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20 August 2007, 07:30 am
Phenomenal End In St Moritz
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Ian WILLIAMS celebrates victory

St Moritz Match Race 2007
St Moritz, Switzerland

There's a new 'King of the Mountain' after Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) and his Team Pindar nipped past Mark MENDELBLATT's (USA) Team Kaenon in the fifth and deciding match at the ISAF Grade WC St Moritz Match Race.
WILLIAMS made his passing move just metres from the finishing line to win the Swiss stop on the World Match Racing Tour.

The 'first to three' final went down to the last race and indeed, down to the final seconds. The top two teams in St Moritz put on a stunning display of match racing, showcasing incredible boat-handling skills and tactical nous in difficult conditions on Lake St Moritz; the wind on Sunday was extremely shifty and gusty.

Despite occasional rain showers, the grandstand was full again today and the crowd lined the shore of the lake to cheer some of the best sailors in the world. They weren't disappointed, as the final couldn't have been scripted to be more exciting.

In the final race, two-time St Moritz champion MENDELBLATT carried a narrow lead onto the last run to the finishing line, but a great spinnaker hoist by WILLIAMS and his crew brought Team Pindar into an overlapped position. Under the racing rules of sailing, WILLIAMS was obliged to sail a 'proper course' to the finish.

As he moved to make a quick double gybe, which would give him more rights, WILLIAMS fooled MENDELBLATT into gybing himself. Now holding the starboard tack advantage, WILLIAMS watched as the Umpires penalized MENDELBLATT just metres from the finishing line. Team Pindar crossed the line to win the match and the series.

'Mark sailed very well all through the final and really showed us how to handle the boats,'

WILLIAMS said after the win. 'But I think we maybe understand the way the Umpires are thinking a bit more with our experience on the World Tour. He picked up three penalties over the course of the final and that last one coming into the finish is what decided it.'

WILLIAMS and MENDELBLATT split the first four contests with many of the decisive moments coming in the pre-starts. In the first match, WILLIAMS forced Team Kaenon over the starting line early and held on for the win; in the second race, MENDELBLATT put a penalty on Team Pindar in the pre-start and was never threatened.

The third race was much closer all the way around. So close, in fact, that MENDELBLATT picked up a penalty when the front of his boat just touched the back of WILLIAMS' during an intense tacking duel. WILLIAMS won to go up 2-1.

'We were gaining in the tacking duel and it was getting close as to whether or not we could swing in behind them,'

MENDELBLATT explained. 'I made a judgement that we could, but I was wrong and we hit them.' In the fourth race MENDELBLATT extended an early lead into a convincing win, squaring the series at two wins apiece and setting up the exciting fifth race where the championship would be decided in Williams' favour.

With the St Moritz Match Race title, WILLIAMS extends the lead of Team Pindar atop the World Match Racing Tour rankings and picks up a generous 35,000 Swiss Francs in prize money, in addition to the coveted 'King of the Mountain' title. MENDELBLATT and his team of America's Cup veterans can console themselves with a 22,000 Swiss Franc prize for second place.

In the petit-final, local Swiss sailor Eric MONNIN and his band of brothers swept past defending champion and America's Cup sailor Paolo CIAN (ITA) 2-0 to claim third place. The Italian, a popular defending champion, was in tough against MONNIN who claimed the hearts of the predominantly Swiss crowd and demonstrated some good local knowledge of the wind shifts on the lake.

'Today we have seen that having connections isn't only an Italian habit,'

CIAN joked. 'Because the Monnin brothers seem to have a very tight connection with the wind here. They proved themselves on the lake so full credit to them. I'd also like to congratulate the top two teams who put on an incredible display of match racing…well done to both of them.'

This was the fifth edition of the St Moritz Match Race and at the prizegiving ceremony, the organizers announced their intention to run a sixth edition of the event in 2008, where WILLIAMS will have to come to defend his 'King of the Mountain' title.

Results

Final Standings

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR)
2. Mark MENDELBLATT (USA)
3. Eric MONNIN (SUI)
4. Paolo CIAN (ITA)
5. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA)
6. Jochen SCHUEMANN (GER)/Peter EVANS (NZL)
7. Sébastien COL (FRA)
8. Matthias RENKER (SUI)
9. Michael HESTBEK (GER)
10. Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA)
11. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN)
12. Evgeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS)

Final

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Mark MENDELBLATT (USA), 3-2

Petit-Final

Eric MONNIN (SUI) d. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 2-0

Semi- Final

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 2-0
Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) d. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 2-0

Quarter-Final

Paolo CIAN (ITA) d. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 3-1
Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) d. Sebastien COL (FRA), 3-1
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Matthias RENKER (SUI), 2-0
Eric MONNIN (SUI) vs. Jochen SCHUEMANN (GER)/Peter EVANS (NZL), 2-0

Repechage

1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 4-1
2. Matthias RENKER (SUI), 3-2
3. Michael HESTBEK (GER), 3-2
4. Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA), 2-3
5. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 2-3
6. Evgeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), 1-4

Group A

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), 5-0
2. Sebastien COL (FRA), 4-1
3. Jochen SCHUEMANN (GER), 3-2
4. Evgeny NEUGODNIKOV (RUS), 2-3
5. Michael HESTBEK (GER), 1-4
6. Matteo SIMONCELLI (ITA), 0-5

Group B

1. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 4-1
2. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 3-2
3. Mark MENDELBLATT (USA), 3-2
4. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 2-3
5. Matthias RENKER (SUI), 2-3
6. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 1-4

ISAF Match Racing World Championship Standings

(After Stage 11)

Pos

Skipper

Nation

ISAF World Match
Race Ranking

Team

Pts

1

Ian WILLIAMS

GBR

1

Team Pindar

122

2

Mathieu RICHARD

FRA

2

Saba Sailing Team

98

3

Paolo CIAN

ITA

3

Team Viano Mercedes Benz

86

4

Sébastien COL

FRA

4

Areva Challenge

77

5

Peter GILMOUR

AUS

40

PST

60

6

Bjorn HANSEN

SWE

5

Team Apport.net

59

7

Jesper BANK

DEN

15

United Internet Team Germany

53

8

Ed BAIRD

USA

27

Alinghi

40

8

Magnus HOLMBERG

SWE

94

Victory Challenge

40

8

Jesper RADICH

DEN

38

40

World Match Racing Tour Schedule

(2006-2007 Season)

Stage

Event

Venue

Date

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.

Kirsten Bollinger (As Amended By ISAF)
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