Ian Williams has decided to only concentrate on one discipline in 2013. The four-time winner of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour will not compete in the Extreme Sailing Series this year so that he can focus on a 5th World Championship.
But Williams won’t have it all his own way. With ‘young-guns’ like Taylor Canfield from the USA coming off the back of two big wins at the end of 2012 and the return of former World Champion Adam Minoprio, Williams and his GAC Pindar team will have to be at the top of their game.
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour has announced the 8 ‘Tour Card’ holders for the 2013 season. Williams said about the competition:
This year is a quality line up of skippers on the Tour. The list was well oversubscribed and that shows the high level of demand and competition that the Tour attracts. There will be some very close racing this year.
Tour Card holders get automatic entry into the majority of races on the tour, helping the tour itself to guarantee the best sailors at top events. The card system also gives some stability to teams who can plan budgets and tell sponsors which events they will be competing at. 17 teams applied for 8 available positions.
James Pleasance, Executive Director of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour commented on the system:
“The Tour Card system is a means to provide event promoters with access to a consistent pool of the world’s top match racers and this year demand for the Tour Cards has remained very high. This ensures high quality racing at events but at the same time, a regular group of skippers allows the Tour to build profiles via PR, media messaging and television coverage. The level of interest this year is outstanding, proving that the Tour provides first class competition and exceptional value to sailors and sponsors.”
The 2013 WMRT Tour Card Skippers…
As well as Ian Williams and his GAC Pindar team, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour has given cards to 2012 runner-up Bjorn Hansen (SWE) with his Hansen Sailing Team, and 2012 podium finisher Phil Robertson (NZL) sailing with WAKA Racing.
2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) will be back on the tour with his BlackMatch team. Minoprio is highly competitive, but has to return to match racing from the Volvo Ocean Race – a very different kind of sailing.
Australian talent Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team will be back again, as will French skipper Pierre-Antoine Morvan.
2012 saw some impressive results from Taylor Canfield. His US ONE team won the Argo Gold Cup in Bermuda and the tour finale event in Malaysia. Canfield has continued his form in early non-tour events in 2013. The success of a US based match racer is great for the sport.
Swedish sailor Johnie Berntsson rounds out the tour card list with his Stena Sailing Team.