N2E 71: Where family, favorites, good ole’ boats, and newcomers come together!

ENSENADA, Mexico, April 30, 2018 – Although trophies won in the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race honor those who have bested their competitors by hours, minutes and seconds, it was the difference between years that garnered the most cheers at the 71st awards ceremonies Sunday.

Photo Credit: Tom Walker

For the second time in three years, 91-year-old skipper Richard McNish was on stage collecting the City of Ensenada Trophy for Best Corrected Time, PHRF G, and the New York Yacht Club Trophy for Best Elapsed Time, Single Hull/Divided Rig. McNish has sailed Cheerio II, a 46-foot, 1931 yawl, in N2E for almost 20 years. Each year before the race, the certified State Historical Vessel is hauled out and checked over to make sure nothing is going to break.

McNish said they got a good start and were making great time until 2:30 am. Then the wind shut off, he said. Prior to that time, the YB Tracker was predicted an awards sweep for the boat. But it took a while to build to 2 knots, before finally catching a bigger breeze and Cheerio was happy again, McNish said.

For years, only “men of a certain age”, AKA over 50, crewed on Cheerio II. Recently though, McNish started taking on a couple of younger, yet experienced sailors as crew members. The collaborative group has worked really well, he said.

Conversely, the minimum age requirement to crew on ’s Ohana, is three. It was only the second time the classic 1982 Swede 55 sailed in N2E and the first with Hardesty’s son.

Photo Credit: “Father, Son, Grandson at sea, Courtesy of Joe Markee and Bill Hardesty

Hardesty, a 2014 Rolex ISAF World Sailor of the Year nominee and a 12-time world champion, turned a family cruiser into an award-winning long distance racer on their second try; taking home the coveted President of USA Trophy for Best Corrected – All PHRF and the Gil Knudson trophy for Best Corrected – PHRF D.

The seven-person crew, six of whom took turns at the helm, and for the most-part got involved in each position, sailed the boat to an overall corrected time behind only Mighty Merloe and Orion, the 60 and 70-foot trimarans that finished Friday before dark.

Aboard Ohana (which means family in Hawaiian), Friday evening the crew of Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and a couple of friends, watched the sunset and enjoyed a family-style dinner of pasta and a glass of wine. Cruisers, yes, but they take sailing seriously.

The weather was good to us, said Hardesty. Although they coasted for the last half-mile, it was about halfway down the course when became apparent that they were doing well. We were around some faster boats that we’re not used to sailing with, he said. Early weather predictions indicated better wind offshore, so we stuck with the plan, said navigator Frank Tybor. They did not fly the kite early, or moved inshore too early, wary of getting stuck.

Hardesty shared that boat does not have a large or fancy sail inventory. Which reduces the discussion about which one to use, said Markee. They flew the code zero for seven to eight hours, the spinnaker at night, and after 3 am when the wind became fleeting, went through everything they had and finished with a jib.

Although being sturdy, heavy; outfitted to go cruising and does not like to turn, the crew nurtured Ohana’s sweet spot. The boat’s got a narrow 9’7” beam; heels over quickly, and likes reaching, said Hardesty. The conditions were perfect for us, and it all came together. After crossing the finish line at 6 am, the crew’s phones started to buzz as texts from friends who were following the YB Tracking reached out to congratulate them.

For a while, it seemed that everything was falling apart for Some Tuesday, Steve Dunlap’s 2017 Lagoon 450-S on its inaugural N2E. First, they got yelled at while trying to find the check-in boat. Four hours into the race, a drone that had been capturing some beautiful footage of the boat at sea with its spinnaker flying, started struggling to keep up with Some Tuesday, now cruising at 9 knots.

Since slowing down was not an option the entire crew watched as radio contact was lost and the drone plunged into the ocean. Minutes after that, the nice new spinnaker ripped. Later, about 24 miles off Rosarito, the nut holding the gooseneck pin came off and with it, the boom fell, boom. At least that they could fix.

Of Dunlap’s seven-man crew, three had never even sailed before he bought the boat and for others, this was their first race. However, boat and crew made numerous practice sails and Dunlap taught everyone – including his father-in-law Stephen Estee who flew in from Springfield, Mass., for the race – how to man each of the sailing positions.

The training, and perseverance, paid off. Despite the obstacles and coming in 16 minutes behind the competition in ORCA B, they corrected 21 minutes faster; winning the class.

