Snarl-up costs Ian Williams perfect start to defence of match racing title


Click to follow
The Independent Online

One snarl-up cost reigning world champion Ian Williams a perfect start to the defence of his match racing title in Korea.

Williams and his Team GAC Pindar had almost cruised through the qualifying rounds, beaten arch-rival Peter Gilmour in the quarter finals, and crushed another Australian, Torvar Mirsky, in the semi-final.

In the final, Williams met the man who won in Korea last year, Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen, and immediately took two hits in the best of five final. The first included crashing into the committee boat, being given a penalty, and having to change to an undamaged boat.

But a fight back in the next two races saw everything level and the momentum continued until the start of the final leg of the deciding fifth race.

That was where the comeback ended with a tangle as the spinnaker was hoisted. Hansen sailed round the stricken Williams to win and Williams was left to say: “Obviously we are disappointed not to win after coming so close. We led every race at some time but were unable to close it out when it counted.

“All credit to Bjorn and his team, who kept the pressure on us the whole time. All the same, it is a great start to our defence and we are looking forward to defending our Swedish title in Marstrand next month.”

Williams after just one regatta – the best five results count – is lying third on 28 points behind Hansen and France’s Pierre-Antoine Morvan, both on 31.