While Canfield was getting the better of his arch-rival in the pre-starts, once out of the blocks GAC Pindar was just coaxing maximum speed out of the FarEast 28R keelboat on the challenging, ever-changing Straits of Johor.
The British skipper admitted that the US Virgin Islander had brought his “A game” to the pre-starts, as US One managed to stick penalties on GAC Pindar in both of the final two matches. However Williams had a clear boatspeed edge that left Canfield scratching his head. The British skipper paid tribute to his team – mainsheet trimmer Gerry Mitchell, headsail trimmer Mal Parker and tactician Chris Main – for digging him out of a few holes.
“I can’t say enough about these guys, I feel like I let them down a bit today. A fantastic job by all of them and to come back in that last race, buried off the line, a penalty down, to be able to overtake and sail away was just amazing. Chris was nailing the shifts, and Gerry and Mal were keeping us fast. We could cross when we needed to, and that was the key to that match.”
Canfield, the 2013 World Champion, was understandably downbeat. “After dominating all three starts, it’s definitely not what we hoped for,” said the US One skipper, for whom the new era of M32 multihull racing can’t come fast enough. “Ian and his guys sailed a hell of a day; they took down Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and took us down in the Finals. We thought we were going pretty well, starting well, but they simply outsailed us in the Finals. I’m looking forward to the next rematch.”
The previous evening, Canfield had attempted to upset team morale on GAC Pindar by announcing that he would be racing next season with Williams’ tactician, Chris Main. However, Williams said the announcement had achieved the opposite effect. “I think it really helped clear the air between me and Chris. It galvanized the team and really helped lift us to a higher level today. So, thanks for that Taylor!” And so the bitter rivalry continues as the Tour moves into multihulls. “It does feel like the end of an era,” said Williams of his time racing monohull keelboats, and now looking forward to a new format Tour in high-speed M32 catamarans. “It’s an era we’ve dominated, thanks to these guys, and thanks to GAC Pindar.”