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20 September 2001, 07:10 pm
Williams Wins
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RYA Match Racing Open

Sailing a faultless regatta, the RYA British Match Racing Champion, Ian Williams, sailing with his brother Mark Williams, David Lenz, Chris Gowers and Mark Nicholls, won the RYA Match Racing Open Championships, only dropping one race.

"I am not sure what we were doing right, but we were sailing very well together. Our boat handling was very tidy and this meant that Dave (Lenz) could keep his head out of the boat and spot the shifts well. Mark (Williams) did a great job calling the line and the rest of the team also did a great job which meant I could concentrate on helming. I really enjoyed this event and it would be fantastic to have another RYA International Match Racing event like this next year". Williams said.

Williams came up against Chris Main in the Semi Finals, after starting prematurely, he soon caught up and an incident at the windward mark saw Main penalised with a double red flag penalty. By the time he had taken his penalty Williams had a considerable lead that Main could not close the gap on.

In the second race of the Semi final, Williams seemed to have better speed and was playing the shifts well to have a slight lead over Main at the windward mark, that he then went on to extend throughout the race. By this stage Williams was two races up and just needed one more win to make it into the finals.

A tighter third race saw two green flags called by the umpires as both boats thought there was reason for a penalty on their opponent but both were denied. Williams again played the shifts to his advantage and secured his place in the final by a considerable lead.

Racing for the other place in the final was going to be a lot tighter, with GBR Challenge sailor Andy Green up against Italian America's cup sailor Paulo Cian. Green took the first race quite comfortably, but Cian came back in the second race with a vengeance and by the windward mark had a considerable lead. Green's downwind speed enabled him to catch up and by the finish had split gybes with Cian and looked like he was going to take the second race aswell.

Unfortunately for Green, Cian just crossed the finish line ahead to even the scores. The third race saw Cian taking advantage of the shifty conditions and go on to take the third race by a considerable distance. Green decided that he was not going to be defeated easily, and sailed well up the first beat, crossing Cian and going on to win the race.

For the final race the wind had dropped, making conditions a little tricky. Green led to the windward mark with Cian hot on his tail, Cian managed to overtake Green after Green gybed early and then covered Green closely to take the final race and secure his place in the Final against Williams. It was decided that since the wind was dropping, the finals would be first to two points.

Both teams got a good start and then split tacks, with Williams playing the shifts to his advantage. By the time they had reached the windward mark he had a good lead from Cian and didn't look back to take the first race.

Cian 'pulled his socks up' in the second race, the boats split tacks after the start with Cian sailing out to the right hand side of the course to find more pressure, his moved paid off, and by the windward mark he had established a slight lead.

Williams pushed him hard around the remainder of the course, and down the final run, Cian made the mistake of not covering Williams. Williams gybed off into better pressure and Cian did not cover, this move was to cost him the Championships, as Williams crossed clear ahead and secure his second Match Racing Championship in two weeks.

Runner up, Paulo Cian commented on his opponents performance and the event "Williams put pressure on me and I made a mistake on the last run and this cost me the Championships. I have been very impressed by Ian's sailing, he has shown good boat speed and we have had some good matches. This has been a great event, and I think everybody involved has done a fantastic job. The level of Match Racing was very high, and Weymouth was a very interesting place to sail".

A sudden death 'sail-off' for third and fourth saw Andy Green taking an early advantage form the start over Chris Main, Main did not seem to pose a problem for Green and his team and he went to take the race by a considerable lead.


1 GBR Ian Williams
2 ITA Paulo Cian
3 GBR Andy Green
4 GBR Chris Main

RYA Press/News Editor
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