WILLIAMS met RICHARD, the #1 skipper in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, in the quarter-finals, whilst COL went up against Peter GILMOUR (AUS), himself a four-time winner of the World Championship title (in 1990, 1997, 1998 and 2006). WILLIAMS showed his World Champion credentials by storming past RICHARD 3-0 and then was able to celebrate winning his second consecutive World title after COL lost his last quarter-final match against GILMOUR following a technical protest.
"It was a strange to win on a protest decision that didn't involve us, but I really felt we deserved it," commented the 2008 ISAF Match Racing World Championship winning skipper. "The way we sailed today, we deserved to win. Mathieu [RICHARD] sailed really well against us and we just didn't give him any chances. To beat him 3-0 is unprecedented."
"We are really satisfied with the way we performed when the pressure came on. When it came to the quarter-finals, Mathieu threw down the gauntlet by choosing us and we responded extremely well and stepped up our game," WILLIAMS added.
With the Monsoon Cup still at stake nothing could stop the best international match racers in their quest to win their quarter final matches to secure one of the four semi-final berths.
The Monsoon Cup is the final event in the World Match Racing Tour and was the deciding event in the 2008 ISAF World Match Racing Championship.
The eight teams contesting the quarter final stage had to battle heavy monsoon downpours, strong river current and gusty 15 to 20 knot winds.
Semi-Final Line Up
Through to the semi-finals are Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team, World Champion WILLIAMS and his Bahrain Team Pindar, Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) and his ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing and GILMOUR's Yanmar Racing.
Round robin winner Italian Paolo CIAN (ITA) of Team Shosholoza was up against 23-year-old Kiwi MINOPRIO. It took four matches for MINOPRIO to shake off the event leader.
"Fantastic result!" was MINOPRIO's reaction. "To get picked again after the round robin; last year we missed out on the semi-finals finishing 2-3 to GILMOUR and this year we beat CIAN 3-1, we are stoked. We had our time on distance really sorted and we were feeling very comfortable in the boat. We managed to win every start.
"In the first race [they lost to CIAN] we mucked up the tactics on the beat and then in the rest of the races we sorted it out."
Veteran match racing circuit skipper, Sweden's Magnus HOLMBERG of Victory Challenge, team went up against Australian MIRSKY. MIRSKY dominated each of their three matches, the last one showing just why MIRSKY has made his way quickly into the top ten of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings as he drove home his advantage to beat HOLMBERG by over four boatlengths.
"We convincingly beat Magnus. He is such a big name in the sport. It feels like all of our hard work and all of our experience, and all the practice we have had this year is finally paying off at the best and biggest event. We are really happy with how we are going," MIRSKY said.
RICHARD of French Match Racing Team/Team French Spirit, who held third place on the ISAF Match Racing World Championship leaderboard going into the Monsoon Cup, was up against defending Monsoon Cup champion WILLIAMS. WILLIAMS came out of the start line in each of their matches with incredible aggression. And was on fire winning three straight matches and qualifying for the semi-final stage.
"I don't think we have ever beaten RICHARD 3-0 in a best of five before. We have had so many close races over the years. To come out 3-0; we are really pleased with how we performed," WILLIAMS said.
Dato' Peter GILMOUR faced COL of French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge in his quarter-final bout. COL going into the Monsoon Cup was second on the World Match Racing Tour scoreboard. In the first match GILMOUR made the fatal mistake, for the second time in this event, drifting into the line of the race committee boat and collecting the anchor line. This closed him out of the first match.
He rebounded in the second, lost out in the third, fought back again in the fourth, and then again in the fifth sailing a tactically clever final race, hunting COL down to the last second. COL was awarded the win over the finish line but after a controversial jury decision the race was awarded to GILMOUR. COL's hopes of gaining the World Championship title were snatched away in a hearing rather than on the water. "I did not agree with decision however I will discuss this further with the umpires and learn from it," said COL.
Semi-finals resume tomorrow with WILLIAMS leading MINOPRIO 2-0 and GILMOUR leading MIRSKY 1-0. Follow the action live on the internet from 10:00 and on TV screens near you from 14:30-16:30 Malaysian time.
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) vs Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), 2-0
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) vs Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), 1-0
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL) d. Paolo CIAN (ITA), 3-1
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS) d. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), 3-0
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), 3-0
Peter GILMOUR (AUS) d. Sébastien COL (FRA), 3-2
Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 9-2
Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 9-2
Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), Black Match Racing / ETNZ, 8-3
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team / French Spirit, 6-5
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Bahrain Team Pindar, 6-5
Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team / K-Challenge, 5-6
Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 5-5*
Peter GILMOUR (AUS), Yanmar Racing Team, 5-6
Ben AINSLIE (GBR), TEAM ORIGIN, 5-6
Keith SWINTON (AUS), Black Swan Racing, 4-7
Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 3-8
Nurul Ain MD ISA (MAS), Perak Sailing Team, 0-11
* 1 Point deducted for damage
Read all the news from the Monsoon Cup here.
Monsoon Cup - www.monsooncup.com.my
World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(Top ten teams after Stage 8 of 9)
1. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Pindar, 92 points
2. Sébastien COL (FRA), French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge, 88
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), French Match Racing Team/ French Team Spirit, 77
4. Adam MINOPRIO (NZL), ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing Team, 53
4. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), Mirsky Racing Team, 53
6. Magnus HOLMBERG (SWE), Victory Challenge, 51
7. Mattias RAHM (SWE), Stena Bulk Sailing Team, 46
8. Paolo CIAN (ITA), Team Shosholoza, 43
9. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Alandia Sailing Team, 40
9. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Berntsson Sailing Team, 40
ISAF Match Racing World Championship - www.sailing.org/matchworlds