Record four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion and multiple America's Cup campaigner, Peter Gilmour today announced his retirement from the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and professional match racing on the second day of racing at the Monsoon Cup. Gilmour will bow out after the event concludes this Saturday 8 December.
On the water, Ian Williams looked ever-more the natural successor to Peter Gilmour as he returned to action in commanding style, remaining unbeaten at this Monsoon Cup on 5-0 to reaffirm his intent to retain his Tour crown and equal Gilmour's record of four Tour titles.
It was a fitting moment for Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing to announce his retirement having been one of the key architects behind the birth of the Monsoon Cup event and also the development of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour in his role as President. Flanked by his son, David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour, who is skippering at his first ever Tour event and likely to face his father on the water tomorrow, Gilmour said, "It would be fabulous to finish my career with a win here but the Monsoon Cup is always very tight, it goes down to the wire each day.
"I just realised that I've got to that point in my life. I'm not as athletic as I used to be and I used to win one or two events per year and we haven't won an event for a few years now. The other teams aren't necessarily getting that much better, I'm probably just slipping a bit. It's good to finish while I'm still at the pinnacle of the sport."
Fellow Tour stalwarts, Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen were quick to praise Gilmour's achievements and influence. Hansen, began, "I'd like to thank and congratulate Peter on his career - he's been at forefront of the match racing world and could easily compete at this level for longer if he chose to. It's been a pleasure to race against him and, looking around, I guess I'm next in line for retirement!"
Williams echoed the sentiments of the Swede, pointing to the support and advice he has received over the years from his fierce rival. He said, "We first faced Peter [Gilmour] in the late 90's and he gave us a thoroughly good schooling, and when we joined the Tour in 2005 he continued to give us a schooling. We've had some great races over the years and he really has been a benchmark for all of us growing up. He's always been keen to lend a hand, never turning us away when we asked for advice on match racing or how to run the business side of a professional sailing team. I'd like to thank him for the help and certainly we'll be giving it our best shot to equal him this week."
Today, Williams again demonstrated why he is considered most likely of the current crop of Tour Card Holders, to match Gilmour's impressive total of Tour titles. With five wins and a 100% qualifying record on his first day of competition in Kuala Terengganu, he has also again shown that he has the focus to perform under pressure.
Reflecting on his start to the finale of the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, Williams, said, "It's a great start. We were behind in three of our races today in conditions where it was difficult to read the breeze and current. If you keep the pressure on then they can makes mistakes and we managed to do that. We had a bit of luck too - the one that was abandoned [against Pierre Antoine Morvan] was a bit lucky as we were behind.
"We improved during the day which showed in the last race which we controlled a lot better. If we continue to improve we have a great chance of winning the Monsoon Cup and the Alpari World Match Racing Tour."
Racing is available to watch online from 4 to 8 December throughout the day. Follow it live at http://www.wmrt.com/live.html
Highlight shows from the season's seven previous events are available to watch at http://www.youtube.com/worldmrt
Monsoon Cup action will be broadcast live to TV on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December at 1500-1700 local time. For listings in your region, visit: http://www.wmrt.com/live/tv-schedule.html
Tour regular Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/wmrt
Live event Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/wmrt_liverace
Livestream Video: http://new.livestream.com/WorldMRT
Current Tour standings: http://www.wmrt.com/result/leaderboard.html
Monsoon Cup - Qualifying Table, Round 1:
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 5-0
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 4-1
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 4-1
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 4-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) Alpari Racing Team 3-2
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 3-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 3-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 2-3
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 2-4
Laurie Jury (NZL) Kiwi Match Sailing Team 1-4
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 1-4
Jeremy Koo (MYS) KFC Malaysia/KRT 0-5