Ian Williams leads pack amid tough conditions in the Monsoon Cup


It’s called the Monsoon Cup, not because it is regional, but because it is real. It rains and rains and rains and when it has done that it rains some more. And it blows. Gusts up to 40 knots of northerly wind whipped up the arena in front of the Ri-Yaz Heritage hotel and marina which hosts the finale of the World Match Racing Tour.

But it can switch off in minutes to create a driftathon and there is also a steady stream of debris being carried down by swollen tributaries into the South China Sea. Watch out for whole fallen tress.

Like watching golf in a blizzard, when it was bad it made a mockery of the current fad for ‘stadium sailing’ but, as this regatta counts for points and a half, the Malaysian monsoon will decide the 2011 world champion and competitors care not a jot about a soaking. Anyway, it is warm rain.

Leading the pack into Terengganu was Britain’s Ian Williams and his UK-founded, Swedish via the Middle East-funded, two American, three British-crewed Team GAC Pindar.

Williams has been world champion twice before but he has seen the mighty tumble and was all too aware of the need to navigate with care the round robin, which selects the eight from 12 which go into the knockout quarter finals.

It didn’t start well as he went down first race in filthy conditions to multiple champion and event impresario Peter Gilmour. Neither could see the top rounding mark, not cold the race officer and nor could the umpires but the Australian, who also played a part in bringing next month’s world championships of sailing to his native Perth, then notched up an easy victory against local representative Jeremy Koo.

In theory out of the running himself for another title, he could affect the chances of the current top three, Williams, Italy’s Francesco Bruni, six points behind and just 0.2 of a point ahead of another W. Australian, Torvar Mirsky, skippering Muscat’s The Wave team.

Early afternoon, the rain had stopped, the breeze was below 10 knots and the track favoured going right. It didn’t last and another squall picked up strength during Williams’ pre-start manoeuvring against Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen. Under pressure Williams fouled Hansen, had to take, immediately, a penalty for the advantage he had gained, and it was raced two, lost two.

Not that many people saw it through the deluge, but the problem for Williams is that he is already losing the chance to be top scorer in the round robin, which brings the bonus of an automatic place in the semi-finals instead of having to fight for it in the quarters.

With less than 2,000 miles to run to the finish of the first leg of the Volvo round the world race from Alicante to Cape Town, Spain’s Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez, has hooked into the westerlies and has a 100-mile lead over the second Spanish boat, Camper, skippered by Australian Chris Nicolson but crewed largely by a squad from Team New Zealand. Third, another 200 miles astern, is Franck Cammas of France in Groupama as the other three entries, the dismasted American boat Puma, Abu Dhabi’s dismasted Azzam, and the damaged Sanya of China make their way to the repair sheds in South Africa.

MONSOON CUP: Round robin; Day 1; B Hansen (SWE) 3-0; J Berntsson (SWE) 2-0, W Tiller (NZL) 2-1, P Gilmour (AUS) 2-1; T Mirsky (AUS) 1-0, J Radich (DEN) 1-1, P Robertson (NZL) 1-2; D Iehl (FRA) 0-1; I Williams (GBR) 0-2, M Richard (FRA) 0-2; J Koo (MAS) 0-3.    

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam