Canfield Wins Monsoon Cup - Williams Crowned Alpari World Match Racing
Canfield – skipper of USone, who also won the penultimate Tour event, the Argo Group Gold Cup, said: “This win is the best we have achieved in our careers so far and the guys I’m sailing with, Hayden Goodrick, Mike Rehe, Dan Morris and Rob Dawson did a fantastic job here today. We’re the second US Virgin Islanders to win this after Peter Holmberg in 2006. “I’m not sure we could have done any more this year, we’ve been really pleased with how we’ve performed at the three Tour events we were invited to. This is a great way to finish the season and sets the bar for next year.”
Asked if he hopes for a Tour Card in 2013, he added: “We definitely want a Tour Card and if this doesn’t prove [what we can do] I don’t know what does. Whatever happens, we’ll put in a strong effort next year.”
Reflecting on his defeat, Robertson of WAKA Racing, said: “It was a good event for us, despite feeling like we gave that Final away a little bit. We sailed really, really well and we were getting stronger and stronger every race. I think this season we’ve proved what we can do and even though there is a little bit to improve on, we can challenge at these big events. A podium finish on the Tour is a great achievement.”
It was a thrilling final from start to finish, littered with penalties, with both teams going to-to-toe. In the first race, the main drama came right on the finish line. As Canfield approached the line with Robertson pushing him knowing he still had to offset an earlier penalty, Canfield pulled up to try and hook him. In the process, he picked up another penalty but while this was going on Robertson tried to snatch room at the Committee boat which he wasn’t entitled to do and earned a red flag immediate penalty.
It was frenetic action, with Canfield eventually managing to take both penalties and cross the line first. Robertson managed to pull one back in the second race after successfully pushing Canfield over the line early at the pin end. Canfield made a spirited fightback and forced Robertson to defend tack for tack, gybe for gybe but to no avail. 1-1.
The heat was on in the pre-start of the next match, with both teams keen to take the favoured right. Canfield tried to squeeze Robertson out at the Committee boat but Robertson opted to push his bow through the closing gap between Canfield and the Committee boat. It earned him two penalties, the umpires deciding Robertson could have bailed out of such a move. It was a suicidal move, giving Canfield the lead which he maintained to the end.
A comparatively easy win for Robertson in the next race took this final into an epic sudden death encounter. Both skippers put everything on the line in the pre-start, the control swapping sides time and again. Right at the start Robertson made a critical error by opting to tack and try and dip Canfield who bore away. Aimed straight at Canfield, Robertson was forced to dip further which made him tack back at the Committee boat leaving Canfield to lead off the line and open up a two boat length gap.
Robertson pressed and pressed, trying to give Canfield his dirty air. A final error by Robertson though allowed Canfield to edge a bigger gap and despite a final roll of the dice from Robertson with a split away, Canfield held on to take a scintillating win.
The Petit Final was, perhaps fittingly, contested by joint ISAF Match Racing World Championship record holders Ian Williams and Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing. Williams has been in fine form all season, finishing in the top three in six of the seven Tour events that his GAC Pindar team has competed in.
He continued that form against Gilmour, completing a 2-0 victory to secure third place in the Monsoon Cup. Ian Williams, said: “We came to the Monsoon Cup to win the World Championship and we got that, which is a great. As far as the Monsoon Cup is concerned, it’s match racing and sometimes things don’t go your way. Still, we enjoyed the event and can be happy with our season.” “I feel like we’ve earned it this year, we’ve been consistently at the top and, against this level of competition, that’s a great testimony to how well this team works together.”
An emotional Peter Gilmour, who now bows out of professional match racing, said: “We really had a good time out here. It was another wonderful event.” It’s been a defining season on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and one that looks to have heralded a new generation of world class match racers. As Peter Gilmour bids farewell to the Tour, the likes of Swinton, Canfield and Robertson, who all won events this season, will be back to battle it out at the pinnacle of the sport.
