Young Kiwi sailor William Tiller has claimed a top match-race victory in Russia, seizing the Sails of White Nights Congress Palace Cup from three-time champion Andrey Arbuzov.
Tiller and his Full Metal Jacket match racing crew knocked out Arbuzov, 3-2, in the quarterfinals stage of the regatta, run by the Yacht Club of Saint Petersburg. In an action-packed decider, the New Zealand crew took out the fifth race by one second.
He then beat fellow Kiwi, Reuben Corbett, in a tight semifinal - an aggressive five matches riddled with penalties.
In the final against Russian Vladimir Lipavsky, Tiller won all three races to claim the title in the ISAF grade 2 regatta.
Tiller, who finished the round robin phase in second spot, said his young crew were thrilled with the victory in conditions that were at times stressful.
"The regatta is held in the heart of the city on a river that has about two knots of water moving under you, making for some interesting racing. All week the breeze was against the tide, meaning leading at the top mark by ten lengths could be cut to three. Or even worse the trailing boat could roll, so at times downwind sailing was very stressful," he said.
Two Kiwi skippers ended up on the dais, with Corbett beating another Russian skipper, Sergey Musikhin, in the sail-off for third.
Full Metal Jacket crew of Tiller, Brad Farrand, Harry Thurston, Jono Spurdle and Shaun Mason, are now ranked 15th on the ISAF match racing rankings.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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