Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor
This week was an interesting one in the world of international sailing. This weekend saw the conclusion of the Match Race France, part of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). Match racing is a certain type of yacht racing in which two boats and their crews race four legs. The World Match Racing Tour is sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation and is raced on three continents. With the Argo Group Gold Cup, a key event in the WMRT, starting up on Oct. 2, both the teams strove to do their best at the Match Race France.
In stormy conditions off Marseille, France, the reigning world champion, Englishman Ian Williams, and his crew faced off against William Tiller of New Zealand. The stormy conditions did not seem to trouble Williams, who has had four podium finishes in his last five events. Williams soundly defeated Tiller in the first match, getting out to a two boat-length lead, up to the first mark. The second match was closer, and Tiller was poised to beat Williams. During the final leg of the race, however, Williams gained control and beat Tiller by just a boat length. This puts Williams and his crew in first place among the other skippers racing in the WMRT. He is followed by Björn Hansen, a Swede and skipper of the Mekonomen Sailing Team.
The next race, the Argo Group Gold Cup, is the pinnacle of match racing. The trophy for this event dates back to 1907 and the race takes place at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Pembroke, Bermuda. The United Kingdom has only won this event three times in the history of the race, and there is no doubt Williams is looking to make it four.