Tag Archive | "Monsoon Cup"

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Robertson rules Malaysia, Canfield rules the World

Posted on 30 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] After a week of frustratingly light winds, overnight some strong breeze hit Kuala Terengganu, even ripping big advertising hoardings out of their concrete mountings and strewing them across the road. Fortunately the strongest wind had abated by race time this morning, ready for the Semi Finals to begin.

With the wind blowing from the north east, principal race officer Dave Tallis set the start line up just 100 metres away from the sailing centre, the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa, setting up a perfect scenario for the spectators who had come to watch the final four teams do battle. In fact it was so close that in the Semi Final between Ian Williams and Mathieu Richard, the British and French skippers took their battle so close to the pontoons that Richard crashed his boat into the jetty, scarring the starboard side of his Foundation 36 keelboat. Four-time World Champion Williams sailed on to a straightforward 3-1 victory over the GEFCO Match Racing Team.

In the other Semi-Final, all Taylor Canfield had to do was dispatch Phil Robertson, book his place in the final of the Monsoon Cup and the World title would be his, regardless of whether or not he was beaten by Williams. After the way Canfield and USone have sailed this week – dominated every stage of the competition and returning as defending Monsoon Cup champions – most observers expected the US Virgin Islander to sail past the New Zealand team in the Semi Finals.

Taylor Canfield and USone are the new world champions. Kuala Terengganu, 30 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

But Robertson saw things differently. “We’ve got nothing to lose, these guys have the pressure of a World Championship on the shoulders.” The WAKA Racing skipper made the most of his opportunity and outmanoeuvred Canfield at the starts, winning 3-1. In the deciding match, Robertson crossed the line just 15cm, 0.1 seconds, ahead of the US team.

For the first time this week, Canfield’s destiny was out of his hands. His enemy in the Semi Finals would now become his friend as he went up to the Alpari lounge on the top floor of the sailing centre for a grandstand view of the Final. Robertson’s biggest cheerleaders were the team Robertson had just defeated as Canfield’s crew willed the Kiwis to complete the same hatchet job on GAC Pindar that had just been done to them.

Things got off to a promising start in the first match when an aggressive luff by Williams at the leeward gate resulted in a penalty against GAC Pindar. Williams led Robertson down the final run but flapped his spinnaker and oversheeted the mainsail in a bid to slow down the contest and wrong-foot the Kiwis into a penalty before the finish. But Robertson refused to be suckered and snuck past Williams for the win.

In match two, Williams won the favoured right-hand side of the start and headed out to the paying side. But Robertson sensed something good might yet come from the shore side on the left and gambled on a big split. When they came back together near the windward mark, Robertson had made ground and went to bear away behind Williams’ transom as GAC Pindar went into a dial-down. In the ensuing luffing match, the penalty went against Williams again, and Robertson held on for another win. Match point to the Kiwis.

In the third match, Robertson secured a penalty against Williams in the pre-start and although the British led around the three-lap course, the gap was never big enough to shake off the penalty. Again Williams resorted to the big slow-down, but again Robertson avoided the trap and won the race – and the Monsoon Cup.

A superb Phil Robertson wins the 2013 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 30 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Kiwi celebrations on the water were more than matched by USone’s celebrations in the Alpari lounge. When Robertson came ashore, it was USone who raised the Kiwi skipper aloft on their shoulders, grateful that he could finish the job for them. In his first full year on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the 24-year-old Canfield won at his first attempt. “It was our first year on the Tour, and we came in all fists swinging, hoping to put up a fight, and we did! Thanks go to my amazing team, they’re the real force here. Hopefully we’ll have many more years on the Tour.”

Winning the Monsoon Cup lifted Phil Robertson to third overall in the Tour behind Canfield and Williams. “We’re stoked,” said the 26-year-old. “It’s been a real long time time coming. The boys put in a massive effort in the bigger breeze, and everything went our way today. That’s what you need to happen in finals when the pressure’s on.”

Williams was clearly hurting from his defeat, missing out on an opportunity to win a record fifth world title. “The penalties killed us today. We normally try sail to keep the umpires out of it completely, but we didn’t manage to do that. In the heat of the moment we thought they [the penalty calls] were all wrong. One or two I would maybe still dispute – but we weren’t really getting it right today. This is the first time we have come with a real shot at winning and not closed it out. Disappointing not to do so, but credit to these guys. The Tour has never been decided in the Finals of the final event before, and I think it shows how tight the Tour is. We need to look at ourselves. The previous two years we’ve won in the Quarter Finals, this year we had to win the Finals, but these guys have caught us up. This shows we’re going to have to step up our game to win it again.”

