Marstrand, Sweden (June 29th, 2017) – Ian Williams has been coming to Marstrand to compete since 2005. After experiencing triumphs and defeats on the event’s Race Arena, he knows the challenges of the unique sailing venue better than any skipper in the line up for GKSS Match Cup Sweden 2017.
During the last 15 years, Ian Williams has become a dominant force on the World Match Racing Tour and won the World Championship six times. He has experienced many of the world’s top sailing venues and says, “Match Cup Sweden has always been a stand out regatta on the World Match Racing Tour”. And, he remembers clearly how it felt entering the regatta for the first time:
“It was really just a fantastic opportunity to sail against the best sailors in the World and learn from them. Our round robin group included Russell Coutts, Ed Baird and Dean Barker with 7 World Championship titles between them. We finished 15th out of 16!” Williams has reached three finals in the event, winning one and loosing two against local hero Björn Hansen. And even if he has experienced having the crowds on the cliffs cheering for the opponent, he says that one of the strengths with the venue is how close the spectators get to the action on the water.
“Marstrand fjord is probably the best natural amphitheatre in the world for this size of boat and race course. And with such high sides, it makes for a great vantage point to watch the racing. That is one of the reasons that we get such good crowds each year. I think many of the crowd come every year and as a result they are also very educated as to the racing and what is going on – you can really hear them react to things that happen on the race course.”
Last year the crowds were given a completely new experience as the event shifted to a new format with M32 catamarans. Before the event took place there were plenty of sceptics that said that the arena would be too tight for the new fast boats but as soon as the racing started, those voices were silenced.
“I think that the Race Arena in Marstrand is just big enough for the M32s”, says Ian Williams and continues:
“Of course it is perfect if we get the wind out of the west, although I think a northerly or southerly breeze would be quite challenging for the race committee. It is a very tricky venue with swirling winds and currents. But I think that the change to M32s has evened up the playing field in terms of local knowledge, as what worked in the DS37s, often tacking up the rocks on the north side, is not so effective in the M32s.”
In 2016 Williams and his GAC Pindar team were knocked out of the regatta in the quarterfinals, and ended up as seventh in the World Championship. This season they are currently sixth on the scoreboard, much thanks to their win at the Congressional Cup in California.
“GAC Pindar just cannot wait to get back out racing. We did not have a very good start to the year in Perth, but came back strong in Long Beach, so we are just going to focus on each round and see how far we can get. GAC Pindar will be a slightly different crew for Match Cup Sweden, so our expectations remain cautious, but if we can gel quickly together I think we can be a very strong team”
GKSS Match Cup Sweden begins on Monday July 3rd with racing starting at 10 AM CET.