Sunday, 21 November 2010
Will Tiller, of FMJ Racing. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.com/WMRT
On finals day at the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships, hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, today, we have an interview from Anne Hinton who recently caught up with petite-finalist, and latest young Kiwi match racing skipper to take part in the World Match Racing Tour, Will Tiller, of FMJ Racing.
Tiller took part in the Danish Open on the World Match Racing Tour this year, beat Phil Robertson of Waka Racing to win the Warren Jones Regatta 2010, was (without his regular crew) runner-up to Josh Junior at the New Zealand Youth Match Racing Championships, RPNYC, Wellington, 2010. He has also won the Governor's Cup twice, and the Harken International Youth Match Racing on Sydney Harbour in 2010. Tiller is a graduate of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Lion Foundation Youth Scheme.
AH: How, in what, and at what age, did you start sailing?
WT: I started sailing crewing for my dad in a Sunburst at the age of 6.
AH: What was your progression (e.g. P class/Starlings) through boats/events?
WT: After sailing in the Sunburst for a few years I moved into the Optimist and then progressed through P class, Starling.
Will Tiller leads fellow Kiwi, Phil Robertson, in the finals of the Warren Jones Regatta, Perth, 2010. Image copyright John Roberson.
AH: When did you do the RNZYS youth programme and get into match racing?
WT: I joined the youth programme at 16 and graduated after four years. In my first year I was on mainsheet before helming for three years.
AH: Which people/teams have you competed against a lot?
WT: I have most consistently raced Josh Junior, but other rivals would have to be Reuben Corbett and Phil Robertson.
Will Tiller leads Reuben Corbett across the finishing line at the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships 2009. Image copyright RNZYS.
AH: Please could you mention key results throughout your sailing career?
WT: 1st 2009 & 2010 Governor’s Cup
1st CYCA Bavaria
1st Harken International Youth Match Racing 2010
1st Warren Jones Regatta 2010
AH: What university/career have you had alongside the sailing?
WT: I have completed my first year of engineering at Auckland University, but have put that on hold for now to sail as much as possible.
AH: What made you decide to take on match racing internationally?
WT: After getting a real feel for match racing from the youth programme, a few of us graduating got together and decided to form the team ‘FMJ’ and take on the world match racing scene.
Will Tiller, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason with the Governor's Cup in 2010 - their second time of winning it. Image copyright Balboa Yacht Club.
AH: How do you see your sailing progressing into the future?
WT: For my sailing going into the future it’s all about working hard with our ‘FMJ’ team to get onto the world tour. I’m also really keen to do other racing off the match racing scene to make sure I don’t get to one dimensional.
AH: Of the major events – Olympics/Volvo/America’s Cup – which do you want to do (and why)?
WT: To race in the America’s Cup or the Volvo would be an awesome achievement and a huge challenge; either of these would be the pinnacle for me.
AH: What support have you had in your sailing?
WT: I have received a lot of support from my family all the way through my sailing which has been awesome.
Handshakes as Will Tiller, Harry Thurston and Shaun Mason celebrate winning the Governor's Cup for the second year in a row in 2010. They had decorated the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron label on the mainsail with heart stickers! Image copyright Balboa Yacht Club.
AH: Who have been the most influential people in your sailing?
WT: I would have to say my father, he got me into the sport and has been giving me advice from then on.
AH: Who do you most look up to in sailing in NZ/internationally, and why?
WT: Gavin Brady, I really look up to him because he came through the youth programme and has gone on to do great things with his yachting.
AH: What sponsors have you had in your sailing?
WT: Our main Sponsor has been Chris Meads who owns the yacht ‘Full Metal Jacket’ without him our match racing wouldn’t be possible so we are extremely grateful for his support.
Will Tiller (NZL) to windward of Bjorn Hansen (SWE) at the World Match Racing Tour's Danish Open 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.com/WMRT
AH: How did you develop the sailing programme of training/events to compete in for 2010?
WT: This year was our first hit out on the international match racing scene, we learnt a lot and are looking forward to developing our team into the future. As a team at the beginning of the season we sat down and planned the regattas we wanted to compete in. From this we worked out what sort of training we were going to need to do, that being out on the water and in the gym.
AH: What have been the highlights of racing over the past year for you?
WT: Winning the Warren Jones at the start of this year would be the top highlight, but others would be 2nd at Young 88 Nats and defending our Governor’s Cup title.
AH: Who do you see as your main opposition in the NZ Match Racing Nationals 2010?
WT: Every race is going to be tough but Reuben, Phil and Josh will be hard to beat. [Note from SailRaceWin: Will was spot on here! Correct prediction of the semi-finalists prior to the event]
Will Tiller (NZL) versus Bjorn Hansen (SWE) in the World Match Racing Tour's Danish Open 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/www.myimage.com/WMRT
AH: What plans do you have for racing in 2011?
WT: We are looking at continuing our match racing into 2011 with the goal of getting our ranking inside the top 20.
AH: What developments in the sport of sailing would you like to see in the future – in NZ and internationally?
WT: It would be awesome if the sport could develop more of a following from the public and was more media friendly.
AH: Many thanks for your time and all the best for your future sailing career
NB Interviews with Reuben Corbett of Black Sheep Racing, and Phil Robertson of Waka Racing - both also in the semi-finals of the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championships 2010 - are also available on the SailRaceWin website, by clicking on their names.