World match racing champion goes cat sailing

Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images
Team GAC Pindar's Ian Williams on his action packed year
An action-packed year ahead for British match racer Ian Williams: Team GAC Pindar have nominated him as skipper not just on the World Match Racing Tour but also of their new Extreme Sailing Series campaign. Also there was the prospect of Williams continuing with David Murphy’s new American team Ironbound on the RC44 circuit. “It is going to be a busy year, but not quite as busy as published. I am not sailing the 44 anymore,” admits Williams. Even with the Extreme Sailing Series and the Tour there will be clashes. The Istanbul event at the end of May coincides with Match Race Germany for example, but, as Williams points out, one benefit of the Tour is that you only have to count your best five events from eight, so you don’t have to do all the events to win. “Obviously doing them all gives you a better chance of winning, but with the way the scoring works, if you have five good ones with extra points in Malaysia, Ben [Ainslie] showed last year that you could do it without doing the whole thing.” The biggest challenge facing Williams this year, will be making the transition from match racing in monohulls to fleet racing on tight courses aboard catamarans in the Extreme Sailing Series. Williams has sailed an Extreme 40 before, but not raced one, which is why this last week he has been in Oman learning the ropes. “I think it is going to be quite a big challenge for us. The standard on the Extreme Sailing Series is going to be very high this year. As soon as the Cup teams come in obviously they bring in a lot of resource with them and so they will obviously be very hard to beat as will the more established teams on the