Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Match Race Open de Espana, Calpe: Ian Williams (GBR) Dominates VIII Open de Espana

Williams (GBR) leads PAM (FRA) in the finals. Image copyright RCNC.

by Pierre Orphanidis as corrected by SailRaceWin

The British match racer, 5th in world rankings, wins the Open de España after scoring three straight bullets against Robertson in the semifinals and then another three against Morvan in the finals.

Ian Williams was definitely on a roll on Saturday in Calpe. Not only did he continue his winning streak from Friday, he did it with great form. Going into the event?s closing day, he and Pierre-Antoine Morvan had a 2-0 lead over their respective semifinal opponents, Phil Robertson and Simone Ferrarese.

Morvan didn´t face any problem extending his score to 3-0 and moving to the finals. He was off the starting line with an advantage over his Italian opponent and by playing it safe, he covered Ferrarese to the finish line. On the other hand, the race between Robertson and Williams was probably the most interesting and intense, and the only one of the day with a lead change.

Williams and Morvan cross tacks. Image copyright RCNC.

Robertson squeezed Williams at the committee boat end of the line, started the first beat on a good pace and in front and rounded the top mark ahead of Williams. However the race was far from over. Williams managed to reach Robertson in the first run and started a gybing duel that resulted in the New Zealander getting a penalty. Williams squeezed inside in the leeward buoy and stayed ahead until the finish line.

Although intense, especially in the pre-starts, the three final races lacked the drama of the semifinals and with a brief exception in the second race, Williams had a commanding lead. All three of his starts were perfect and it seemed that in every beat, he would extend his lead over Pierre-Antoine Morvan (PAM).

Ian Williams' winning TEAM GAC Pindar. Image copyright RCNC.

After rounding the first weather mark of the second race in the lead, Williams and his crew had a difficult spinnaker hoist, losing precious seconds and meters that Morvan quickly took advantage of. However, Williams showed his strong form once again by forcing a penalty on his opponent down the run, regaining the lead. From that point there was nothing the French could do. Williams clearly dominated all three races, but it was PAM who, as first non-Tour Card holder, won a well-deserved ticket to St Moritz Match Race.

Team GAC Pindar win first prize. Image copyright RCNC.

Final Results
Place Name Country

1st Ian Williams Great Britain
2nd Pierre-Antoine Morvan France
3rd Philip Robertson New Zealand
4th Simone Ferrrarese Italy
5th Keith Swinton Australia
6th Bertrand Pace France
7th Evan Walker Australia
8th Staffan Lindberg Finland
9th Manu Weiller Spain
10th Reuben Corbett New Zealand
11th Björn Hansen Sweden
12th Álvaro Marinho Portugal