Williams books place in finals
Ian Williams' GAC Pindar team will feature in tomorrow’s Chicago Match Cup Final after convincing wins in his Quarter Final and Semi Final to set up a tie against Bjorn Hansen or Jordan Reece, whose Semi Final will continue tomorrow morning.
The day’s sailing was again interrupted by thunderstorms and light, shifting winds in Chicago but Williams made the best of the tough conditions, beating Sweden's Johnie Berntsson 3-1 in his Quarter Final and the USVI's Taylor Canfield 3-0 in the Semi Final. Williams, said: “It’s been one of those days where you really have to keep your head out of the boat and be aware of the conditions. We were always fast and I think that’s what took us through.”
A great example of the reigning World Champion’s mastery at work was in his recovery from earning a penalty and losing the pre-start to Canfield in their last Semi Final match, but then passing and building enough of a lead to pull off his penalty turn on the second upwind leg. Williams’ choice of the favoured side of a huge wind shift on the first downwind leg helped him to this 3-0 vault into the Finals.
Commenting on the next round, Williams, said: “We’d rather race Jordan Reece in the Final, but if we end up racing Bjorn [Hansen] in the Final it will be important in terms of the Tour leaderboard. We’re determined to win every race, whoever it’s against but if it’s Bjorn, it’ll be super important. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in their match tomorrow.”
Williams and Hansen have been battling it out at the top of the Tour leaderboard all season and Hansen has taken the advantage going into the Chicago Match Cup, having eliminated his opponent from Stena Match Cup Sweden as well as coming out on top in the final of the Korea Match Cup earlier in the season.
Taylor Canfield was disappointed to have been eliminated from his home regatta by Williams but feels that the experience will help in his drive up the ISAF World Match Race Rankings from 19th position, as he looks to secure a Tour Card for the 2013 season. Canfield, said: “I feel like the team came together well in tough conditions. It was a pretty positive event for us. We’d like to hop on the Tour next year if the funding is available and with bonus points from this event, hopefully that’ll help. If we can get the Tour Card for 2013 we’d love to be back at the Chicago Match Cup on home waters next year.”
In the remaining Semi Final, Australia's Jordan Reece leads 2-1 against Bjorn Hansen, the match ultimately being postponed until tomorrow due to light winds. Hansen had been one of the favourites here in Chicago, coming off his victories in Korea and Sweden, and winning his place in the Quarter Finals early, but now he’s on the ropes, down 2-1 to the young Australians.
Reece, said: “We had another good day today sailing well in the quarters and then doing really well against Bjorn [Hansen] in the Semi’s to get back to 2-1 from a match down. We were a little bit nervous going into the match as we know that he’s on great form at the moment, but if we can do more of the same tomorrow and sail as we did today, we can pick up a win and move into the Finals."
The shifty breeze that caught out Canfield played out well for Reece in his last match with Hansen. After getting locked out of the start by the Swedes, Reece gained back enough to challenge them on the first run, and then by splitting to the left side on the second beat he received the same benefit Williams got to take the lead and put the series in his favour 2-1.
“The guys did an awesome job in tough conditions and when the winds are light and shifting like they were you just have to focus on your own race and rather than concentrating on the match racing it’s a bit more like fleet, finding the pressure, which we did really well at the end there.”
The remaining Semi Final matches will continue on Sunday, followed by the Chicago Match Cup Final and Petit Final, which will take place at 1400 CDT.