It has been a phenomenal 12 months for Canfield, who has struck up a winning partnership with New Zealand tactician Rod Dawson. “We share the same birthday, 5 February, except Rod’s 20 years older,” said Canfield. “And this is Rod’s fourth world title, same as Williams.” Dawson won a hat trick with Peter Gilmour in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Next year Dawson will go into battle against Williams to see who can become the first sailor to win five match racing world titles.

Today was a big payday for the top teams, with Phil Robertson winning US$100,000 for his Monsoon Cup victory plus a Tour bonus of $70,000 for his 3rd overall. Williams won $65,000 as runner-up in Malaysia, plus $80,000 as runner-up in the Tour. Canfield won $48,000 for 3rd at the Monsoon Cup and a $100,000 Tour victory bonus.

James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour commented: “We couldn’t have seen a better finish to the Tour than what we witnessed today at the Monsoon Cup. There was so much at stake today, and although it was a pity for Ian Williams that he couldn’t take out his fifth world title, it’s been a great day for the new generation of match racers with Phil winning the Monsoon Cup and Taylor winning the Tour at his first attempt. We have seen six different winners from six events this year. It bodes well for a great season in 2014.”

A superb Phil Robertson wins the 2013 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 30 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Final Results for the Monsoon Cup 2013
1st Place – Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
2nd Place – Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
3rd Place – Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
4th Place – Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team
5th Place – Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team
6th Place – Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX
7th Place – Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
8th Place – Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
9th Place – Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team
10th Place – Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team
11th Place – David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
12th Place – Jeremy Koo (MAS) Team KFC – MYA/KRT

Alpari World Match Racing Tour Results 2013
1st Place – Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
2nd Place – Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
3rd Place – Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
4th Place – Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team
5th Place – Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX
6th Place – Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
7th Place – Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team
8th Place – Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team

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Only Williams stands in the way of Canfield’s first World Match Racing Title

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Ian Williams bounced off the ropes to keep his hopes of a fifth world title alive after scraping through a tense Quarter-Final in the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia today.

Meanwhile, in the bigger battle to decide the 2013 winner of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the 24-year-old Taylor Canfield is beginning to look like a World Champion in waiting after coming through his Quarter-Final 2-0 against Keith Swinton.

Only Williams remains in the way of Canfield’s first world title, although the US Virgin Islander must have been wondering if he could win the world championship a day earlier as he watched the final Quarter-Final match between Williams and Francesco Bruni play out. The Luna Rossa skipper had the GAC Pindar skipper on the ropes in the pre-start, as Williams acknowledged afterwards: “We made a mistake in our timing in the pre-start. We were in big trouble up until 20 seconds to go. At that moment you wriggle as hard as you can and hope something works for you. He wriggled free in the previous race, and this time we managed to wriggle free. Normally we like to control a situation more than that, but of course we’ll take it however it comes. We got the penalty on Francesco, and we’re very relieved to get into the Semi-Final – still alive.”

Only Ian Williams can stop Taylor Canfield from becoming the new World Match Racing Champion. Kuala Terengganu, 29 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

The monsoon conditions in Kuala Terengganu played havoc with the schedule, with principal race officer David Tallis forced to cut the Quarter-Finals down from a ‘first to three points’ to a ‘first to two points’ contest for the eight teams. But no matter how unpredictable the weather or the schedule, Taylor Canfield continues to impress. He made his 2-0 victory over Keith Swinton look easy, although the US Virgin Islander is being careful to remain confident without being cocky or taking anything for granted. “We just managed to get the better of the current and the situations on the race course,” he said. And although he might have become world champion today if Bruni had dispatched Williams, he carries the pressure of the situation well. “We’re ready to race to the end and we’re confident in the way the team is sailing.”

While 24-year-old Canfield is on the verge of winning his first world title, for the veteran Bjorn Hansen, aged 46, he will have to wait another year. The eWork Sailing Team shook hands the moment they crossed the finish of their final dramatic match against Mathieu Richard, but their dejection was plain to see. Utter devastation. “Looking at it in the moment, you feel like you never want to come here again,” smiled the Swede philosophically. “But give us a few hours and I think we will regroup and work out how the old guys are going to take the title once and for all.”

Richard and his GEFCO Match Racing Team have been quietly improving all regatta, although there were no words of praise from their coach, former world champion and America’s Cup legend, Bertrand Pacé. “When we finished, Bertrand said we had to discuss the starts because they’re not very good!”

The other semi-finalist is another steady improver, Phil Robertson, who dispatched fellow Kiwi Adam Minoprio 2-0 in their Quarter-Finals. The WAKA Racing skipper was feeling bullish about his prospects, even if he has been picked by Canfield for the Semi-Finals. “Taylor and Ian have a World Championships to lose and we have nothing to lose, so we’re relaxed about tomorrow. We’re chilled out. One more day to go and we’ll throw everything at it.”

