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Williams in hunt for fifth title

In the running: former Gold Cup winner Williams

Argo Group Gold Cup winners Ian Williams, of GAC Pindar, and Taylor Canfield, of US One, remain the favourites to clinch the Alpari World Match Racing Tour championship heading into next month’s Monsoon Cup Malaysia, the final event of the 2014 campaign.

Englishman Williams, who is gunning for an unprecedented fifth title, holds a six-point advantage over US Virgin Islands skipper Canfield, the champion, at the top the leaderboard ahead of the season finale.

Williams, who won the Gold Cup in 2006, needs to finish within a place of Canfield to surpass the record he shares with Australian Peter Gilmour, who is another past Gold Cup winner.

In 2013, Williams narrowly missed out on achieving the record when he finished runner-up, five points behind Canfield.

“We’re six points ahead of Taylor and last year we were ten behind, so it is the same sort of magnitude and whichever team progresses furthest will probably win, unless something unusual happens, like last year, when we ended up only one place ahead with the second place in the final,” Williams said.

“For us, our approach is to try and win the regatta and if we do that we’ll be World Champions. He has more to think about trying to knock us out early.”

Canfield, whose victory in the Gold Cup came in 2012, his first Tour victory, feels good about his chances of defending his title.

“While we worked hard to close the gap in the overall standings after Williams took a big lead in the beginning of the season, we are in a position to still take the title,” he said. “It is our championship to win and Ian’s to lose.

“With the pressure on Williams, any mistakes will be costly as we only have to put one boat between us in the Monsoon Cup to win the championship.”

As it stands, any one of the top five teams could win the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Among them is another Gold Cup winner, Frenchman Matthieu Richard, of LunaJets, who is third behind Canfield.

Canfield defeated Williams 2-1 in the Petite Finals to claim third place at last October’s Gold Cup in Hamilton Harbour.