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Williams eyeing seventh title

Ian Williams and Team GAC Pindar will bid for a record seventh world match racing title at the same venue where they savoured their maiden success competing at that level more than a decade ago.

The British professional sailing team made a major breakthrough on the World Match Racing Tour after winning the 2006 Argo Group Gold Cup in Hamilton Harbour before being crowned as multiple world match racing champions.

“I remember winning back in 2006, my first major event win,” Williams told The Royal Gazette.

“What an honour it was and still is to have my name on such an historic and prestigious trophy.”

The King Edward VII Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Bermuda Gold Cup, presented by Argo Group, is the oldest trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts.

Regatta hosts, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and the World Match Racing Tour announced that the Bermuda Gold Cup will also host the 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship.

It will be the second time that Bermuda hosts the Open Match Racing World Championship having done so previously in 1991.

The Bermuda Gold Cup, which was postponed from mid-May to late October, has rejoined the World Match Racing Tour for the 2020 season.

It will be held from October 26 to 30.

It was one of four World Championship-level competitions on the Tour's 19-event calendar, however, because of Covid-19, many events were forced to take place on a local capacity or were cancelled.

“It is great to see the Bermuda Gold Cup back on the World Match Racing Tour after a few understandable years away due to the focus on the America's Cup,” Williams added.

The 43-year-old and his team-mates captured a second Gold Cup after beating two-times winner Johnie Berntsson 3-1 in last year's final. They are looking forward to defending their title among a formidable field boasting reigning World Champion, Phil Robertson, of New Zealand.

“Many of the greatest sailors in the world have competed at some point in the Bermuda Gold Cup,” he said. “This year will again be a very strong field, with past and current World Champions like Torvar Mirsky and Phil Robertson, and Gold Cup winners like Johnie Berntsson.”

He added: “Sailing in Hamilton Harbour is always very challenging, with each different wind direction making for a very different set of conditions. The team that wins will not necessarily be the one that masters all conditions, but the one that works them out enough to progress through each stage.”

As for his team's preparations, Williams said: “Preparations have, of course, been challenging this year, but everybody is in the same boat.

“We have been focused on multihull sailing and I've not stepped foot on a monohull since June of last year so, for sure, our expectations are low for the start of the regatta. Having said that, the great thing about match racing is that, provided you can progress to the next stage, early results get wiped and it is how you perform on the last day that really counts. ”

Johnie Berntsson, left, of Sweden, tussles with Ian Williams, of Britain, in Hamilton Harbour during the second day of the Argo Group Gold Cup last year

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Published September 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated September 23, 2020 at 11:14 pm)

Williams eyeing seventh title

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