Alpari World Match Racing Tour fifth leg, the St Moritz Match Race, gets underway next week at the prestigious Segel-Club, St Moritz in the Engadin region of the southeastern Swiss Alps from 28th August to 2nd September. GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams is making his final preparations ahead of the event.
WMRT St Moritz Match Race 2012
The reigning ISAF World Match Racing Champion is determined to continue his winning streak having taken a convincing victory at the Chicago Match Cup in July. Despite a last minute crew change in the all-important final when tactician Bill Hardesty was taken ill, Williams and GAC Pindar kept their eyes on the prize and took the title after winning three straight matches against Australian Jordan Reece.
With a winning crew consisting of Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bill Hardesty (Tactician), experienced Farr 40 sailor Matt Cassidy (Bowman) and professional sailor Gerard Mitchell (Mainsail Trimmer), Williams has all the tools he needs for another successful event. With three podium results already under his belt on the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing circuit, the Brit is only just behind the Tour leader Bjorn Hansen with 77 and 81 points respectively.
The British skipper comments: 'The St Moritz Match Race is one of my favourite events on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. It gave us our first semi-final on the Tour in 2005 and GAC Pindar has been on the podium there in each of the last five years. It would be fantastic if we could repeat our victory of 2007 although the competition will, as ever, be very tough.'
Andrew Pindar, Team Principal of GAC Pindar adds: 'With so many fabulous destinations on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, it is certainly hard to pick a favourite location. For me, it has to be St Moritz and for a variety of reasons. Six years ago, I was invited as a guest of UBS along with Mike 'Moose' Sanderson, who we were sponsoring at the time. Being in St Moritz with Moose was great as I had a personal running commentary on the ins and outs of match racing plus he introduced me to some of the world's top sailors at the event. Amongst the famous names competing was a British sailor who despite not having any commercial funding or endorsement was doing rather well. Of course this was Ian Williams and after being introduced, we signed Ian a few weeks later to carry our name, which he has done ever since.
'Winter or summer, St Moritz is a stunningly beautiful place with fabulous hotels, restaurants and shops. Add a world class sailing event on the lake and you have everything you need to provide a spectacle for corporate hospitality and tourism. I wish Ian and GAC Pindar the best of luck and hope that he is able to regain his King of the Mountain crown.'
Williams still remains top of the ISAF World Match Racing Rankings list which was released last month and is still on track to winning his fourth World Championship title. If the British skipper is successful in his 2012 campaign, he will equal that of Australian Peter Gilmour's record four titles.
2012 WMRT Tour Card Holders
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team
Simone Ferrarse (ITA) Ferrerese Racing Team
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team
Laurie Jury (NZ) Zoke Kiwi Match
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan
Phil Robertson (NZ) WAKA Racing Team
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Ian Williams (GBR), GAC Pindar
GAC Pindar website