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Hansen hat trick at Stena Match Cup Sweden

Posted on 05 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] The Swedish team has been raising its game constantly throughout the week. After scraping into the Quarter Finals on Thursday having finished Qualifying in lowly seventh, Hansen had an equally tight run through the Quarter Finals beating Team Alpari FX skipper Keith Swinton, only by 3-2.

Even on 1-1 with US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield going into the last races of the Semi-Finals this morning, Hansen claimed two races in a row to gain his berth in the finals.

For today’s racing off the west coast of Sweden’s paradise island of Marstrand, the wind was light and blowing, unusually, from the northeast, the opposite way down the fjord to previous days.

In the Finals, Ian Williams got the first point on the board, following a prolonged dog fight. This involved numerous lead changes with Hansen leading around the top mark, then Williams passing him on the second beat to lead from then on.

In the second race, Williams unsuccessfully attempted to shovel Hansen over the line early, allowing the Swede to get the upper hand on the first beat and to round the top mark ahead. The GAC Pindar crew attempted to roll Hansen during a gybe but fell into a light patch allowing the Swedish team extend away. One all.

In race three, the two boats were close up the first beat with Hansen leading around the top mark, Williams just a few metres behind. A dial-down on the second beat resulted in Williams being penalised for not keeping clear, but despite a valiant effort by the British team on the run, the Swedes were too far ahead. 2-1 – advantage Hansen.

Björn Hansen claims his fourth Stena Match Cup Sweden. Marstrand, 5 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

In race four, Hansen and his tactician Gustav Tempelman provided a masterclass in sailing the Marstrand fjord, gaining by taking the left side of the first beat to lead GAC Pindar into the top mark with a one boat length advantage which Williams and his crew were unable to recover. Game, set and match to Hansen.

Hansen paid tribute to his crew of Phillip Kai Guhle, tactician Gustav Tempelman, Mathias Bredin and Sebastian Wedel: “It is a privilege to sail with these four guys. I am so proud of them.”

With the tricky offshore breeze, tactician Gustav Tempelman stood out as ‘man of the match’. As Hansen said: “Gustav did a fantastic job – he found wind puffs, which we didn’t think existed. Most of the time we agreed, but I trust him 100% and that allowed me to really focus on getting the boat going which was really critical today because it was so puffy and so shifty.”

Hansen profoundly thanked the huge turn-out of Swedish supporters, who had laid out giant flags on ‘Hansen Hill’ on the rocks on the opposite side of the race track from Marstrand where in turn spectators in their thousands were camped this afternoon along the water’s edge and up on the cliffs to watch the Anglo-Swede bout.

“As soon as we do something well we hear the crowd shouting and if we do something not very good, we hear ‘OH NO’ from the crowd,” Hansen recounted. “When we hooked Taylor [Canfield] this morning, you could hear from the crowd that we were overlapped. I didn’t need to have anyone on the bow calling the overlap!”

While Hansen has now won Stena Match Cup Sweden four times (his first was in 2007), he is still three short of Peter Gilmour’s record.
Ian Williams was gracious in defeat, but admitted it was hard to face Hansen particularly in the last two matches when most shifts had gone his way. “You never know whether he was getting it right or whether he was a bit lucky. The last start was a classic – it was the first time all day that going left worked. He looked like he wanted the left, he got it and when we crossed he was clean ahead. Everything seemed to go his way. All credit to him.”

In the Petit-Finals, Taylor Canfield beat Francesco Bruni 2-0 to claim third place.

From here the Alpari World Match Racing Tour moves on to the new event for this season in Sopot, Poland over 31st July until 3rd August.