Cup – Final Result: Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone beat Phil Robertson
(NZL) WAKA Racing 3-2
Monsoon Cup – Final Standings:
Taylor Canfield (ISV)
Pulau Duyong, 7 December 2012: Ian Williams won a record-equalling fourth ISAF Match Racing World Championship today after beating his arch rival Bjorn Hansen in the Quarter- Final of the Monsoon Cup, the finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Williams has equalled the record of Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing, who had earlier this week announced his intention to retire after this event. Reflecting on his feat, Williams, said: “It’s incredible to match Peter Gilmour on four world titles… it’s indescribable really. The knees were turned to jelly [in the first race] and it showed in our sailing. The guys did a great job of keeping me calm and re-focused. When we relaxed it was very hard for him to beat us. It’s been a great season – we’ve made six of seven semi-finals in the regattas we’ve competed in.”
Gilmour’s decision to retire gives Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar the opportunity to take the record next season with a fifth Tour title: “He’s [Peter Gilmour] such a legend in the sport and now I really feel we can go on and win some more. We’ll look forward the latter stages here then look at doing it all again in 2013.”
William’s opponent, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team, came through the Qualifying stage in second and chose to face his fierce rival instead of several other, lower ranked options. Hansen held a superior head-to-head record against his British challenger in the knockout stages of the previous seven Tour events in 2012 but may not have accounted for the strength of Williams at the biggest event of the year.
The World Championship defining match started well for the Swede as he recovered from an unforced error in the prestart by making the most of a big left shift in the first upwind. Having cleared his penalty on the second leg, Hansen maintained a six boat length lead to win the first match. The errors continued for Hansen in the second match as he failed to enter the prestart area correctly resulting in a penalty.
That was compounded by a second infringement, when he touched the top mark which forced him to take an immediate penalty turn. Unable to recover in that match, and losing out in the third, left him 2-1 down, with Williams on World Championship point, and seemingly not feeling the pressure of the occasion. Williams led throughout the fourth and final match, although numerous spirited challenges by Hansen kept things close all the way to the finish line.
A last throw of the dice by Hansen saw the Mekonomen Sailing Team split away to the left which had paid dividends for Williams earlier. It looked as though Hansen might have the boat speed to achieve an unlikely comeback, but ultimately Williams closed out the tie to progress to the event Semi Final and take the prestigious Alpari World Match Racing Tour title.
Hansen reflected on the event and his closest ever World Championship campaign, saying: “There’s never been a Swedish crew this close to the title so we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. “We didn’t sail at the top of our skill level, we’re disappointed about that. Ian was best over four matches and I just congratulate their team. “We took the decision to pick Ian and the crew agreed on that. I definitely don’t regret that and we knew if we lost it we’d be out of the Championship race but we wanted to fight for the gold and felt good about it.”
In another twist of fate, David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour managed to edge into the final eight, taking precious wins against Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match Sailing Team and Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team. David Gilmour’s reward was a match-up against top qualifier and father, Peter Gilmour, who dramatically picked his son and went on to knock him out of the competition at the Quarter Final stage.
Peter Gilmour reacted to another exciting day of competition, saying: “It was a bitter sweet victory against David. We practiced together coming into the event and for them to end up in the Quarter Final is an achievement. “If he wasn’t facing us in the Quarter Final, it would’ve been Bjorn or Ian so the idea was to try and engineer getting one of those knocked out as I knew Bjorn would pick Ian. That would allow us to hopefully get us higher up the tour rankings.”
Describing a manoeuvre in the second match prestart, Gilmour Senior suggests that things could have easily not gone as planned in the family battle. Aggressive luffing from the youngster earned him a penalty but also left his father stationary and head-to-wind. With a comprehensive lead, it was Gilmour Junior’s for the taking but a tactical mistake opened the door for his father. Gilmour Senior was not going to miss it and seized the advantage to open up an unassailable lead and with it a second point.
Peter Gilmour said: “At 1-0 up and with us going backwards in the second race they had a real opportunity but their inexperience came in. We got a great puff and mixed with some bad decisions on their part, we’re suddenly back in it.” Commenting on his recent announcement, he joked: “If we win the Monson Cup, I kind of wonder how you go about retiring!”
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing and Taylor Canfield (USVI) USone also progressed to the Monsoon Cup Semi Final after winning their respective Quarter Finals against Pierre-Antoine Morvan (3-1) and Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing (3-1).
Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Final Leaderboard:
Ian Williams (GBR)
GAC Pindar – 130pts
Photo Credit - SubZero
Ventures Sdn. Bhd. (Co.