Having battled through a top quality field littered with America's Cup teams fresh from Valencia to reach the final two, WILLIAMS was on a high and looking to rescale the World Tour leadership, having dropped to third going into the regatta. He knew that GILMOUR, who recently coached the successful Defenders, Alinghi at the America's Cup, would be no walk over, but he didn't count on the onslaught that lay ahead in this first to three points final.
GILMOUR and WILLIAMS have enjoyed some superb matches in the past year, notably in Germany, Malaysia, and at Elba in Italy where GILMOUR won the only final they've faced off in. WILLIAMS, a trained lawyer, knew he would need his best judgment and tactical knowledge to overcome such a wily fox as GILMOUR.
In the first match, GILMOUR pushed WILLIAMS close to the beautiful beach here in Troia, startling the many spectators bathing in almost 40 degree temperatures. The ensuing tacking duel saw WILLIAMS on the left closer to the shore. In a matter of minutes, GILMOUR had a five-boatlength lead and continued to extend all the way to finish, ahead by over 200 metres.
Match 2 followed exactly the same pattern, WILLIAMS unable to hang on to GILMOUR in the first beat tacking duel and though the margin was closer, the result was the same. Two-zero down and facing defeat, WILLIAMS and his crew dug deep in the third, winning the start, and forcing GILMOUR out to the right. After a series of tacks that saw GILMOUR pushed back right each time WILLIAMS sneaked ahead. Never one to give up, GILMOUR rounded the first mark all over WILLIAMS stern. Smart crew work on GILMOUR's boat saw them try to roll WILLIAMS down the run and they stayed neck and neck all the way to the gate, GILMOUR went clear ahead. WILLIAMS tried to throw in two gybes in succession to re-establish his rights but was judged to be too close so drew a penalty but GILMOUR was now the windward, give way boat and didn't keep clear so a penalty to GILMOUR evened things out. Rounding opposite marks at the gate saw WILLIAMS keep a slender lead.
WILLIAMS held on to the lead and rounded the final mark 3 metres clear. GILMOUR's superior speed edged him into a leeward overlap and when WILLIAMS gybed to starboard GILMOUR ducked round his stern and gybed himself coming out of the gybe with more speed and more importantly the right to luff. GILMOUR now had the controlling position and as the boats approached the finish line GILMOUR luffed, WILLIAMS responded but received a penalty for not keeping clear. In a last ditch effort to rescue the match WILLIAMS gybed and tried to luff round the stern of his more experienced opponent, but his spinnaker made contact with GILMOUR's boat nearly taking out the onboard cameraman and resulting in a second penalty and game over, leaving GILMOUR to cruise to the finish and take the Portugal Match Cup.
GILMOUR said, 'It was an exciting final. It came down to subtleties, starting position and getting out of the current, not loosing ground in the tacking duel and being able to get into a position to attack on the down wind leg.'
On the penalties on the final downwind duel GILMOUR went on to add, 'I was watching him and I caught him when he was looking away from me [so when I luffed him], he over spun it and his spinnaker collapsed, which helped us to get the penalty on him.'
GILMOUR thanked his crew and was clearly happy to be sailing with same guys with whom he has shared so much success over the years.
As for WILLIAMS a time for reflection and lessons to be learnt. Said WILLIAMS, 'Today was disappointing after we sailed so well through the event. We didn't get to grips with the breeze from the southwest and by the time we did Peter was at match point'. On the positive side WILLIAMS still advances into second place on the World Tour Standings, just one point behind Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), who was eliminated in the quarter finals here. Paolo CIAN (ITA) from Team Shozoloza holds on to third.
The World Match Racing Tour now moves to Denmark for the Danish Open, to be held 9-12 August in Copenhagen.
1. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 14-3
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 10-7, Team Pindar
3. Gavin BRADY (NZL), BMW ORACLE Racing, 12-4
4. Sebastien COL (FRA), Areva Challenge, 10-8
5. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-5
6. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Shosholoza, 7-9
7. Philippe PRESTI (FRA), Luna Rossa, 6-6
8. Alvaro MARINHO (POR), Seth.pt
9. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team
10. Eugeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), Lord of the Sail Team
11. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net
12. Sally BARKOW (USA)
ISAF Match Racing World Championship Standings
(After Stage 9)
|Pos||Skipper||Nation||ISAF World Match
|1||Mathieu RICHARD||FRA||2||Saba Sailing Team||88|
|2||Ian WILLIAMS||GBR||1||Team Pindar||82|
|3||Paolo CIAN||ITA||3||Team Viano Mercedes Benz||74|
|5||Sébastien COL||FRA||4||Areva Challenge||59|
|6||Bjorn HANSEN||SWE||5||Team Onico||49|
|7||Jesper BANK||DEN||15||United Internet Team Germany||45|
|Stage 1||Portugal Match Cup||Cascais, Portugal||18-23 July 2006|
|Stage 2||Danish Open||Copenhagen, Denmark||9-13 August 2006|
|Stage 3||St. Moritz Match Race||St Moritz, Switzerland||15-20 August 2006|
|Stage 4||Bermuda Gold Cup||Hamilton, Bermuda||10-15 October 2006|
|Stage 5||Allianz Cup||San Francisco, USA||24-29 October|
|Stage 6||Monsoon Cup||Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia||28 November-3 December 2006|
|Stage 7||Match Race Germany||Langenargen, Germany||23-28 May 2007|
|Stage 8||GKSS Match Race||Marstrand, Sweden||2-8 July 2007|
|Stage 9||Portugal Match Cup||Cascais, Portugal||24-25 July 2007|
|Stage 10||Danish Open||Copenhagen, Denmark||8-12 August 2007|
|Stage 11||St. Moritz Match Race||St Moritz, Switzerland||14-19 August 2007|
|Stage 12||Latium Match Cup||Fiumicino, Italy||11-16 September 2007|
|Stage 13||Locman Cup - Elba Island||Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy||25-30 September 2007|
|Stage 14||Bermuda Gold Cup||Hamilton, Bermuda||9-14 October 2007|
|Stage 15||Brasil Sailing Cup||Angra dos Reis, Brazil||23-28 October 2007|
|Stage 16||Monsoon Cup||Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia||28 November-2 December 2007|
The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.
For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.
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