Björn Hansen claims his fourth Stena Match Cup Sweden. Marstrand, 5 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Overall results of Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour

1 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
2 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
3 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
4 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
5 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
6 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX
7 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork
8 David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
10 Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing
11 Ed Baird (USA) Quantum Racing
12 Magnus Hoimberg (SWE) Team Magnus Holmberg
13Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team
14 Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure

2014 Leaderboard Standings after Stage 2
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 47pts
2 Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 39
3 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 34
4 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 33
5 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 29
6 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 20
= Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 20
= David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 20

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Even semifinals at Stena Match Cup Sweden

Posted on 04 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Stena Match Cup Sweden was two flights into its Semi-Finals stage at the close of play on the penultimate day of racing and in both matches it remains tied on 1-1.

The top four going through to the Semi-Finals were decided earlier today with Italian Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa the sole team to win their Quarter Finals in straight sets, in their case against David Gilmour.

“Every start we were on the right and ahead, apart from the second one where we won the pin, because it was massively biased,” said Bruni. “The guys are on fire. They are driving the boat fast. It is running very smoothly on board. You don’t have to push in situations if you feel that you are fast. It is never easy – it is very shifty, so you are never perfect. It is about limiting the big mistakes.”

GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams, leader at the conclusion of Qualifying yesterday, chose Joachim Aschenbrenner to race in the quarter finals. This was a bold call as the 20 year old Dane’s team was the only one to beat Williams during Qualifying. This remained questionable when Aschenbrenner, claimed the first Quarter Final match against the British four time ISAF World Champion. However the GAC Pindar crew fought back to win the next three.

The match between local hero Bjorn Hansen and Team Alpari FX skipper Keith Swinton, went 3-1 in the Swede’s favour while the one between Mathieu Richard’s Lunajets crew and Taylor Canfield USone went the full distance with Canfield eventually prevailing.

Luna Rossa’s Francesco Bruni battling it out at the Stena Match Cup semis. Marstrand, 4 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

In one pre-start Canfield managed to drive the bow of his boat into the stern quarter of Richards’ boat. “There was no damage done,” explained Canfield. “He already had a penalty in the pre-start so it was a pretty stupid high risk move for me to make. But not doing it we would have been off the line behind and in the conditions we had this morning it would have been tough to catch up. So I made the decision, went for it…and failed.”

For the Semi-Finals, Williams defied expectations and chose Francesco Bruni as his opponent. Given that GAC Pindar and Luna Rossa were the stand-out crews from Qualifying, finishing tied on points, four ahead of their opposition, this seemed like another punchy call from the British skipper.

Two flights into the Semi-Finals, held in a light southerly breeze, blowing across the fjord and extremely shifty as a result, Williams claimed the first race and felt that he should have won the second had it not been for an umpire call he deemed questionable.

Williams came ashore fuming: “He [Bruni] dialled us into the top, we dipped and came up and he went quite wide and tacked onto port. So we tacked on to starboard and had to avoid him and then we got a red flag penalty for that. Even with the penalty, we went from being in control on the right, to being not in control, because he rolled us. So how that ended up as a red flag penalty… I think they were watching a different set of circumstances to me.” However the umpires did see it a different way maintaining that Williams hadn’t completed his tack on to starboard.

In that race they had started behind thanks to a riding turn on their jib sheet, but had managed to catch up with the Italians. “We’d done a good job, so it was doubly frustrating to be penalised like that.” Aside from the umpire call, Williams felt they were sailing well.

Similarly the Taylor Canfield versus Bjorn Hansen Semi-Final bout ended on 1-1 at the close of play.

“We had a really good last race with him where we were leading, got past and were able to get back around him and give him a penalty,” said Canfield, the defending Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion. “I think together as a team we were going really well and we just need to refine those little mistakes we’ve been making throughout the week. But no big changes – we are pretty happy with the team and how we were going.”

Meanwhile Bjorn Hansen’s crew seemed to have breathed a big sigh of relief having made the Quarter Finals and then the Semis and were looking ever stronger and more confident on the water. Hansen’s responsibility has increased but being the sole Swede left in the competition. His supporters have laid out a giant banner on the rocks (now known as ‘Hansen Hill’) on the opposite shore to Marstrand saying ‘Go Bjorn’.

