The finale of world match-racing series, Monsoon Cup Malaysia, this season provided competitors, officials and fans with colourful stories to take home and ponder about before the start of the new World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) season in March.
Johor once again hosted the competition at a new venue of Puteri Harbour Marina. Another change was the introduction of the FAREAST 28R boats used for the first time in match-racing. The teams adapted well to the new environment and boats, despite some teething problems.
The familiar names at the top of the leaderboard – Ian Williams, Bjorn Hansen, Taylor Canfield and Keith Swinton – came to Johor each with a chance at the world championship title. Long story short, the winner of Monsoon Cup Malaysia will become world champion.
Day 1 of racing provided a very nice surprise for Malaysians as Johor-born Hazwan Hazim Dermawan and hazOne Racing Team overcame Swinton and Black Swan Racing in their opening qualifying round match. A local team has not won a single point in the past decade, not since Tiffany Koo’s Selangor Gapurna – a mixed team of Malaysian and international sailors – secured a point in their Monsoon Cup Malaysia campaign.
Hazwan earned his ticket to compete in this regatta after emerging as the overall champion of the local match-racing circuit Liga Layar Malaysia (LLM) for 2015, winning five of the eight stages held throughout the year. He was in the headlines again on the second day of competition when he scored a win against Hansen of Nautiska Racing, who came to Johor ranked second on the WMRT leaderboard. Hazwan could have secured a couple more wins but his opponents took advantage of his lack of experience on the international stage and showed Hazwan how it’s done.
Other upsets include two wins over five-time world champion Williams of GAC Pindar by upstarts Reuben Corbett of Corbett Racing and Nicolai Sehested of TREFOR Match Racing. Williams was also beaten by last year’s Monsoon Cup Malaysia semifinalist Eric Monnin of Team SailBox.
The weather became the opponent to watch out for as squalls and light wind played havoc with the schedule. The quarter-final round stopped halfway due to adverse weather, which put a slight damper to the proceedings but the show continued despite the challenges.
Day 5 saw a happy Pricipal Race Officer David Tallis as the sun came out along with a steady wind up to over 11 knots and the race team was able to complete the semi-final, petit-final and final rounds with a bit of time to spare before the prize giving ceremony.
Williams was just too good for his opponents – Hansen in the semis and Canfield in the final – and showed everybody why he is the one to lift the WMRT championship trophy for a record-breaking sixth time.
The new WMRT season will have major changes to its format, with the introduction of the M32 catamarans at most legs. The first stage will be held in Fremantle, Australia from 2 to 7 March.
Final standings Monsoon Cup Malaysia 2015/2016
Champion: Ian Williams (GAC Pindar)
Runner-up: Taylor Canfield (US One)
Third: Bjorn Hansen (Nautiska Racing)
Fourth: Eric Monnin (Team SailBox)
Fifth: Joachim Aschenbrenner (Aschenbrenner Racing)
Sixth: Nicolai Sehested (TREFOR Match Racing)
Seventh: Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing)
Eighth: Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team)
Ninth: Keith Swinton (Black Swan Racing)
Tenth: Reuben Corbett (Corbett Racing)
Eleventh: Maximilian Soh (Team Red Dot)
Twelfth: Hazwan Dermawan (hazOne Racing Team)
Final standings WMRT Leaderboard 2015/2016
?1. Ian Williams (GAC Pindar) 142 points
- Taylor Canfield (US One) 132 points?
- Bjorn Hansen (Nautiska Racing) 130 points?
- Phil Robertson (WAKA Racing) 100 points?
- Eric Monnin (Team SailBox) 96 points?
- Keith Swinton (Black Swan Racing) 96 points?
- Joachim Aschenbrenner (Aschenbrenner Racing) 92 points?
- Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) 76 points?
- Reuben Corbett (Corbett Racing) 76 points?
- Nicolai Sehested (Trefor Match Racing) 65 points