Ian Williams is starting to look invincible after marching to an imposing lead on day two of the Korea Match Cup.
Even when starting a penalty down against the qualifier David Gilmour, the reigning champion of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour still manage to bend the race to his iron will.
The GAC Pindar skipper acknowledged his error at the start, "A stuff-up on my part. We entered the box a little late, Gilmour was coming in on starboard on a short line, and we got caught on a port-starboard. But a great job by my tactician Bill Hardesty, he called the left side the only time the left worked all day, and we came into the top mark just ahead at the zone, and shoved Gilmour on the mark. He got a red-flag penalty and we got a big enough lead to hold on and unload our penalty at the finish."
This was a re-run of the Williams-Gilmour match which had to be abandoned the first time after Williams hooked up on the windward mark while leading the young Aussie team. Gilmour said, "Ian rounded the top mark and caught on the anchor line. He got a penalty for hitting the mark and then he sailed out of the exclusion zone to stop us getting round the mark, I guess. Then I think he broached and got stuck in the mud, so we didn't want to go around him and get stuck in the mud outside the exclusion zone. We were hoping to get another penalty on him to get him black flagged. But he was winning the race and he caught the mark, so really it was a get-out-of-jail-free card for us that didn't quite work out. Ian's sailing really well."
David, by the way, is the son of four-time match racing world champion Peter Gilmour, a record that fellow four-time world champion Ian Williams is looking to beat this year.
After the cold, foggy conditions of the previous day, the sun shone brightly over Jeongok Harbour and the wind was strong and steady for the most of the day. The only slight problem was the wind direction, which made the beat one-sided with the aim for the 12 teams being to win control of the right-hand side. This put a massive emphasis on getting good starts at the right-hand end of the line, and some were better than others. Along with Williams, Taylor Canfield read the conditions well and has won all his matches except against Williams and Gilmour. This puts the USone team in second overall and virtually assured of a quarter-final spot tomorrow.
There are some big names staring elimination in the face unless they can up their game in the final flights of the round robin tomorrow. Winner of the past two Korea Match Cups, Bjorn Hansen is currently in 9th overall, and very disappointed in his form today. "We won one and lost two, it was pretty much my starts that made the day bad. It was quite one-sided racing where you had to go right and I didn't manage to put our boat on the right-hand side of our opponents, and that was about it."
Near-upset of the day came when Kim won a penalty against Mathieu Richard after the Frenchman notched up his second pre-start T-bone collision of the regatta. The Korean team led off the line and although the French kept the race tight, Richard still had to shake off that penalty. However, Kim had failed to notice that he should have rounded a different windward mark at the top of the second lap and the French pretended to follow, only changing course and turning around the correct mark at the last minute. Although the Koreans crossed the finish line ahead, there was no local celebration for them as the French took the win.
Despite his collisions, Richard moves into 3rd on the leaderboard, on 5 wins along with the two Australian teams skippered by Keith Swinton and David Gilmour.
Tomorrow's aim is to finish the Qualifying round, with the possibility of starting the early phases of the Quarter Finals.
STAGE 2: Korea Match Cup - Qualifying Round After Flight 16
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 8-0
?Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone 6-2
?Mathieu Richard (FRA) GEFCO Match Racing Team 5-3?
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing 5-3
?David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour 5-3
?Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 4-4?
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 4-4
?Adam Minoprio (NZL) Team Alpari FX 4-4
?Bjorn Hansen (SWE) eWork Sailing Team 4-4
?Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Stena Sailing Team 3-5
?Gunwoo Park (KOR) Busan Match Team 0-8
?Kim Taejeong (KOR) Match Game 0-8