“We had a BBQ with the guys up there yesterday. They help a lot and it is great to have their support and all the other guys on this side. There is nowhere in the world like this for sailing,” said Hansen.

And he is right – there were some dramatic moments today causing gasps from the crowd of spectators and corporate guests, which would applaud whenever a match concluded or something worthy occurred, in a Wimbledon centre court-like way. As Hansen put it: “It is an honour to be Swedish in this race for sure.”

Racing concludes tomorrow with the final rounds of the Semi-Finals followed by the Finals.

Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Semi-Finals Results
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 1-1
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team vs Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 1-1

Quarter-Finals
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 3-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa v David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 3-0
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets v Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 2-3
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX v Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 1-3

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Williams on top in classic gale force Marstrand conditions

Posted on 03 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Stena Match Cup Sweden is known for being one of the few events where, thanks to the boats and venue topography, sailors can race in anger inshore in gale force conditions with spinnakers. Over its 20 years this has provided some of the most action-packed match racing of all time, all visible to the spectators packing Marstrand’s natural sailing stadium.

Today’s racing was a classic example with the winds blowing a solid 25 knots, gusting to gale force. It was a day of shredded, wrapped and trawled spinnakers, collisions, a broach of the normally unbroachable DS37 as well as some at-the-limit match racing.

Qualifying concluded today with Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar winning on an impressive 12 points, but tied with Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa. Both teams dropped just one match: Williams to the 20-year-old Dane Joachim Aschenbrenner, Bruni falling to Williams. They finished four points ahead of third placed Mathieu Richard’s Lunajets and Keith Swinton’s Team Alpari FX.

“It is great to get through in the top spot, but our thoughts are now on the Quarter Finals,” said Williams. “We have got to bring out our A-game.” This afternoon Williams picked to race Joachim Aschenbrenner in tomorrow’s Quarter Finals.

Ian Williams lead the Stena Match Cup qualifiers. Marstrand, 3 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

As to today’s big conditions, Williams said they had just been under control, although they suffered a twisted kite. “It wasn’t crazy, but it puts more emphasis on boat handling, setting the boat up well and getting it balanced. Boat speed differences become more marked in those conditions, so it was good to have a few old hands on board.” The DS37 can withstand being raced in 30 knots mainly due to their having large rudders.

Mathieu Richard made a late charge, winning his last three key matches against Robertson, Hansen and Swinton. The French team had a particularly action-packed match with Hansen: “It was a crazy match which we will remember for a while. We loved it – a dog fight with penalties, big luffs, a big fight, very physical on board and big engagement for everyone. It was very good racing.”

Fighting for their survival at Stena Match Cup Sweden today were the mid-fielders, Bjorn Hansen, David Gilmour, Phil Robertson, Nicolai Sehested. Robertson in particular had a disappointing day losing his last four matches.

Slipping through to the Quarter Finals was David Gilmour, the newbie Tour Card holder causing upset by beating Tour defending champion Taylor Canfield in the final match of the last flight. Proud father, Peter tweeted: “Nice work TG @TeamGilmour any more points is a waste of effort!”

Also through and keeping Swedish interests alive is Bjorn Hansen: “It was a fantastic day for sailing. I really enjoyed it, especially the second race when it really got up to 30 knots in the gusts and you started to get some waves coming in that you could surf on. All the people who came here, even if it was raining, really appreciated what they saw out there.”

Last year Hansen came back from the brink to claim the Stena Match Cup Sweden title, something he hopes to repeat this year.

Sadly the bottom six teams are now out of the competition. This includes the two match racing ‘legends’: Swede Magnus Holmberg and American three time ISAF Match Racing World Champion, Ed Baird, who finally lined up today with the American coming out on top.

Some of the younger sailors are also heading home. Nicolai Sehested and his Trefor Match Racing team will be returning to Denmark. “It has been a great week,” said Sehested. “It is always good fun racing in big wind. Today the game was on.” Sehested had a particular good race against Johnie Berntsson, where after much overtaking, his Swedish opponent ended up a penalty down and with his jib wrapped around the forestay.

