An aggressive gamble to deal his closest rival a major blow backfired for Britain’s defending world match racing champion Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar in Bermuda.
Williams had been the top scorer in the round robins of the Argo Group Gold Cup, the fifth of six regattas to decide the 2013 championship, giving a chance to the Southampton man to bag his sixth title. His was the right to choose his quarter final appointment and he picked the man who is his closest rival this year, Taylor Canfield of the US Virgin Islands.
Victory would have given Williams more of a cushion going into the double points scoring Monsoon Cup finale in Malaysia in December. Instead Williams went down 1-3 in the best of five clash, leaving Canfield the opportunity to put himself in pole position and Williams playing catch up.
His position was made more galling as Sir Ben Ainslie’s BART team beat the other man who can rattle Williams’ cage, Bjorn Hansen of Sweden. Ainslie is also using the event to raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, following ‘Bart Simpson’s death in an America’s Cup training accident on San Francisco Bay as part of Sweden’s Artemis Challenge sailing team. Ainslie is joined by Simpson’s Olympic gold and silver medal winning team, Iain Percy, plus Matt Cornwell and Christian Kamp.
They go into the semi-finals knowing the cannot win less than $7,000 to add to the $86,780 raised at a charity auction in Bermuda on Thursday evening.
The other two semi-finalists are Francesco Bruni of Italy and Adam Minoprio of New Zealand.
Taylor Canfield (ISV) beat Ian Williams (GBR) 3-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) beat Phil Robertson (NZL) 3-0
Adam Minoprio (NZL) beat Keith Swinton (AUS) 3-2
Ben Ainslie (GBR) beat Bjorn Hansen (SWE) 3-1