Two British Ians had a good day at the helm with double Olympic medallist Walker holding the lead just 100 miles from the finish of leg seven of the Volvo round the world race and reigning world champion Williams leading the Korea match race championship as he started his 2012 defence.
Walker was expected to reach Lisbon about midnight after crossing the Atlantic from Miami, but everything was still wide open as the vagaries of dying breezes in the evening left him vulnerable to attack from the chasing five boats.
Williams and his Team GAC Pindar had a six wins, one loss record at the end of the second day and looked set to be the first to secure a quarter final place. The world match race tour is decided by the best results from five regattas with the finale in Malaysia counting double points.
Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi’s Azzam, had a 15-mile lead of France’s Franck Cammas in Groupama and these two had a further 20-mile cushion over the winner of legs five and six, Kenny Read, in Puma.
Most surprising was the continued struggle of what had been the overall race leader Iker Martinez in Spain’s Telefónica, lying last behind the second Spanish entry, Camper, skippered by Australia’s Chris Nicholson, and the Chinese boat, the second time around Sanya, with former race winner Mike Sanderson in charge.