnership with the Women’s Match Racing Association, the Grand Slam Series, Oakcliff, St Francis Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, and others. We have a lot of synergy going with all these other clubs and entities that are all funneling people upwards to sail in Congressional Cup. So if we suddenly said, “Okay we’re out. We’re going to catamaran now”, we would be crushing a bunch of really good partners and friends.

 

CL: You mention disconnect, but that knife cuts both ways. Does the Congressional Cup need to be a stepping stone to a grander stage?

RS: I think there are enough keelboat events around the world, whether they are grade one or grade two events, that if the World Match Racing Tour and America’s Cup stays with catamaran, there’s a very good chance that we could soon be seeing a Keelboat World Match Racing Tour.

Also, one of the huge decisions for World Sailing is whether they continue using the World Match Racing Tour to determine the Match Racing World Champion. With the Tour now using catamarans, and Tour events now including fleet racing in their format, it will be interesting to see if World Sailing decides that the Tour is no longer a good platform for their trophy.

Bottom line is that we’re not running the Congressional Cup to make money or for our egos. We’re trying to put on a really important event in sailing. This is an event that the members of Long Beach Yacht Club are highly active in and extremely proud of.

 

Published on Scuttlebutt April 4th, 2016

 

 

Williams the conqueror

 

 

Freo final ir

Photos © Ian Roman / World Match Racing Tour

 

World Match Racing Tour in Fremantle – Overall

 

 

Reigning World Champion Ian Williams swept aside Hans Wallén 3-0 to win the final of the World Match Racing Tour Fremantle, the opening event of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour season.

Even though the GAC Pindar skipper has won a record six world titles on the Tour in the days of slow keelboats, the level of his domination in high-speed M32 catamarans took even the British skipper by surprise.

Williams was keen to put the praise on his three hard-working crew mates, the engine room of GAC Pindar – Mark Bulkeley, Garth Ellingham and Brad Farrand.

“There’s always a lot of focus on the skipper, but this really is a team sport. It’s pretty obvious which way to point a fast boat like an M32 so my job is relatively easy, it’s what the guys do in front of me that really counts.”

On Monday morning, the wind was gusting unpredictably off Bather’s Beach for the Semi Finals. Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested was expected to give Williams a tough battle having been the class act of the previous day’s high-wind racing. At the start of the first match Sehested was penalised for starting too early by the umpires.

“Actually both Williams and ourselves were over but the message didn’t get through correctly from the race committee to the umpires,” said a frustrated but philosophical Sehested. “We shouldn’t have been penalised but we were and that was the race gone right there.” Sehested appealed the call but to no avail.

The start of match two, and moments after the start Williams’ gennaker unfurled too soon – the result of a bad furl during an aggressive pre-start between the teams. Sehested surged into a seemingly unassailable lead until his gennaker started unfurling on the first beat – again the result of operator error at the leeward gate. Match two, and match point to Williams.

Finally in match three Sehested got his groove on, surging away to a good lead until – disaster – he capsized at the leeward turning mark. “I did a normal turn but I hadn’t noticed that our boards weren’t in their correct position,” said Sehested.

“The leeward one was up and the windward one was down, and the lift from the windward board tipped us in. Frustrating, but that’s sailing. We gave Ian two of those races on a plate. But overall we’re pleased with how we sailed this week. A new team, we’re fast, and we’ll come back strong for the next event.”

So Williams was through to the Final 3-0. There was a good battle on the other side of the Semi Final draw, although Hans Wallén’s experience in the M32 catamaran proved too much for Yann Guichard who lost 3-0 to the Swedish crew.

 

Freo finals ir

 

In the Petit Final, the race for 3rd overall, Guichard beat Sehested 2-1.

For the Final later on in the afternoon, when the breeze had turned to an offshore moderate wind, Williams looked more in control during the pre-start maneuvering and generally got the better of Wallén from early on in each match. The exception was match three when an unforced error by Williams during the pre-start entry resulted in penalty on the British team. However the Swedish advantaged proved short-lived as Williams found a different path down the first run and surged into a lead that he would extend all the way to the finish.

With 20 international teams from all kinds of grand prix sailing backgrounds, it wasn’t meant to be like this. Williams was expected to be there or thereabouts, but not to dominate quite like he did. Going back two days to the start of the match racing phase of the competition, Williams lost his opening match to the young Sam Gilmour, son of Williams’ past nemesis – the legendary Peter Gilmour. But that would prove to be the only loss in 13 matches on the way to the Briton lifting the trophy.

Asked why he had been so dominant, Williams offered this: “If there’s one thing that I think I’ve always been good at throughout my career, something I’ve been very focused on, is looking at ways of improving different parts of what we do, always trying to learn and move things on.” With that in mind, and this being the first time we’ve seen M32s being raced on the World Match Racing Tour, Williams was also asked how his team of day one in Fremantle, just five days ago, would have performed in the Final. “No chance. You can see how much the quality of the sailing and the racing has moved on with each day here. We’re so much better than we were, and of course we’re going to need to keep on improving throughout this year. We can’t afford to stand still.”

 

Freo Wallen ir

 

 

Wallén probably wasn’t expected to make the Final, but the Olympic silver medallist was rightly proud to have done so. “We are happy, only frustrated that we couldn’t give Ian more of a fight. In these moderate conditions and stable wind direction there were very few passing lanes,” said the Swede.

Williams raised the trophy aloft and accepted a winner’s cheque for USD 33,000, his team’s share of a USD 200,000 prize purse. Now the game moves on to three other international venues before the big finale this July, the World Championship Finals in Marstrand, Sweden. The winner’s prize is USD 1million, so the teams will be practicing hard over the next four months to close the gap to the new standard set by Williams this week in sunny, sensational Fremantle.

 

WMRT Fremantle 2016 Results:

1. Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar $US 33,000

2. Hans Wallén (SWE) Walleén Racing $US 23,000

3. Yann Guichard (FRA) Spindrift Racing $US 18,000

4. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing $US 18,000

5. Matt Jerwood (AUS) Redline Racing $US 12,000

6. Murray Jones (AUS) Full Bants Racing $US 12,000

7. Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One $US 12,000

8. Mattias Rahm (SWE) Rahm Racing $US 12,000

9. Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing $US 5,000

10. Evan Walker (AUS) KA Match/ CYCA $US 5,000

11. Steven Thomas (AUS) Royal Perth YC $US 5,000

12. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing $US 5,000

13. Eric Monnin (SUI) Albert Riele Swiss Team $US 5,000

14. Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing $US 5,000

15. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing $US 5,000

16. Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) Dackhammer Racing $US 5,000

17. Sally Barkow (USA) Team Magenta 32 $US 5,000

18. Brett Burvill (AUS) Edge Racing Team NYC $US 5,000

19. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Royal Danish YC $US 5,000

20. Mark Whittington (AUS) South of Perth YC $US 5,000

 

For full leaderboard visit wmrt.com

 

 

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