The concluding day of the Monsoon Cup will see the Semi-Finals determine which of these four teams, Canfield v Robertson and Williams v Richard, will race it out for the Finals tomorrow afternoon in Kuala Terengganu. The Finals will be televised live around the world via 18 broadcasters at 1500 to 1700 hours local time (GMT +8).

Quarter Final Results
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone – 2-0
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 2-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team – 2-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 0-2

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Taylor Canfield wins qualifying stage at Monsoon Cup

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] It wasn’t a perfect day for the talented 24-year-old from the US Virgin Islands however, as he lost a critical match to arch rival Ian Williams. The four-time World Champion from Great Britain managed to win a penalty against Canfield’s USone team in a luffing match on the first beat of their race, and the GAC Pindar crew went on to secure victory in the light and fluky conditions.

If Williams could go on to win his remaining matches, he would topple Canfield from the top of the Qualifying leaderboard and get first pick of his opponent in the Knockout Rounds. But then the defending World Champion fell to Bjorn Hansen, and the opportunity was lost. Canfield was confirmed as winner of Qualifying, even with two of the 17 flights still to be completed tomorrow.

Through the tropical downpours, wildly shifting wind direction and ever-changing currents, the race committee, led by PRO David Tallis, have been tested to their limits, as have the sailors. Canfield’s consistency in such unpredictable conditions has been impressive. “We’re pleased to be the top boat out of Qualifying,” he said, “and pleased to get the pick going into the Quarter Finals. But I think anyone that we do pick is going to be a tough match. The guys have been sailing the boat incredibly so far this week and I’m confident that we can pretty much take anyone at this point.”

Taylor Canfield finishes the Monsoon Cup round robin at the top. Kuala Terengganu, 28 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Beyond the Monsoon Cup, the top performing teams have their eye on the bigger prize, becoming champion of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Topping the series leaderboard, Canfield knows he has a target on his back and that he’s dodged a potential bullet by winning Qualifying. “There’s a bit of pressure off, knowing that most likely some of the other guys would pick us in the Quarters if they had won Qualifying. This takes some pressure off knowing that we can race whoever we want – and hopefully we can take ’em down.”

Williams was ruing a missed opportunity after losing to Hansen, although he still sits second on the leaderboard with scores of 7 wins, 3 losses, and one match remaining against Pierre-Antoine Morvan. “Taylor winning Qualifying gives him the pick, which I guess is a pity for us, because our fate is not in our hands now. If Taylor doesn’t pick us and wins his Quarter and Semi-Final, he’ll be the world champion. But he’s still got to win those, and it’s tough here, with a lot of good competitors. We’re in the quarters, and we’ll keep fighting to the end.”

In beating Williams, Bjorn Hansen gave Canfield victory in Qualifying, but the Swedish skipper had no regrets. “We needed that point to proceed to the Quarter Finals,” said the eWork Sailing Team boss. “We never thought about anything other than winning our match against Williams, and we’re very happy with that race. We’re more critical of ourselves that we didn’t beat Taylor after being one penalty up on him. If we had won that race, we would have looked very good for winning Qualifying.”

The teams in the middle of the pack are in a mad scramble for one of the last spots in the top 8. Even fourth-placed Adam Minoprio and Team Alpari FX aren’t fully clear of the melée, although the New Zealand skipper was happy to have come back from a slow start to the regatta. “There’s a whole load of teams tied on 5 points, with the pressure on Keith Swinton and Pierre-Antoine Morvan.”

Francesco Bruni is also under some pressure after struggling with his starts today. “We are one of many teams on five points,” said the Luna Rossa skipper. “It’s not tragic because we have one race left against Mathieu Richard. If we win, we are in, and if we lose, we have a slim chance. I wish we had done a better job overall, but we have seen this situation many times before. I just have to find my rhythm at the start, that has been our problem so far, I just need to find the feeling with the boat.”

Björn Hansen defeats Ian Williams and deprives him from the opportunity to lead the Monsoon Cup round robin. Kuala Terengganu, 28 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Someone needs to break the rhythm on Canfield’s boat, as USone are looking very sure-footed in very unstable conditions. Kiwi tactician Rod Dawson says the move through to the knockout rounds won’t affect their approach. “We won’t change our style of sailing, we’ve got a winning formula, we’re sailing confidently. We’re not going to change what we’re doing.” And although they lost to Williams today, Dawson remains unfazed by the four-time champion. “We’re confident against Ian, we’ve got no worries in that area, we smacked him in the last regatta when he picked us in the knockouts.”

Tomorrow the final two flights of Qualifying will conclude before the top eight go through to compete in the Quarter-Finals.