Sehested grew up sailing on the DS37 yachts and is very experienced on them. “They are really good boats for racing in strong winds. They have big rudders, you can turn the boats wherever you want and there is no risk of wiping out on the downwind. They have plenty of control and power, so really good for racing in strong wind.”

In last place on two wins (against Ed Baird and Magnus Holmberg) was 26-year-old Swede Viktor Ogeman. “We didn’t do as well as we’d hoped,” he said. “We came here hoping to get into the quarters. We feel we’ve improved from two years ago but we had a lot of close matches and weren’t quite there.”

While the DS37s are difficult broach the young Swedish team managed it on their final downwind leg in their match against Aschenbrenner.

Final Results of Qualifying
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 12-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 12-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 8-5
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 8-5
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 7.5-5
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 7-6
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 6-7
David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 6-7
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 6-7
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 6-7
Ed Baird (USA) Quantum Racing 4-9
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Team Magnus Holmberg 3-10
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 2.5-10
Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure 2-11

Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Quarter-Finals
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar vs Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa v David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets v Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX v Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team

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Luna Rossa on a roll at Stena Match Cup Sweden

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Currently leading the field, both on 10 points, are Ian Williams’ GAC Pindar and Francesco Bruni’s Luna Rossa teams. Already holding a three point margin over Team Alpari FX in third place, the British and Italian teams are definitely through. Equally the bottom four, including the ‘match racing legends’ American Ed Baird and local hero Magnus Holmberg, plus other Swedes Victor Ogeman and Johnie Berntsson, look set to be eliminated when Qualifying at this, the second event in the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, concludes tomorrow.

Racing on the fjord south of Marstrand island was held today in a light westerly breeze and yet more blistering sunshine, bringing spectators and corporate guests out in droves.

Star performer today was Bruni whose victims today included other Tour card holders Phil Robertson, Taylor Canfield and Mathieu Richard.

“It was harder today, in that a couple of times we were behind and we passed,” Bruni commented. This included defending Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion Taylor Canfield, who the Italian team passed after they managed to split from them on the second beat. As to why they are doing so well here, Bruni says he feels comfortable sailing the DS37. “I am really happy with how things are going. I always feel fast around the course. When we are ahead we extend and when we are behind we catch up. That makes you race much more relaxed and you just make less mistakes.”

At present three teams Bjorn Hansen, Mathieu Richard’s Lunajets and David Gilmour are all on five points, holding seventh to ninth positions.

Hansen, the defending champion at Stena Match Cup Sweden, remains the top placed of the four Swedish teams competing and now the only one still capable of making the Quarter Finals.

“We had four really exciting races today but unfortunately we lost three of them,” admitted Hansen. “But the four were more or less the top of the tree, so it was no shame to lose to them. We are now in a position where we must win the rest of our races, so that is tough.” Hansen faces Gilmour, Richard and Bruni tomorrow.

Phil Robertson on day of Stena Match Cup Sweden. Marstrand, 2 July 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Australian David Gilmour, a new Tour Card holder for 2014, has a tough road ahead of him, for at present he is in ninth place, with heavyweight bouts against Bruni, Canfield and Hansen still to sail: “The starts are definitely not one of our strengths at the moment and we aren’t getting around the course that fast. And I am not 100% sure what is going wrong, so it is quite frustrating at the moment.”

This is Gilmour’s first time racing in Marstrand where he is living in the shadow of his father Peter, the ‘grand master’ of this event, who won it no less than seven times over its 20 year history. “I haven’t spoken to him about any of the boat handling side of things or the racing. I probably should,” Gilmour Jnr admitted.

