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HAMPSHIRE sailor Ian Williams has been crowned match racing world champion for an historic fourth time after beating his arch rival in the season finale.

Lymington’s Williams defeated Swede Bjorn Hansen, the only other skipper in contention for the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour title, in the quarter final of the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.

Hansen’s exit from the tournament gifted Williams and his Team GAC Pindar crew their fourth overall win on the tour, following victories in 2007, 2008 and 2011.

It sees Williams equal the all-time record of four world titles held by Australian star Peter Gilmour in the match racing discipline, which pits two teams against each other in a tactical battle around a short inshore course.

“It’s incredible to match Peter Gilmour on four world titles – it’s indescribable really,” said 35-year-old Williams, a former lawyer who took up professional sailing in 2005.

“He’s such a legend in the sport and now I really feel we can go on and win some more.”

Full story in today's Daily Echo