Qualifying Results after 15 flights

Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone – 9-2
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 7-3
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team – 6-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team – 6-4
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 6-4
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX – 5-5
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa – 5-5
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 5-5
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 5-5
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team – 4-7
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour – 2-8
Jeremy Koo (MAS) Team KFC – MYA/KRT – 0-9

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Monsoon Cup: Williams makes sense of the madness to draw level with Canfield

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Through wildly unpredictable and fickle conditions, the reigning World Champion from Great Britain steered the GAC Pindar team to a scoreline of 5-1 in the Qualifying phase of the concluding event of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. This puts Williams neck and neck with the defending Monsoon Cup champion from the US Virgin Islands.

The tricky conditions were some of the most confusing the 12 professional teams had ever encountered. Ian Williams commented: “It’s amazing, I think we’ve been here eight times now, and we’ve never had the same conditions. It’s really exciting racing, no lead was ever safe today. We had so many lead changes, and I think in only two of our six matches the lead stayed the same throughout the race.”

Asked the secret to such consistent success in such wildly inconsistent conditions, Williams said: “Having Bill Hardesty calling tactics! We managed to stay fast today, and then you just hope that you’re going fast up the right side of the course.

Ian Williams is now tied with Taylor Canfield at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Taylor Canfield is another skipper who has managing to make sense of the conditions without really knowing why. So far the US Virgin Islander has a perfect record in Malaysia, having sailed away with the Monsoon Cup on his very first visit last year. He’s showing all the signs of being able to repeat that feat, bouncing back from some close matches to scrape some valuable wins today. “No match is easy, all the guys that are here, deserve to be here,” said the USone skipper, whose luck ran out against him in the match against Frenchman Mathieu Richard. “We got a little bit too aggressive in the pre-start against Richard, and it hurt after that. The guys are doing a good job but I’m still working on my pre-starts. They’ll get better as the regatta goes on, hopefully.”

Even Canfield admits the conditions are very, very difficult to read. “There’s no consistency, it’s all up in the air. There are certain breeze directions in Kuala Terengganu where it will become a one-sided race course – but we haven’t seen that yet. It’s kind of all over the place. Really puffy, shifty, a lot of current. The priorities change all the time – trying to figure out where the current relief is, whether that’s going to be more important than getting to good breeze. Sometimes you can’t see the breeze on the water which isn’t always easy. It’s making the best of what you have.”

Francesco Bruni is racing here on a wild card invitation with Luna Rossa. The America’s Cup sailor sits on 4-2 scores. On being asked about his loss to Williams the Italian said: “In the Monsoon Cup you need to look for the split, that’s your chance. Ian went left, so we have to go right. That’s your best hope when you are behind. It’s very tricky here. This is probably the least predictable [of all the Tour venues], and the water is not super clear so the wind doesn’t mark the water, which is another reason why it’s double tricky.”

Ian Williams is now tied with Taylor Canfield at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins. Kuala Terengganu, 27 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Bjorn Hansen and the Ework Sailing Team also did well, ending up tied with a number of other teams on a 4-2 scoreline. The Swedish skipper is very aware of Canfield’s grip on the overall Tour title for 2013, but is waiting to see how the chips fall in Malaysia. “Taylor is sailing well, but we have seen he can have bad regattas too. He was 11th in Sweden, and we know we have to perform at our best to be able to go all the way. It’s good just to focus on winning the regatta and then see what Taylor has managed to do at the end of this week.”

Phil Robertson remains upbeat despite being on a 3-3 score at the halfway stage of Qualifying. “We’ve had a really good day,” said the WAKA Racing skipper. “It’s awfully hard and very shifty, light and puffy. We sailed really well yesterday, even though we lost two and won one. We came off the water thinking we had had a really good day. It just didn’t show on the score card. All we can do is sail as best as we can and get more points on the board.”

Adam Minoprio’s Movember moustache was drooping after a frustrating day for the other Kiwi team here, Team Alpari FX. “Pretty annoyed really. Today against Keith Swinton we had good solid consistent breeze for once, and we smashed him at the start and all around the race course. But in the trickier conditions the win eluded us. We were getting good starts, but in one heat we ran into bad gas from another race – and two tacks in two knots of breeze kills you. Those things happen in yacht racing, but it seems that yesterday and today things haven’t gone our way. Hopefully we’ve started some momentum but then as soon as we do, we have to come off the water again. It’s just the way it is, we have to rise above it. If we can’t, then we don’t deserve to win.”

So far 9 of 17 flights of Qualifying have been completed. Tomorrow the aim is to conclude Qualifying, after which the top eight teams will move forward to the Quarter-Finals. The wind is expected to be more reliable than we saw today.

