WILLIAMS won the first two races, dropped the third and then closed out the series in the fourth race with a one boatlength victory. He and crew Bill Hardesty (bow and tactics), Gerry Mitchell (headsails) and Mark Nicholls (mainsail) finished with a 13-6 record and won $25,000 of the $50,000 prize purse.
'There've been moments this week where I've lost it and didn't know what was going on,' said WILLIAMS, 29, of Hamble, England. 'My crew kept me going at all times. It's just fantastic to have finally won one.'
The win moves WILLIAMS into first place in the Match Racing World Championship standings with 35 points. He leads RICHARD by five points. The events of the World Tour determine the ISAF Match Racing World Champion, who will be crowned in December 2007. A total of 15 events comprise the 2006-'07 World Tour schedule.
RICHARD, sailing with longtime crewmembers Greg EVRARD (mainsail and tactics), Olivier HERLEDANT (headsails) and Yannick SIMON (bow) finished with a 13-4 record and won $10,000. They entered the final as the hottest team in the competition with just one loss in 13 starts, but WILLIAMS was too tough today.
'I'm frustrated because I feel that we could've sailed better, especially in the starts,' said RICHARD, 30, Nantes, France. 'I've sailed against Ian for a long time and it's hard to come back against him when he gets the lead.'
In the Petite Final, Bermudian Blythe WALKER gave the hometown crowd a reason for celebration when he defeated Eric MONNIN of Switzerland, 3-2, to finish third overall. WALKER and crew Carola COOPER (bow), Somers KEMPE (headsails) and Adam BARBOZA (mainsail and tactics) finished with a 10-10 record and won $5,000.
MONNIN and crew Simon BRUGGER, Fabien FROESCH, Alain MARCHAND, Marc MONNIN finished fourth with a 9-11 record and won $3,500.
WALKER blitzed to a 2-0 lead in the Petite Final before MONNIN tied the series with two emphatic wins of his own. WALKER then pulled a Houdini act in the final race that would've made the magician proud. Saddled with a pre-start penalty, Walker led onto the racecourse and held a slim lead around the first two laps of the three-lap race.
On the final upwind leg he more than doubled his lead and led by nearly one minute beginning the run to the finish. With a comfortable margin in hand WALKER was able to complete his 270-degree penalty turn at the finish line and win third place.
'What more could we have given the spectators,' said WALKER, 38. 'It was a tough way to do it, but we came out on top.'
Dockside murmurs this week said that the Gold Cup lineup was less than stellar because it lacked the star America's Cup sailors. Instead, this field represents the next wave of match-racers, the 30-something crowd that's growing with the sport.
'Absolutely,' said Henry MENIN, the Chief Umpire and Chairman of the ISAF Match Racing Committee. 'I think Ian and Mathieu would've sailed with anyone this week. They sail smooth and smart and understand the game well.'
The conditions for the final were different from all week. The wind was from the northwest between 4 and 10 knots. It was a shifty and spotty wind. At times it seemed as if both competitors were lifted at the same time despite being on opposite tacks.
WILLIAMS pointed to his starting as the difference in being able to win his first championship of a World Tour event.
'We seemed to have the timing better than Mathieu today,' said WILLIAMS. 'In the end I think Mathieu sailed a little faster than us around the course, but we won four out of four starts. And from there, with those shifts out there, you do that and you can pick your own shifts. One race we got it wrong, but the other three we got it right.'
King Edward VII Gold Cup Results
Blythe WALKER (BER) d. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 3-2
Round Robin Standings
1. James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge, 6-1
2. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 5-2
3. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 5-2
4. Chris LAW (GBR), The Outlaws, 5-2
5. Brian ANGEL (USA), King Harbor Match Race, 3-4
6. Scott DICKSON (USA), Dickson Racing Team, 2-5
7. Sandy HAYES (USA), 1-6
8. Jon SINGSEN (USA), 1-6
1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-1
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Williams Sail Racing, 4-3
3. Blythe WALKER (BER), 4-3
4. Eric MONNIN (SUI), Team Monnin, 4-3, 3.5 points
5. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), 3-4
6. Alvaro MARINHO (POR), 3-4
7. Paula LEWIN (BER), 2-5
8. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia, 2-5
For all the news on the King Edward VII Gold Cup CLICK HERE.World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
|1||Ian WILLIAMS||GBR||7||Williams Sail Racing||35|
|2||Mathieu RICHARD||FRA||5||Saba Sailing Team||30|
|4||Jes GRAM-HANSEN||DEN||16||Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia||27|
|5||Paolo CIAN||ITA||2||Team Viano Mercedes Benz||25|
|5||Chris DICKSON||NZL||4||BMW ORACLE Racing||25|
|7||Staffan LINDBERG||FIN||11||Alandia Sailing Team||16|
|8||Jesper BANK||DEN||56||United Internet Team Germany||20|
|8||Magnus HOLMBERG||SWE||41||Victory Challenge||20|
World Match Racing Tour Schedule
|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. 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.
For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.