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1 December 2006, 02:30 pm
WILLIAMS Seals Round Robin
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Monsoon Cup 2006
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), leader of the World Match Racing Tour standings and skipper of Team Pindar, secured the top spot in the ISAF Grade WC Monsoon Cup round robin in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia today by finishing his 11 races with a 9-2 record.
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WILLIAMS, who won the ISAF Grade WC King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda last month, ensured his win in the round robin with a 6-1 record today, the best record in another trying day of racing as light winds again kept the racecourse wide open and taxed the mental capabilities of the sailors.

'We had good starts today,' said Team Pindar tactician Bill HARDESTY (USA). 'We were keeping our eye on the next puff trying to connect the puffs. That seemed more effective than looking for the next windshift.'

WILLIAMS wrapped the round robin despite eight matches remaining to complete the 17 flights. Behind him there's a mad scramble to determine placings for the quarter-final round. In the knockout round, first will race eighth, second will race seventh, third will race sixth and fourth will race fifth.

BANK Second

Jesper BANK (DEN), skipper of United Internet Team Germany, is second at 7-3, Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, is third at 6-3, and Björn HANSEN (SWE), skipper of Team Apport.net, is fourth at 6-4. HANSEN had the second best day with a 5-1 record.

'We sat down after yesterday and worked on our communication,' said HANSEN, who finished third last year at the Monsoon Cup. 'We were too much into each other's areas, talking too much. Today we tried to work on our own areas.'

Sébastien COL (FRA), Areva Challenge, stands fifth at 6-5 and owns a tiebreak advantage over Paolo CIAN (ITA), helmsman for Team Shosholoza, also at 6-5. COL and CIAN have completed their round robin, so their fate is somewhat out of their hands.

James SPITHILL (AUS), helmsman for Luna Rossa Challenge, is seventh at 5-4, and also owns a tiebreak advantage over Peter GILMOUR (AUS), skipper of PST and the reigning event champion.

HOLMBERG Way Back

On the outside looking in is Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), helmsman for Alinghi, at 4-5. For HOLMBERG to advance he would have to win both of his remaining races and look for help elsewhere.

'For those sitting and watching the racing it's not easy out there,' said HOLMBERG. 'A lot of it could go either way. We're going to have to sail loose tomorrow, otherwise this mon soon be going home.'

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Team Pindar tactician Bill
HARDESTY (front) concentrated
on connecting the puffs enroute
to a stellar 6-1 record on day two
© World Tour/Guido Cantini
The wind today was from the more normal northerly direction, but still very light, rarely topping 5 knots. The rare excitement came when monsoon squalls ripped through and pumped the wind over 15 knots. The tide, however, seemed to have less influence on the racecourse than yesterday.

'The wind was from a different direction than yesterday, so tide wasn't as much of a factor,' said HARDESTY. 'One noteworthy thing we noticed was the clouds coming through. They tended to shift the wind in their direction. We passed HOLMBERG by sailing to the cloud. It's just like a junior sailing lecture, sail towards the clouds.'

Major Upset

There were a number of notable close races today and one major upset. Wearn Haw TAN (SIN), a member of China Team, took down GILMOUR in flight 13. TAN opened a big lead in the first lap but GILMOUR closed up on the second upwind leg and rounded the windward mark on his rival's transom.

The beginnings of a squall were coming through, however, and it propelled both TAN and GILMOUR to the finish, reducing GILMOUR's chances of a comeback win.

'If we get lucky breaks we try to stay in contact and cover our opponent,' said TAN. 'We got some lucky breaks today. We have a steep learning curve. We have some new guys with us, but this will help us next year in Valencia.'

'Anyone can win at this level,' said GILMOUR.

KOO Goes Close

Tiffany KOO, Malaysia's lone female match racer who made a huge splash yesterday by winning her first ISAF Grade WC match race, nearly pulled a huge upset of SPITHILL. After trailing around the first lap KOO lured SPITHILL into a tacking duel and closed up on the second beat.

Halfway down the run to the finish she approached SPITHILL on port jibe, but could not cross and SPITHILL forced her to jibe back to starboard. A slow manoeuvre on KOO's part allowed SPITHILL to jibe away, and he crossed the finish line less than five feet ahead of KOO.

'I got nervous when he attacked there,' KOO said of the deciding moment on the last leg. 'Never mind that, we have two more races tomorrow.'

'I was almost passing out,' said SPITHILL. 'She sailed a fantastic race. Full credit to Tiffany.'

Racing is scheduled to resume tomorrow around 09:45 local time, and a busy day is planned including completion of the round robin, the quarter-finals and then, time and weather permitting, the semi-finals as well.

Racing tomorrow is scheduled to be broadcast live on the Internet at www.sail.tv. It will also be broadcast live on ESPN/Star Sports, Eurosport, Fox Australia and Showtime Middle East. Sky New Zealand will broadcast a same day tape delay (check local listings for times).

Monsoon Cup Results

Round Robin Standings
(After 15 of 17 scheduled flights)

1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 9-2
2. Jesper BANK (DEN), United Internet Team Germany, 7-3
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-3
4. Björn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 6-4
5. Sébastien COL (FRA), Areva Challenge, 6-5
6. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 6-5
7. James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge, 5-4
8. Peter GILMOUR (AUS), PST, 5-4
9. Peter HOLMBERG (ISV), Alinghi, 4-5
10. Wearn Haw TAN (SIN), China Team, 2-8
11. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Black Match Racing, 1-7
12. Tiffany KOO (MAL), Team Selangor Gapurna, 1-8

For all the news from the Monsoon Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage 5 of 15)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 4 Team Pindar 47
2 Ed BAIRD USA 22 Alinghi 40
3 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 35
3 Jesper BANK DEN 57 United Internet Team Germany 35
5 Chris DICKSON NZL 5 BMW ORACLE Racing 31
6 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 6 Saba Sailing Team 30
7 Sébastien COL FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
8 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 24 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27

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 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal July 2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark August 2007
Stage 10 St Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland August 2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia September 2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy September 2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil October 2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda October 2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. The events of the World Tour serve to determine the ISAF Match Racing World Champion. Next year the Monsoon Cup will be the final event of the 2006-07 season, and will crown the 2007 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.

For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.

Sean Mcneill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Crews race upwind and downwind on Pulau Duyong Basin:© World Tour/Guido Cantini
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