Qualifying Results after 9 flights
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone – 5-1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 5-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa – 4-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team – 4-2
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 4-2
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 3-3
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team – 3-3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team – 2-4
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX – 2-4
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour – 2-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 2-4
Jeremy Koo (MAS) Team KFC – MYA/KRT – 0-6

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Morvan and Canfield keep a clean sheet at Monsoon Cup while Kiwis suffer

Posted on 26 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] Pierre-Antoine Morvan’s Vannes Agglo Sailing Team haven’t had such an impressive season on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, but matched Canfield’s hat trick with three wins of their own.

The final match of the day for Morvan produced some nailbiting moments as the French looked to have conceded an easy win over Phil Robertson when they dipped too early for the finish line. As the French spinnaker collapsed, the Kiwis on WAKA Racing came tantalising close to snatching victory from Morvan. But the French held on.

Canfield’s most important win came in his first match against the other Kiwi skipper at the event, Adam Minoprio and Team Alpari FX. Minoprio and Robertson will both be disappointed to have come away with just one win from their three matches today, although even that is preferable to zero victories for Team Gilmour from Australia and local sailor Jeremy Koo. The young Australian team suffered a major setback with skipper David Gilmour taken ill earlier today and laid up in hospital, leaving bowman Pete Nicholas to move to the back and steer the boat. The stand-in skipper had his moments, leading two matches, but was unable to maintain those leads to the finish.

Pierre-Antoine Morvan is tied at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins, undefeated. Kuala Ternegganu, 26 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

The Malaysian team will be kicking themselves for getting the better of America’s Cup team Luna Rossa at the start, but failing to keep Francesco Bruni’s boat behind them. “An interesting race against the Malaysians,” said Bruni to the TV camera, having just berated his crew for a time-on-distance error that put them on the back foot. “We did a mistake on the start, we went into No Man’s Land in the middle of the line with no speed, a very bad start and two lengths behind at the first cross. But we kept it close and at the first opportunity we had downwind, we took it and rolled past them.”

As former match racing world champion and Tour TV commentator Simon Shaw observed: “Jeremy Koo is getting closer in performance to the regular teams on the Tour, closer than previous years. It’s a sign of what the Monsoon Cup is doing to raise the game of match racing in Malaysia and the wider sport of sailing in the country.”

As a sign of just how seriously Malaysia is taking this event and the sport of sailing generally, the opening ceremony of the Monsoon Cup attracted royalty and national politicians. Representing the Sultan of Terengganu was his brother, YAM Tengku Sri Temenggong Raja Dato’ Seri Tengku Baharuddin Ibni Al Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al Muktafi Billah Shah, who officially opened the Monsoon Cup and welcomed the 12 teams from around the world. Also in attendance was the Minister for Youth and Sport, YB En Khairy Jamaluddin, who later took part in the ProAm racing and won the series of three short fleet races, crewed by reigning World Champion Ian Williams. The four-time Tour winner didn’t get to match race today, but Williams used the three fleet races to get a gauge on the tricky currents and wind shifts on the race area, known as Pulau Duyong.

Williams never misses a chance to get one up on his opposition. During a skippers’ briefing early this morning, with the teams discussing a windward mark rounding scenario with the umpires, Williams commented: “Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. We are quite often the one leading into the top mark, so we like to have that protection, whereas Taylor and Adam may be following – particularly against us – so they want more opportunity to pass.”

Taylor Canfield is tied at the top of the Monsoon Cup round robins, undefeated. Kuala Ternegganu, 26 November 2013. Photo copyright OnEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

On hearing this observation of his alleged tendency to be in the trailing position, Minoprio countered: “I don’t know where that information comes from, probably just a biased opinion from Ian,” he correctly surmised. “In reality who knows who leads more around the top mark? Some years it’s been me, some year’s it’s been Ian.” Today Minoprio found himself in the trailing position more than he would have liked, although it’s early days. And while some of the leading lights like Williams have yet to race, the mind games have certainly begun.

Qualifying Results after 3 flights
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team – 3-0
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone – 3-0
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team – 2-1
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa – 2-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 1-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX – 1-2
Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team – 0-0
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar – 0-0
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team – 0-0
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing – 0-0
Jeremy Koo (MAS) Team KFC – MYA/KRT – 0-3
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour – 0-3

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Taylor Canfield Happy To Be The Hunted

Posted on 25 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] The Monsoon Cup is the sixth and final regatta in the Alpari World Match Race Tour, and there are six teams still with a chance of claiming the title of World Champion 2013. From being the hunter, Canfield is now the hunted, although he claims not to be feeling the pressure. “It won’t change much how we approach the racing,” he said. “We’ll go in with an open mind, take it one race at a time and if we sail to the best of our ability we’ll open some doors.”

