IAN Williams will begin his bid for a record fifth world match racing title next week.
The Lymington sailor won four world championships, from 2007-12, in one of the sport’s most exciting disciplines, which involves aggressive duels between teams in two identically-matched boats.
Williams will became the first person to win five world championships if he is successful over the next six months.
The 37 year-old starts his latest campaign with Match Race Germany, an event he won for the first time at the start of last season’s competition, having finished third in 2006.
It takes place on the picturesque Lake Constance, from June 5-9.
A familiar format including five other events – the Stena Match Cup, Sweden (June 30 – July 5); Sopot Match Race, Poland (July 31 – August 3); Chicago Match Cup (September 17 – 21); Argo Group Gold Cup, Bermuda (October 21 – 26); Monsoon Cup, Malaysia (November 25 – 29) – will decide the overall champion.
“It’s about making sure you’re in the mix going into the final round, when points are doubled,” explained Williams.
“The key is to be consistent because different boats are used at each regatta.”
Williams won a warm-up regatta in Hong Kong last week, having recently finished second in a similar event.
He heads to Poland tomorrow for his final preparations, with the same GAC Pindar team as last year.
But he is up against a strong field, which includes defending champion Taylor Canfield and debutant David Gilmour, son of America’s Cup winner Peter Gilmour – the only other man with four world match racing titles.
“Taylor will be strong again, he’s a young guy who’s improving all the time but he’s got the added pressure of being the defending champion and I know from experience that that’s hard to do, “ said Williams, who is wary of several threats from the other seven skippers.
“Francesco Bruni, from the Luna Rossa America’s Cup team, is coming back and I would expect him to be strong as well. Then there’s the experience of Bjorn Hansen and Phil Robertson, who finished third last year.”
Ian Williams is an ambassador for GAC Pindar. Visit gacpindar.com.