Ian Williams is crowned the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Champion

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    10 December 2012



Malaysia, December 7 2012 – GAC Pindar skipper Ian Williams has clinched his fourth International Sailing Federation (ISAF) World Match Racing title after his crew’s epic win against rival Bjorn Hansen in the quarter-finals at the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.

It was what everyone had been waiting for, the battle of the giants, Williams vs Hansen, at the exciting climax of the 2012 Alpari World Match Racing Tour. The team arrived in Malaysia only two and a half points behind the Tour leader Bjorn Hansen with all to play for. The two world-class skippers had been battling hard all season with Hansen dominating the first part of the year only to see Williams find his stride and come back with a vengeance.

Williams and GAC Pindar meant business from the start, storming through the second day of the round robin with Hansen on the back foot. Roles were reversed however and Hansen came out on top on the leader board giving him the choice of opponent in the quarter-finals. Hansen was one race up against Williams but his hopes for a clear lead were dashed in the second match when he was penalised twice, once in the pre-start and once for clipping the mark. Williams took clear advantage, leveling the score and proving that it was still anyone’s game.

There was everything to fight for in the third match and the tense pre-start proved just that. Williams and Hansen danced around each other both trying to get the favoured side but Williams was able to take an early lead. Hansen was not going down without a fight and found more pressure than the Brit, stealing the lead and the advantage. It looked like the Swede once again had the upper hand, but Williams committed and went on the attack and in for the kill. Piling his dirty air onto Hansen, the Swede had no choice but to change course. Williams then found the speed that he needed to accelerate, steaming ahead from behind with his bow crossing the finish line taking the score to match point.

It all came down to match four, with conditions incredibly shifty and hard to read and with two skippers so evenly matched, tensions were running high. Although Williams seemed to start well, it was clear that Hansen had the better pressure. Undeterred, Williams went once again on the attack, causing all sorts of problems for Hansen. The Brit managed to roll his opponent and although the Swede fought hard closing in on the Brit – Williams and GAC Pindar were just ahead to keep their lead to the finish, breaking out into celebratory cheers as they crossed the finish.

Williams made history in 2007 as the first British sailor to win the ISAF world title and won another two times in 2008 and 2011. His record four titles now equal that of the match racing legend, Australian skipper Peter Gilmour who announced his retirement only days ago.

Following his fourth World champion title, he paid tribute to Gilmour: "To win the title for a fourth time is indescribable. To match Peter Gilmour is an amazing feeling. He is a legend of the sport and to match that is such an honour.

"This is the second time we’ve done it back to back, first in 07 and 08 and now 11, 12. Since we put this team together at the start of 2011, we’ve won seven or eight events and now we have two world championships in two years – it’s incredible."

Andrew Pindar, Team Principal of GAC Pindar, adds: "My true feelings – I was very nervous today, the conditions were difficult which means it’s a bit of a lottery for all the sailors. Ian’s constant professionalism shone through again. He analyses, he prepares, he breaks down the problem in front of him and he went out there to win it. His fourth world title in six years; that truly is an incredible achievement and we are really looking forward to him competing for his fifth next year, which if he wins, he’ll break the record.

"Since our first meeting with Ian, it was clear he possessed an exceptional talent that combined with his professional and disciplined approach to sailing has taken him to the pinnacle of the sport of sailing. It is fitting that with the additional backing of GAC Ian has shown yet again what a force he is."