Williams regains Land Rover Cup

British match racing win in southern Portugal

Tuesday January 14th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected
Ian Williams, sailing with his brother Mark, Joe Llewellyn and Simon Fisher has returned to England having won back the title he first won in 1999.

Held in J24s in Vila Real de Sto. Antonio in the Algarve, the Land Rover Cup was fought out by eight teams coming from Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Italy and the UK. The form guide was upset early on when Bjorn Hansen of Sweden, ranked 6 on the ISAF World Rankings, fell short of making the semi finals. This left Hugo Rocha and Francisco Neto, both from Portugal, to contest one semi final and Martin Angsell of Sweden to face Ian Williams from the UK in the other.

The first semi final between the Portuguese teams was hard fought with several penalties awarded before Rocha completed a penalty turn at the finish of the deciding race to progress to the final.

In the other semi final, Angsell took the early advantage choosing the right hand side of the course and was able to convert the advantage into a useful lead by the top mark. However, Williams came back up the second beat and near the top was able to force his way to the right hand side where a shift enabled him to prevent Angsell from tacking for the mark. A sharp gybe-set towards the favoured side then allowed Williams to stretch away to the finish. The second race was much more comfortable for Williams who led from start to finish.

The first to two final started much as the semi final had ended for Williams. A comfortable lead at the start allowed a close early cover before splitting away to the favoured right into an unassailable lead. In the second race, a much closer start saw Williams control the right hand side and when Rocha tried to attack, Williams each time bounced him out to the left resulting each time in a gain to Williams. Williams then proceeded to pull away for another comfortable win to take the title.

Williams commented "This is a great way to start the year. With the results we achieved at the end of 2002, we are now in a fantastic position to launch an assault on the top 20 and even progress further up the rankings this year."

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