An exciting prospect currently lying in fourth place and likely to make it through to the Quarter Finals is the youngest competitor at Stena Match Cup Sweden, Joachim Aschenbrenner. He today won three more races, losing one to Francesco Bruni. His most exciting was against Swede Johnie Berntsson, when penalties were awarded to both boats in a tense pre-start. During the race there were two lead changes with Aschenbrenner finally managing to rid himself of his penalty and get in front just before the finish.

Considering that the Danish skipper is just 20 years old, he is clearly a talent for the future and a Tour Card holder in waiting.

Having had a better day today, but whose prospect for Stena Match Cup Sweden now seems over was American three time Match Racing World Champion, Ed Baird. After having a poor opening two days, Baird and his all-star crew won their matches against Nicolai Sehested and Johnie Berntsson today.

“It was a nice change from yesterday when we lost all of our matches,” admitted Baird, who last regularly competed on the Tour in 2006, prior to the 32nd America’s Cup in which he helmed the winning boat, Alinghi. “A number of things that have been rough for us: The five of us had never sailed together before in a match race, although we sail bigger boats together. Unfortunately we had another event right before this so we arrived late, which limited our practice time. In the races there were just a lot of little things, we are just off the edge, but it is tons of fun coming here to do it.”

The final four flights are due to get underway at 09.30 tomorrow. The weather is set to add a fresh complex to the event with stronger winds forecast.

Stage 2 Stena Match Cup Sweden, Alpari World Match Racing Tour – Results after Flight 20

Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 10-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 10-1
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 7-3
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 6.5-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 6-4
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 6-5
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 5-5
David Gilmour (ASU) Team Gilmour 5-5
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 5-5
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) Trefor Match Racing 4-7
Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Team Magnus Holmberg 3-8
Ed Baird (USA) Quantum Racing 3-9
Viktor Ogeman (SWE) Team Accure 2-9
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 1.5-9

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Ed Baird Adds More Excitement to Alpari Tour Stage in Sweden

Posted on 18 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] Double America’s Cup winner and three time ISAF Match Racing World Champion – Ed Baird, joins Magnus Holmberg in the line-up for Stena Match Cup Sweden, the second stage of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

The event will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year since it was introduced back in 1994 as an annual regatta in Marstrand. In 2000, the event was one of the founding members of the Swedish Match Tour, which then became the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Since the success of the Tour, the event has been capturing ever larger audiences each year.

This year 14 teams including eight Tour Card Holders will set sail against each other from the 30th July – 5th July in front of thousands of spectators close to shore on the natural sailing amphitheatre that is Marstrand Fijord.

Joachim Aschenbrenner from Denmark and Viktor Ogeman from Sweden have also both secured entries to Stena Match Cup Sweden via the qualifying event, the Volvo Spring Cup that was held last month.

Quantum Racing: Ed Baird (USA) – Skipper, Sean Clarkson (NZL) – Tactician, Tom Burnham (USA) – Pitman, Brett Jones (AUS) – Trimmer, Phil Jameson (NZL) – Bowman. Photo copyright Brandspot / Stena Match Cup Sweden

Johnie Berntsson and his Stena Sailing Team and one of Swedish sailing’s biggest names, Magnus Holmberg have been given wild card invitations to compete in Stena Match Cup Sweden 2014. Now another legendary yachtsman who has made his mark on the event’s history joins Holmberg among the 14 elite teams racing at the regatta.

“It’s a privilege to be included and I’ve always enjoyed racing at Marstrand. The venue is a prefect location for match racing with just enough space for exciting races that are easily watched from the shore”, says Ed Baird who has received the third of four wild cards at the event.

Ed Baird was part of the line-up in the inaugural event at Marstrand in 1994 and has been a frequent guest and competitor in the regatta up until 2005. He has sailed four finals on Marstrand’s sailing stadium but a victory in the event is still missing on his impressive resume.

“We lost to Peter Gilmour in all those finals so I sure hope he won’t be invited this year. Still, it’s such a terrific honour just to get to that stage of any event but to do it in Sweden with so many friends and supporters around is just great”.

