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16 October 2006, 10:33 am
WILLIAMS Wins First Championshp
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King Edward VII Gold Cup 2006
Hamilton, Bermuda

Ian WILLIAMS of Great Britain yesterday won the 58th annual King Edward VII Gold Cup to decide the winner of stage four of the 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour with a 3-1 defeat of ISAF Nations Cup winner Mathieu RICHARD (FRA).
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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.'

Bermudians Given Reason to Celebrate

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.'

New Talent

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

Final

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 3-1

Petit-Final

Blythe WALKER (BER) d. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 3-2

Semi-Finals

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 3-0
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) d. Blythe WALKER (BER), 3-0

Quarter-Finals

Eric MONNIN (SUI) d. James SPITHILL (AUS), 3-2
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), 3-2
Blythe WALKER (BER) d. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 3-2
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) d. Chris LAW (GBR), 3-0

Round Robin Standings

Group A

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

Group B

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
(After Stage Four)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Ian WILLIAMS GBR 7 Williams Sail Racing 35
2 Mathieu RICHARD FRA 5 Saba Sailing Team 30
3

Sébastien COL

FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
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 Ed BAIRD USA 10 Alinghi 20
8 Jesper BANK DEN 56 United Internet Team Germany 20
8 Magnus HOLMBERG SWE 41 Victory Challenge 20

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. 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.

Sean MCNEILL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, WILLIAMS Celebrates:© Gold Cup/Charles ANDERSON
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