You have to be in it to win it and would-be third time world champion Ian Williams stopped the rot of an opening three-race losing streak with four fight back wins at the Monsoon Cup finale of the World Match Racing Tour in Malaysia.
Williams and his Team GAC Pindar need at least two more from their five remaining round robin encounters with each of their 11 opponents to feel in any way comfortable about securing one of the eight quarter final places. “Six wins should make us 95% sure of going through, but five would leave us 50/50,” said a much happier Williams.
The final race of the day, against Malaysian match racing champion Jeremy Koo, who has yet to trouble the scorer, meant that, after starting the day with a loss, Williams then hammered in four victories but, after the relatively easy task of dispatching Koo, Williams has no gimmes to cash in.
On Friday, New Zealand’s Phil Robertson is followed by Australian Torvar Mirsky, who commented; “Our backs are against the wall.” Up next is his nearest rival over the 2011 season, Italy’s Francesco Bruni – recently named as tactician for the Prada America’s Cup challenge – and finally France’s Mathieu Richard.
The second day started badly for Williams. Given a reprieve when losing his third race against another Kiwi, William Teller, in the dying breeze of the opening day, he lost again to be 0-3. Teller, a 21-year old, went on to become the first to qualify for the quarters, going into the clubhouse 6-2 after losing his final encounter of the day against Denmark’s Jesper Radich.
Perhaps the brief appearance of some sunshine helped to open his score against Denmark’s Jesper Radich and he went on to beat the second Frenchman in the field, Damien Iehl – there are five said to be fighting for the two spots in next year’s series – but he had to fight hard for his third point against Johnie Berntsson of Sweden.
What seemed like a dominant start turned into a game of catch-up made worse because Williams was carrying a penalty. “But we stayed close and put the pressure on that forced a mistake in which he was penalised for a collision – which cancelled both – and we took the lead going into the final leg.
“Now it is business as usual, but the guillotine can drop very quickly. When it happens it all happens fast.” He is just outside the drop one in eighth and there is no room for error with both Mirsky of Australia and Richard breathing down his neck.
MONSOON CUP: Round Robin; Day 2: W Tiller (NZL) 6-2; J Berntsson (SWE) 5-2, P Robertson (NZL) 5-3, F Bruni (ITA) 5-2, B Hansen (SWE) 5-3, J Radich (DEN) 4-3, P Gilour (AUS) 4-4, I Williams (GBR) 4-3, T Mirsky (AUS) 3-4, M Richard (FRA) 3-5, D Iehl (FRA) 2-5, J Koo (MAS) 0-9.