Between the two of them, Holmberg and Baird have raced 16 semi-finals, but neither of them have gone all the way to lift the big trophy. Now they will once again be face to face on the starting line in one of the biggest match racing events in the world.

”Magnus is a fantastic opponent and I always enjoy racing against him, he’s very aggressive but also very fair and I respect him for that. But more than that, Magnus has been a big part of making this event what it is and I really appreciate that.”

Magnus Holmberg, who was one of the founders of the event back in 1994, looks forward to racing against Ed Baird – just like old times.

“It’s great that there will be an extra twist when we race each other. Ed is always fast and tactical, he is cool and never gets carried away and you rarely see Ed having a bad day”, says Holmberg.

Ed Baird was a coach for Team New Zealand’s winning America’s Cup team in 1995 and then won sailing’s most sought after trophy as helmsman of Team Alinghi in 2007. Since then he has been competing on the RC44 Championship Tour with which he visited Marstrand last year. The team that will travel with him to Stena Match Cup Sweden comes from the crew he sails with, and recently became World Champion with, in the TP52 class, Tactician Sean Clarkson (NZL), Pitman Tom Burnham (USA), Trimmer Brett Jones (AUS) and Bowman Phil Jameson (NZL). Baird has also entered a handful of match racing events the last couple of years and in 2013 he reached the final of the Congressional Cup in California. Soon he will head for a greatly anticipated return to Stena Match Cup Sweden.

”It’s been a lifetime of preparation in many ways. We hope we can put on a good show this year and if there is any chance to somehow to get to the top of podium, what a magical experience that would be”.

The 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour championship continues with Stage 2 at Stena Match Cup Sweden between 30 June – 5 July. The Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of five special events sanctioned under the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) including America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the PWA World Tour.

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Victory completes a near-perfect week for Williams

Posted on 09 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ALPARI World Match Racing Tour] GAC Pindar dropped just one match on the way to victory over Team Alpari FX in the Final

Ian Williams has won Match Race Germany after beating Keith Swinton in a light-airs, one-race final. The GAC Pindar crew from Great Britain put the Aussies on Team Alpari FX under pressure in the final seconds of the pre-start and, when Swinton ran into the committee boat at start time, the resulting penalty put the Perth skipper on the back foot. The four-time World Champion never relinquished his grip, focusing on squeezing every lost drop of speed out of the Bavaria 40 on a light-wind Lake Constance.

Williams said: “My team on GAC Pindar have sailed really well all week. Our focus was to keep the speed on the boat at all times, as much as possible. We always have a great welcome here, it’s a beautiful place. If you’re sitting around waiting for wind, there aren’t many better places to sit around and wait for wind!” The British team dropped just one match, when they raced Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested during Qualifying. It had been a near-perfect performance by GAC Pindar.

Ian Williams, Gerry Mitchell – Mainsheet, Bill Hardesty – Tactics, Malcolm Parker – Trimmer, Matthew Cornwall – Bowman. Langenargen, 9 June 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / AWMRT

For Swinton, 2nd place represents his best finish in Langenargen, and shows a clear sign that the 28-year-old is overcoming his traditional weakness in the bigger boats on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. “It’s been a really good regatta for Team Alpari FX. We’d love to have taken out the regatta, but 2nd is still a great result. This is the event on the Tour where we thought we’d struggle the most, sailing in the bigger boats is probably not our forte. It’s been a fantastic week.”

Williams and Swinton both made good progress through the Semi-Finals to beat their respective rivals, Mathieu Richard and Phil Robertson, 2-0. In the one-match Petit Final, the French team LunaJets went on to beat the WAKA Racing Kiwis and claim the final spot on the podium. “I’m satisfied with the final result,” said Richard. “We lost to GAC Pindar in the Semi-Finals, but they only lost one match in the whole week, so they have been very strong. Amazing job by Ian Williams and his team. But this is a great start for LunaJets.”