While Phil Robertson has an outside chance of winning the Tour, Canfield sees his other four rivals as the bigger threat: Ian Williams, Bjorn Hansen, Adam Minoprio and Keith Swinton. Williams was recently nominated for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, the British skipper of GAC Pindar having won his fourth match racing world title at last year’s Monsoon Cup. This year he has the chance to win an unprecedented fifth title, making him one of the most successful match racers ever.

Williams predicts he’s going to have to sail better than ever to secure his fifth Tour title. “With so many teams in with a chance of winning the Tour this year, we’ll probably have to win the regatta or at least get to the Final,” he said. “In past years we’ve only had to make the Semis or the Quarters to win the World Championship. People will have to progress further this year to win the overall title.”

Taylor Canfield training on the eve of the Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 25 November 2013. Photo copyright onEdition / Alpari World Match Racing Tour

There is a subtle strategy to be played in Pulau Duyong, the course area in Terengganu, although Williams is feeling good about being neither quite the hunter or the hunted, but somewhere between the two. “We’re in a great spot. If we win the regatta, unless Taylor is in the Final with us, we win the Tour. But it’s very unlikely we would both make the Final. We’re in a nice spot whereas the other guys just behind us – Adam Minoprio and Bjorn Hansen – need to pick Taylor in the Quarters, because if he makes the Semis and comes third, even if they win, they don’t win the Tour. I suspect they’re thinking they might well pick him [if they get the chance]. He’s probably thinking that he wants to beat them in Qualifying so they can’t pick him. We’re in a situation where we’re a little bit free of that; if we just qualify and progress, we’re in with a good shot.”

Complicated stuff and, as Williams admits: “You don’t want to fill your brain up too much with that stuff. It’s more important to be thinking which way to go up the beat – which is hard to figure out here. In previous years where there has been a lot of rain upstream there is a lot of current here, whereas today there isn’t much current compared with other years because the Monsoon hasn’t really started yet. In the past it’s been about the current, one way or another, because where we are is the meeting point of two rivers just before they go into the sea, so you can go to the right or the left. So far this year it’s been about trying to read the breeze, and get to the pressure and get the boat moving.”

Williams has been getting his eye in with the Foundation 36 keelboats with some training against Wild Card invitee Francesco Bruni and the Luna Rossa team who won the previous Tour event a month ago in Bermuda, when the Italians edged out Ben Ainslie at the Argo Group Gold Cup.

Along with Williams and Canfield, Adam Minoprio is the only other skipper to have won a Monsoon Cup before, although the Kiwi has to go back to 2009 for that victory. “Provided it’s not a drift-off, we’ll be strong here. The biggest trick is the breeze which can be difficult to read on the water. When things don’t go your way, you can get hammered.”

Tough the conditions may be, but the 12 teams won’t be lacking in motivation, The Monsoon Cup offers the highest prize purse on the Tour, MYR 1.475million (approx USD 475,000), with the winner set to earn MYR 310,000 (approx USD100,000).

Among the Qualifiers for this event is Malaysia’s top match racer Jeremy Koo, one of the country’s rising stars in a sport that Malaysia is really starting to embrace. Taking place at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa, the five-day Monsoon Cup represents the pinnacle of a year-round drive by the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports to get the nation’s youth into sailing.

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Monsoon Cup 2013 Preview – Can Taylor Canfield hang on to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour lead?

Posted on 23 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Monsoon Cup] Taylor Canfield (ISV) and his USone team currently lead the Tour rankings into the last event with a 10 point lead over defending Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR) and his GAC Pindar team. Williams made a brave move at the penultimate Tour Stage in Bermuda choosing to race Canfield in the Quarter Final to mitigate the USone teams’ championship advantage going into the last event. However, it was not to be and Canfield beat Williams to finish 3rd in Bermuda and now tops the Alpari Tour leaderboard with 92 points, 10 points ahead of Williams.’

Although Williams has Francesco Bruni (ITA) of America’s Cup team Luna Rossa to thank for limiting the damage in Bermuda, Williams is now in a familiar place having been second on the leader board at this point last year, and he knows the Quarter Finals in Malaysia will be key. If Canfield makes it to the Semi Finals, but not the Finals next week, then Williams will have to win the event to claim a record breaking fifth Alpari World Match Racing Tour and ISAF World Championship. If Canfield makes the Finals then the Championship is his.

But both skippers will have their work cut out for them in Malaysia as just 26 points separate the top 6 skippers on the leaderboard , all of whom are in contention for the title.

