Ainslie and Williams drawn together in Stena Match Cup

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Britain's two top match racers, former double world champion Ian Williams and triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie, meet each other in the same half of the draw at the Stena Match Cup this week.

The Swedish grand prix is one of the highlights of the World Match Race Tour and marks the halfway point of the 2010 series with Williams and his Team GAC Pindar needing to raise their game and overall position if they are to stand a chance of regaining the title wrenched from them last year by New Zealand's Adam Minoprio.

Ainslie, who will have tactician Iain Percy alongside him, will not do all of the match race grand prix and will be back on TP52 duty for Team Origin in Barcelona later this month, be completing obligations in Cowes Week, and training in the Finn singlehander ahead of the Weymouth 2012 sailing venue, which will be hosting, at Skandia Sail for Gold, the world's best in August.

He then has a Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in Dubai in November as that circuit finds new shape within the proposed six-regatta 2011 series for America's Cup challengers. Origin has to register with the defender, the San Francisco-based BMW Oracle, by 31 January and post a US$3m bond.

Williams, who has not always had the happiest of times on what is one of the best natural arena race tracks on the circuit, but has set himself the target of winning five of the round robin races. Ainslie is second up.

As the WMRT crews completed what is very limited training time in the 37-foot yachts, the women's tour was already under way. Britain's best hope for 2012, Lucy Macgregor, with sister Kate joining Annie Lush as crew, was reasonably happy with her 3-1 score on the opening day. But Germany's Silke Hahlbrock from Hamburg held the top spot with four straight wins and Katie Spithill, now Pellew, has three eins and no losses.

Listen: Peter Gilmour assesses his world match race tour:





Comments