Phil Robertson traditionally does very well in Langenargen, and won here two years ago. So finishing 4th was a little disappointing by his high standards, but the New Zealander was upbeat all the same: “We’ve had a wonderful week once again, we’ve really enjoyed our time. The Lederhosen Party is the main reason we come to Langenargen. It’s one of our favourite parties of the year, and we’ll have to bring the lederhosen back with us next year.”

It was an incredibly challenging week on Lake Constance, with a massive high-pressure weather system called Wolfgang driving temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius, their highest on record for more than 50 years. From a sailing point of view, it meant that wind was in very short supply, and all the sailors paid tribute to the race committee for completing the schedule. For Williams, victory in Germany represents the best possible start to his 2014 campaign. The 37-year-old from Lymington was hurting after narrowly missing out on a record fifth world title at the end of last season in Malaysia. The team that beat him in 2013, Taylor Canfield’s USone, could only manage 7th place this week.

James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour said: “I want to congratulate event organiser Eberhard Magg and his father Rudi, the principal race officer, who together have been enthusiastically and successfully running Match Race Germany for 17 years. We’ve seen 35,000 visitors come through Langenargen over the past few days, and we have witnessed some tense racing in very challenging conditions. Next stop on the Tour is just a few weeks away when we go to one of our favourite venues on the Tour: Marstrand for Stena Match Cup Sweden.”

Team Alpari FX nearly smack into the committee boat as Ricky McGarvie fends off the two boats. Langenargen, 9 June 2014. Photo copyright Ian Roman / AWMRT

Overall results of Stage 1 Match Race Germany, Alpari World Match Racing Tour
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
2 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
4 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
6 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
7 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
8 Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team
9 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
10 Karol Jablonski (POL) Jablonski Sailing Team
11 Carsten Kemmling (GER) SegelReporter
12 Nicolai Sehested (DEN) TRE-For Match Racing

2014 Leaderboard Standings after Stage 1
1 Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 25pts
2 Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 22pts
3 Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 19pts
4 Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 16pts
5 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 14pts
6 David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 12pts
7 Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 10pts
8 Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team 8pts

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Alpari World Match Racing Tour announces first ever event in Holland

Posted on 02 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] The Alpari World Match Racing Tour today announced the addition of the Dutch Match Cup as an official stage of the 2014 world championship tour.

The Dutch event joins the current schedule of six championship events in Germany, Sweden, Poland, Chicago, Bermuda, and Malaysia. Today’s announcement comes just two days before the start of the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour on the shores of Lake Constance at Match Race Germany from 5-9 June.

The Dutch Match Cup will mark the first ever Alpari World Match Racing Tour event to be held in Holland. The event will take place from 24-28 September in Lelystad, the largest municipality in Holland and the capital of the province of Flevoland. The event will offer a prize purse of USD75,000 [adding to the current 2014 Tour prize purse of USD1.4million] and teams will compete in an identical fleet of Maxfun 25 keelboats with four crew per boat.

The racing will take place directly off the harbour wall at Bataviahaven in Lelystad, one of the largest marinas in the Netherlands located on the 700 km2 Markermeer in between North Holland and its larger sibling, the Ijsselmeer. The €7million marina development at Bataviahaven was started in 2002 to host large nautical events including boat shows and regattas. The development also includes residential and commercial space including restaurants, shops and bars.

The sea wall will provide an ideal stadium sailing atmosphere for spectators to watch the world’s top match racing teams go head to head in September. A separate offshore event – the 200miles Solo Race – will also start and finish at Bataviahaven during the Dutch Match Cup which will add to the spectacle around other shore side events.

Today’s launch of the Dutch Match Cup was presented to local media at Lelystad’s City Hall attended by the Deputy Mayor of Lelystad, Jop Fackeldey; CEO of Batavia Sailing Center and Event Promoter of the Dutch Match Cup, Joop van Diest; and James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

“I am very pleased we have been able to add the Dutch Match Cup to the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season,” commented Pleasance. “It is the first ever Tour event in Holland and Bataviahaven is an excellent sailing stadium venue. Together with the City of Lelystad and local partners, the event organisation has worked very hard to ensure the event goes ahead this year and we look forward to coming to Lelystad in September.”

