In the end it was Taylor Canfield’s US one team that carried WAKA Racing skipper Phil Robertson on its shoulders as part of his victory celebration—despite the fact that it had been Robertson who’d knocked them out of Malaysia’s Monsoon Cup just hours earlier.
The reason? By defeating defending Alpari Match Racing World Tour champ Ian Williams in the finals, Robertson had also just given them the overall 2013 tour victory—no less on their first year on the tour.
The situation was all the more stressful for the USone team because they could have locked up the overall victory on their own by simply making it into the finals. Instead, they’d been forced to watch from the grandstand while their fate was decided for them.
As for Robertson, whose WAKA Racing team ended up third overall for the year behind Williams’ GAC Pindar squad, the day couldn’t have been sweeter.
“It’s been a real long time coming,” Robertson said. “The boys put in a massive effort, and everything went our way today. That’s what you need to happen in finals when the pressure’s on.”
As had been the case throughout the series, the final three races were hard fought from start to finish, all within spitting distance of the fans looking on from the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa at the mouth of the Terenggamu River.
Although neither crew ever made actual contact with the dock itself—as had been the case in the semis when French skipper Mathieu Richard crashed into a jetty while battling Williams prior to one of the starts—the action remained startlingly close, with Robertson winning all three races by imposing penalties on the competition.
“The penalties killed us today,” said Williams, who has four tour victories to his credit. “We normally try sail to keep the umpires out of it completely, but we didn’t manage to do that…The tour has never been decided in the finals of the final event before, and I think it shows how tight it is. This shows we’re going to have to step up our game to win it again.”
For his efforts, Robertson came away with $100,000 in prize money for his Monsoon Cup win and $70,000 for having taken third overall. Canfield won $48,000 for his third-place finish in Malaysia and $100,000 for his tour win, which included stops in Germany, Sweden, Korea, Bermuda and Chicago. For more on the event, visit wmrt.com.
Photos courtesy of Alpari World Match Racing Tour