Sir Ben Ainslie and Ian Williams unbeaten on first day of World Match Racing Tour

 

Bermuda

Defending world champion Ian Williams is sharing the limelight this week with fellow Briton and race-track rival Sir Ben Ainslie. It at least leaves the other 18 teams competing in the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) event to concentrate on the job in hand. 

When the office is the harbour in Hamilton and the cafeteria is the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, going to work is proving a pleasant chore for Ainslie. He is using a wild card invitation to boost fund-raising in memory of an old friend. In the four-man crew is Iain Percy, whose Olympic partner Andrew Simpson died in May.

'Bart' as he was always known, was training with the Swedish challenge for the America's Cup on San Francisco Bay when the 72-foot wing-powered catamaran suffered a spectacular crash. One legacy is the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

The elegant, 1936-designed boats they are now racing could scarcely be a greater contrast to the flying foilers but both Williams and Ainslie insist there is the same intensity, that the pressures are as great for the four-man crews. On the opening day of racing for the two groups of 10, a blustery wind was finding some equipment weaknesses, but not in the British sailing. Both won their four races.

Williams is seeking a fifth world title on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Ainslie, who makes only this single appearance on that tour in 2013, wants to raise the magnificent King Edward VII Gold Cup for a third time.

Williams can just about afford a disappointing result in Bermuda as the 2013 finale is the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia in December, which counts double points. But he would prefer to leave the Atlantic island, on the same line of latitude as Tripoli and Charleston, South Carolina, with his current 17-point lead intact.

“The scoreboard flatters us at the moment,” says Williams, who has also made an appearance, in Cardiff, on the GAC Pindar Extreme 40 and last week was competing in Cascais, Portugal, on an RC44. “Perhaps Ben could help by knocking over one of our main competitors. We have not always had the best of luck here in Bermuda, so maybe it's our turn for the rub of the green.”

A nominee for the world sailor of the year, Williams and his Team GAC Pindar have been sailing well this year but have won only one regatta, in Germany, and failed sometimes to close the deal when ahead.  

Of all the six regattas on the world tour Bermuda is the most elegant, though the biggest crowds gather on the rocky cliffs around the natural arena that is Marstrand, in Sweden. The tour was reduced from eight events to six this year as the harsh economic climate took its toll on the host venues, one in Holland, the other, more surprisingly, at St. Moritz in Switzerland.

WMRT chief executive James Pleasance knows he has the backing of foreign exchange trader Alpari up to and including the 2016 tour. This week Alpari has been up to its eyes and ears in the scramble either for opportunities or safety because of the uncertainty caused by the row on Capitol Hill, and chief market analyst James Hughes says China, which could be added to the match race calendar, is a major influence. 

Pleasance expects to announce the 2014 programme by January and aims to push the tour back up to eight events but knows that the word of grand prix sailing is also waiting to see the future of the America's Cup and any associated tours, plus any moves made by the Extreme Sailing Series, which is run by Britain's Mark Turner through the Swiss-based Third Pole event organisation company.   

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album