Taylor Canfield (ISV) USOne. Ranking – 1 (92pts)
Crew: Hayden Goodrick, Rod Dawson, Mike Rehe, Dan Morris

Taylor Canfield is one of the brightest match racers on the Tour since joining the Tour in 2010. As the Sailing Director at the Chicago Match Race Center, he devotes his career to match racing full time. His participation within competitive sailing this year has ranked him 1st in the ISAF Match Race Rankings. His participation on the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour has been impressive, where he’s gained three-podium finishes. He finished second in Korea Match Cup, won the Chicago Match Cup on home ground and also finished third at the penultimate event, the Argo Group Gold Cup. Holding his position as the No1 on the leaderboard, his aim is to defend his Monsoon Cup crown and claim his first ISAF Match Racing World Championship title.

Taylor Canfield wins the 2012 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 8 December 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Ian Willams (GBR) GAC Pindar. Ranking – 2 (82pts)
Crew: Gerard Mitchell, Mal Parker, Bill Hardesty, Matt Cassidy

Ian Williams is no new comer to this event having raced in every edition. The four time ISAF Match Racing World Champion has won back to back World titles in 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 and won both awards – the Monsoon Cup and the World Championship in 2008 and 2011. Williams had a very encouraging start to 2013 winning Stage 1, Match Race Germany but with only one subsequent podium finish on the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, Williams needs to regain his form on the waters of Kuala Terengganu to end his season in style. With only a 10 point difference to first place, the World Championship title is within his grasp, which, if he was able to win, would make it a record breaking 5th time for Williams and the GAC Pindar crew.

Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team. Ranking – 3 (81pts)
Crew: Gustav Tempelman, Phillip Kai Guhle, Sebastian Wedel, Mathias Bredin

Bjorn Hansen is considered to be one of the sailing legends of Scandinavia. He started match racing in 1994 and since then he has been a permanent fixture in the top 10 on the ISAF Rankings. Hansen is also a veteran on the Tour and known as a tenacious and tricky opponent, especially at his favorite venues, one of which is Kuala Terenggnau. After wining on home ground at Stena Match Cup Sweden this year, the third time since 2007 Hansen will be targeting the Monsoon Cup the Season Finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Hansen and his eWork Sailing Team have got their eyes on the prize and are bringing their A game to town.

Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX. Ranking – 4 (77pts)
Crew: Chris Main, Tom Powrie, David Swete, Nick Blackman

After a successful year with Camper on the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 season, Adam Minoprio is back into professional match racing on the Tour. He has a good history at the Monsoon Cup – winning the Asian Qualifying Series in 2007, a qualifier to the event and two years later winning the ISAF Match Racing World Championships at the age of 24 – the youngest ever to win the championship. Pulling back together 3 of his World Championship winning crew plus the experience of Chris Main, he brings back his style of aggressive match racing and cunning tactics. A style that has seen him advance to the Quarter Final stages and beyond throughout this season. Holding 4th on the Tour leaderboard he’s in a great position to leap frog the current leaders and take home the World Championship trophy for a second time.

Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing. Ranking – 5 (75pts)
Crew: Olof Lundgren, Ted Hackney, Jakob Gustafsson, Ricky McGarvie

After finishing 4th on the Tour last year, missing the podium by a whisker, Keith Swinton is back on Tour and ready to take a step up. His passion for sailing goes back to the age of eight and the list of competitions, classes and achievements under his belt belies his age. His performances this year have steadily improved over the season. As the frontman of Black Swan Racing he picked up his game at Stage 4, Chicago Match Cup finishing second behind Taylor Canfield in a thrilling 5 match final on Lake Michigan. Taking out the World Championship may be a big ask for Swinton but he knows the boats and as he has regularly showed he can still cause havoc amongst the other title contenders.

Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing. Ranking – 6 (66pts)
Crew: Garth Ellingham, James Williamson, Nick Catley, Adam Martin

Phil Robertson made his debut in 2011 as a Tour Card Holder on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. With a consistent team over three seasons, his WAKA Racing team has pulled off some tremendous results on the Tour this season. At Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stage 3 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour this year, he finished second, coming so close to taking out Swedish sailing legend, Bjorn Hansen. WAKA Racing put together an outstanding performance but lost to Hansen in the 5th,and last, match of the finals. With a great sense of humor and playful tactics on the water, he can be fun but never to be underestimated. The King of the Late Charge can deliver quite a sting to his opponents and is very capable of taking it all the way to the finals.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team. Ranking – 7 (53pts)
Crew: Greg Evrard, Thierry Briend, Olivier Herledant, François Verdier

Mathieu Richard is back on competitive form this season. Though not having a Tour Card for 2013, the team qualified to the Season Finale of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour by securing 7th place on the leaderboard after the penultimate event of the Tour. Richard had a flying start finishing third at the season opener, Match Race Germany and then came back to win the Korea Match Cup for the second time, but poor performances in Sweden and Bermuda will see him eyeing the podium and looking for a Monsoon Cup win. He currently holds seven event titles since he joined the tour in 2007 and finished in second place overall on the 2010 Tour.

