Ian Williams secures fourth world match racing title


Click to follow
The Independent Online

In a steely fightback that took his opponent by surprise, Britain’s Ian Williams secured a record-equalling fourth world match racing title in Malaysia.

His only serious rival over the eight-event series, Bjorn Hansen of Sweden, had been top scorer in the elimination phase to find the eight to go into the quarter final of the Monsoon Cup.

Hansen had beaten Williams along the way and, as top dog, could choose his quarter-final opponent. He chose Williams knowing the victory would secure the world title and won the first of their races.

But Williams won the next three to knock Hansen out and so have enough points to win the 2012 series whatever happens in the semi-final and final.

Williams, who won his third title when winning the Monsoon Cup last year, said afterwards: “Hansen’s decision to pick us was a brave one and perhaps on reflection not the best decision but statistically he has beaten us many times this year.

“However, the Monsoon Cup is one of Team GAC Pindar’s strong regattas and we usually come through. We are going to enjoy the moment, it’s a big deal to me and the guys.”

Bernard Stamm, the Swiss solo sailor whose two previous attempts to complete the Vendée Globe non-stop singlehanded round the world race have ended in failure is the new leader  as the 13 remaining yachts from the 20 starters cope with the Southern Ocean between South Africa and Australia.

Starting the 28 day he had a 12-miles advantage over François Gabard and just less than 50 over Jean-Pierre Dick

The big loser over the previous 24 hours had been the early leader, Armel le Cléac’h, whose more southerly route meant that he slipped back to allow Britain’s Alex Thomson to take over fourth place, 30 miles to the better of le Cléac’h. Sixth is Mike Golding a further 440 miles behind.