As Deputy Mayor Jop Fackeldey added “The sport of sailing is an integral part of the coastline of Lelystad. Hosting a world class event such as the Dutch Match Cup will attract many visitors to the region and generate a very valuable exposure for the City. In turn, this will contribute greatly to the economic development of the region.”

The Dutch Match Cup will also be televised locally, and a 26 and 47 minute television show from the event will be distributed by IMG Media Worldwide, official partner of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and the world’s largest distributor of sports and entertainment programming. IMG currently distribute all World Tour shows to over 60 broadcasters in 180 countries. The Tour is also the only sailing series to be broadcast in-flight with global airline Emirates in partnership with title sponsor Alpari.

In addition to hosting the Dutch Match Cup, the Batavia Sailing Center also plans to launch an annual match racing series in Holland in partnership with the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and ISAF (International Sailing Federation). The national sailing program will provide a valuable pathway for aspiring Dutch sailors to hone their match racing skills and increase their world ranking. The series will also incorporate a youth development program to attract new sailors to the sport, and to match racing.

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Williams reigns supreme at 1O1O 4G Match Racing International Regatta

Posted on 18 May 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club] The final day of the 1O1O 4G Match Racing International Regatta took place in glorious conditions, with 10 to 14kts of swinging south westerly enticing the Race Officer to set her course in Kowloon Bay for the third day in a row.

The final three flights of the round robin were dispatched without delay, resulting in a top ranking for David Gilmour, with Ian Williams second, Will Tiller, on the same points, in third and Jeremy Koo claiming the last spot in the semi finals ahead of Sam Gilmour.
As the umpires and race management were preparing to start, there was a lull in the breeze, forcing Strompf-Jepsen to relay the course while the competitors were drawing lots for boats.

Fortunately someone ’put another coin in the wind machine’ and the semi-finals got underway in 15kts and a massive tide. . A frisky finish in 19kts saw Ian Williams finish a boat length ahead of William Tiller and David Gilmour finish with a sizeable advantage over Jeremy Koo.
After changing boats, the teams went into their second match, this time, Tiller beating Williams by 5 boat lengths, and Gilmour securing his place in the final with another win over Jeremy Koo.

Ian Williams claims the 1O1O 4G Match Racing International Regatta. Hong Kong, 18 May 2014. Photo copyright Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

The Semi finals featured a ‘best of five’ format, and when Williams beat Tiller in match three, it looked as if it would go all the way, however Williams forced Tiller outside the committee boat during the dial up for rematch four and then proceeded to cover him for the entire race to secure a 3-1 margin and advance to the final.

Just as draws and boats were ready to start the final and petit final, a massive wind shift caused the Race Officer to relocate the entire course form Kowloon Bay to Kellett Island in a bid to capture the new Westerly. It took a couple of tries but, after one abandonment, the finals, pared down to best of three, were able to start.

The first flight resulted in a win for Tiller in the petit final and a win for Williams in the final. In the second flight, Williams and Gilmour both made a good entry, only for Williams to take Gilmour well outside the box in the dial up, with the result that Gilmour was still over at the start. From there, it was a straight-forward sail for Williams to wrap up the final and the title of 1O1O 4G Match Racing International Champion.

At the prizegiving, where silverware was presented by Mr Bruce Lam, Chief Marketing Officer of HKT, Mr Lam said, “We are delighted to have top international skippers to join the 1O1O 4G Match Racing Series in Hong Kong. A big congratulations to the winners who clearly demonstrated their top-notch skills even when facing unpredictable changes – this is an essential quality of a successful leader, the quality that 1O1O possesses for always being able to provide remarkable mobile communications services to our customers.”

Final Results
1st – Ian Williams
2nd – David Gilmour
3rd – William Tiller
4th – Jeremy Koo

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