Taylor Canfield wins the 2012 Monsoon Cup. Kuala Terengganu, 8 December 2012. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / VSail.info

Johnie Bertsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team. Ranking – 8 (41pts)
Crew: Johan Barne, Oscar Angervall, Martin Berntsson, Bjorn Lundgren

2012 Swedish Sailor of the Year, Johnie Berntsson is one of the most respected sailors among the Tour Card Holders. His team came together in 1997 and have been amongst the top group on the match racing ladder ever since. The Stena Sailing Team had a great to their 2013 campaign but have endured a bumpy ride ever since with near misses at the Quarter Final stages in Korea and Sweden. In 2011 he finished second in the Monsoon Cup which bounced him up to a third place finish on the overall Tour standings. With lack of consistency in the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season, the pressure will be off Berntsson and his Stena Sailing Team but the smiling assassin still carries the formula to win and will stir up the current leaders at the Monsoon Cup.

Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Angglo Sailing Team. Ranking – 9 (33pts)
Crew: Cédric Chateau, Steven Liorzou, Mathieu Renault, Pierre-Alexis Ponsot

Pierre Antoine Morvan discovered competitive match racing in 2003 while studying at the University of Rennes. As a first time Tour Card Holder in 2012, he finished sixth overall but is looking to better that this year and needs a finals result to do that. Known as the Cool Frenchman, Morvan and his Vannes Angglo Sailing Team also compete at a host of other graded match racing events around the world alongside their Tour commitments. A fierce competitor, Morvan will be looking to put in a big performance and turn the pecking order on its head during the Qualifying session at theMonsoon Cup.

Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa. Ranking – 10 (25pts)
Crew: Pierluigi de Felice, Max Sirena, Xabier Fernandez, Nick Hutton

Runner up on the 2011 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the name Franceso Bruni needs no further introduction. After taking on the role of tactician on-board Luna Rossa for the 34th America’s Cup this year, Bruni is back on the helm to throw all his match racing experience onto the waters of Kuala Terengganu. His comeback made the headlines when he out of his skin to win the Argo Group Gold Cup, the penultimate event of the Tour Series loosing only 3 matches throughout the competiton. This made him the first Italian to lift the King Edward VII Gold Cup one of the most prestigious trophies in competitive match racing. The Luna Rossa team are now gearing up again, to get their hands on the Monsoon Cup trophy and a share of the biggest prize purse in sailing.

David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour. Ranking – 13 (12pts)
Crew: William Mackenzie, Luke Payne, Peter Nicholas, 5th crew TBC

Wild Card David Gilmour is a rising star on the Match Racing scene having formed Team Gilmour in 2010 at the Warren Jones Youth Regatta he has seen a steady rise on the ISAF Match Race Rankings taking event wins at the 2012 Warren Jones, 2013 Korea Match Cup Qualifier, 2013 Detroit Cup along the way. A win at the 2013 ISAF Nations Cup has been the highlight of Team Gilmour’s year so far. The Monsoon Cup Wild Card is well earned as 7th place finishes in Korea this year and at the Monsoon Cup last year show that he has the skills and controlled aggression required to take on the best of the best. Team Gilmour are sure to add some spice to the Qualifying stage and beyond this year.

Jeremy Koo Wui Ken (MAL) Koo Racing Team. Liga Layar Champion (Malaysian Qualifier Event)
Crew: Sean Ong Khong Shing, Mohd Fauzi Mustaffa, Lool Sing Yew, Shahrizal Hashim

Jeremy Koo is considered one of the most experienced sailors in Malaysia. He started sailing at the age of 9, and throughout his sailing career he has won numerous dinghy regattas in Asia. He started match racing in year 2006 with Team China, competing in the 32nd America’s Cup and Elba Island Match Racing, and he went on to crew for his sister in the same year for The Monsoon Cup. After forming a team in 2009, he has been leading the sailing scene for Malaysia with participation in the China Cup Racing One Design 40’s, 2013 Korean Match Cup Qualifier finishing second, winning the Hong Kong Nautica Typhoon Series and finishing third in the China Coast Sea Race.

This year, his team proved they were unstoppable as they sailed their way through to win for the forth-consecutive time in the Malaysian Qualifying Series and book their ticket to the Monsoon Cup 2013. As the helmsman of Koo Racing Team, he is looking forward to do his best again for his own country the host of The Monsoon Cup.

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2013 Monsoon Cup – Season Finale Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Posted on 15 November 2013 by Valencia Sailing

2013 Monsoon Cup – Season Finale AWMRT

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