Williams heads into Monsoon with six point lead


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Britain’s Ian Williams goes to the World Match Race Tour showdown in Malaysia next month with a slender lead over Italian rival Francesco Bruni.

He holds a six-point advantage ahead of the Monsoon Cup, which scores points and a half and is often staged, as the name implies, in driving rain.

The two-time former world champion was beaten by New Zealand ’s Phil Robertson in the quarter final of the Bermuda Gold Cup, staged in the venerated International One Designs. Winner in the beautiful Caribbean harbour was Australia ’s Torvar Mirsky by 3-2 over Sweden ’s Johnie Berntsson, who picked up enough penalties to guarantee selection for the England rugby team.

Third place for Bruni, who was the early leader in the 2011 series, left him still playing catch-up and Williams will be able to discard his disappointing Bermuda score in a series which counts only the five best results.

In a trial run for the Volvo Ocean Race boats, the Spanish entry Telefonica took first place as skipper Iker Martinez correctly picked a better weather pattern to the south of Ibiza on the way back to Alicante .

He was followed by Kenny Read of America in Puma and former winner Mike Sanderson in Martinez ’ old boat, now renamed Sanya, which carried the Chinese flag.

The three previous leaders, Ian Walker in Abu Dhabi , Chris Nicholson’s Kiwi team in Camper, and France ’s Franck Cammas in Groupama were left floundering in no wind north of Ibiza .

Showing their paces off La Trinité, north-west France , were three of the new One Design 70-foot trimarans, which, with three still being built, make their race debut in a transatlantic dash next year ahead of themselves staging a round-the-world race with stopovers as well as a European circuit.

In Sardinia, the American TP52 Quantum, skippered by Ed Baird with British Olympian Adrian Stead as tactician, added the class world championship to the Audi MedCup crown won in Barcelona last month.

The Endeavour Championship for class champions was won on the River Crouch by Nick Craig and Toby Lewis.