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Hampshire sailor bidding for world glory
3:38pm Tuesday 5th March 2013 in Hampshire Sport
Hampshire sailor Ian Williams leads an impressive cast of match racing skippers for the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
The former Olympic silver medallist is one of eight professional match racing skippers selected to compete on the 2013 tour.
The four-time tour champion returns to defend his title for a fifth time under the familiar colours of his GAC Pindar team.
“This year is a quality line up of skippers on the tour”, said Williams.
“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.’ Eager to snatch the title from Williams is 2012 runner-up Bjorn Hansen (Sweden) with his Hansen Sailing Team, and 2012 podium finisher Phil Robertson (New Zealand) sailing with WAKA Racing.
Robertson finished third in the final Tour rankings at the end of 2012 following a second place finish at the Tour finale event, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia.
2009 ISAF Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio (New Zealand) also joins the line up of skippers with his BlackMatch team in a committed return to the Tour for 2013.
Competing on the Tour for the second year running are young Australian talent Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team and French skipper Pierre-Antoine Morvan, keen to improve on his 2012 performance.
With two Tour event wins in 2012 including an impressive victory at the Tour finale event in Malaysia, Taylor Canfield (Virgin Islands) has also blasted his way onto the Tour after finishing seventh overall last year.
With the option of racing at all 7 events this year, Canfield’s prospects look very good to chase the title.
Completing the line up of skippers is Swede Johnie Berntsson. Sailing under his new sponsor, Stena Sailing Team, Berntsson is looking to re-create the form that brought him victory at the 2008 Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda and a third place finish on the 2011 Tour Championship.
The 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour starts in Germany on May 16 on the waters of Lake Constance in Southern Germany.