Reigning World Champion Taylor Canfield may have lost some of his concluding matches in Qualifying at Match Race Germany, but the USone skipper has safely made it through to the Quarter-Final. He also knows how dramatically fortunes can change now that the slate is wiped clean as the event moves into the knock-out stages.
It was another very light day on Lake Constance and as Qualifying drew close to the end of the 22 flights, the tension ratcheted up. David Gilmour responded to the pressure and made a great comeback from three straight losses to win his final three matches. This earns the young Australian skipper a place in the six-boat Quarter-Final in his first full season on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Williams cemented his reputation as the master of Qualifying, winning all but one of his matches to notch up a score sheet of 10-1, a phenomenal performance after three very testing days of light-airs racing. The reward for the British four-time World Champion is to be able to sit out the Quarter-Final, safe in the knowledge that GAC Pindar is the only team to have confirmed a spot in the Semi-Final.
Runner-up in Qualifying was Phil Robertson who won here two years ago and has a good track record in Langenargen. The other three skippers through to the Quarter-Final were Bjorn Hansen, Mathieu Richard and Keith Swinton. Robertson, with the pick of his opponent, chose David Gilmour as the rival with the least experience on the Tour, and on only his first visit to Match Race Germany. Hansen said he would take on Richard, leaving Swinton to face up to Canfield.
Richard has one of the eight highly-coveted Tour Cards after doing some damage on last year's Tour with some Wild Card invitations to a number of events, including victory at the Korea Match Cup. He has his sights set on overall victory on the Tour in 2014. "I think we can definitely win this year, because we have the experience of the Tour, and I have a very strong team,"
said the LunaJets skipper. "My guys have been racing with me for a long time and we have some new guys on board, like Francois Verdier, Pascal Rambeau and the older guys like Greg Evrard, Olivier Herledant and Thierry Briend. We know each other very well and we love to race together. We also have a very experienced coach, Bertrand Pacé, who is the only French skipper to have been world champion in match racing. It was 20 years ago, so it's a challenge for him as well to get the title back in France as a coach. We know that it could be very tough and a lot of teams can win the title, but I think we are one of those."
Quarter-Final racing starts tomorrow morning at 9am local time.
Stage 1 Match Race Germany, Alpari World Match Racing Tour
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar goes straight to Semi-Final
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing vs David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team vs Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX vs Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone
Final Results of Qualifying
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 10-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 8-3
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 7-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 7-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 6-5
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 6-5
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 6-5
Eric Monnin (SUI) Swiss Match Race Team 5-6
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa 4-7
Karol Jablonski (POL) Jablonski Sailing Team 3-8
Carsten Kemmling (GER) SegelReporter 2-9
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) TRE-For Match Racing 2-9