After all of this, might Dunlap and crew return for a second N2E? Absolutely, 100 percent yes, the entire team said, without hesitation. Next year, the goal is to win without the handicap. They won’t bring a drone and are pretty confident having a spinnaker will help too

Friends and Family: The Heart of N2E

Jim Bailey’s Destroyer, a TP52, finished second in the Maxi Class on its first N2E edging out last year’s big winner, Pyewacket by a mere 45 seconds. Bailey, who sailed with his three sons, said for a while, the two boats went back and forth ahead of one then the other, in an apparent drift-off. Pyewacket finishing only one minute and 30 seconds ahead of them but corrected out ahead – thanks to a one-point difference in handicaps.

Gregory Dorn’s Lady Jane, one of two boats sailing for St. Francis Yacht Club returned with Dorn’s 18-year old son Nick and his friend Charlie Wooler, sailing their first N2E. The Jenneau 391 placed third in the Cruz-Gen class.

N2E’s old friend Medicine Man, Bob Lane’s Andrew’s 63, returned to the podium after a couple years’ hiatus to claim best-corrected MAXI. The crew reported that they found an outstanding breeze, all the way to the finish. It was one jibe and straight to the bar.

Another multiple-time N2E winner Horizon topped PHRF B once again. Nope, winning doesn’t get old, said Len Bose, skipper of the Santa Cruz 50. “Each race offers new stories, new things to reflect upon,” he said, “It’s good to see the expressions on the faces of people who have not been there (on stage) before, I wish more people could see that.”

But Fast Exit, a relative newcomer on its second N2E, was making a run for Horizon and came up only 4 minutes and 30 seconds astern.

Merry Cheers, who has been sailing since 1998, raced with John Raymont on his modified Andrews 40. She was at the helm at during the moonlit sail and got the boat over 15. knots. “I just sail the numbers– one and in!,” Cheers smiled. During the course of the race, she said the crew shared stories about Scott Poe, who was supposed to be sailing with them.

Less than a month after returning the boat from previous race to Mexico, there have been many unhappy reports that Poe has fallen seriously ill. “We knew that he was there in spirit, we felt him aboard,” she said. Of the Go Fund Me posts circulating and being shared to offset expenses, Cheers says “Sailing is more than a community, it’s a family.”

NOSA’s family, Bill Gibbs, who served this year as Vice Commodore of Race, tried to fly under the radar, but still managed to score another four trophies for Wahoo’s, his Schionning GF 1400 time of 15:16:43 in ORCA-A. The win has more than secured Gibbs as one of the most winningest skippers in N2E’s history.

Mighty Merloe, the ORMA 60, may not have claimed the record this year, but as a consolation prize, they took home four trophies: Best Elapsed Overall, Best Corrected Overall, Best Elapsed and Corrected Orca-Maxi Class.

“It was really exciting to have the MOD 70 Orion come down from San Francisco to race against us. They are a great crew, and we had to push very hard to beat them.” said tactician will Suto. “I’d like to say thanks to Enloe, the owner of Mighty Merloe, for putting together such a fast boat and talented crew. It’s a special thing to have boats like this racing. We hope to see more of it in Southern California in the future.”



N2E 71, Fast Starts Slow Finishes Leaves a Trail of Sailing Fun

N2E 71: Fast or slow, YB tracking shows a tale of three fun races

ENSENADA, Mexico, April 28, 2018 – Mighty Merloe, HL Enloe’s ORMA60 and Tom Siebel’s Orion, the MOD70, approached the start of the 71st Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race like thoroughbred horses; chomping at the bit, side by side, jockeying for position, waiting to spring from the gate and best the other to the finish line, in front of the Hotel Coral and Marina.

Orion was defending their 2016 best elapsed time record and Mighty Merloe was looking to claim it to go with all the other records it has collected in the last four years. But Orion stumbled at the start, one of its hulls slightly over early, and had to circle back to the start while Mighty Merloe sailed for the horizon.

Following yet another dual between the two mighty trimarans, as seen thanks to the YB Trackers, it was Mighty Merloe at the finish line by 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Orion’s record; safe for another year.

Meanwhile, in Dana Point, the race saw its first ever 1:48:41 finish courtesy of Charles Brewer’s Heartbeat 4. With Richard Mendoza’s Cricket, bringing up the rear at 3:21:19 in his Cal20, the entire fleet including a handful of Lasers, completed the first-ever N2E Dana Point Sprint before happy hour.

Melissa Herzfeld, who was has been volunteering on the check-in boat for 4 years now, was a little surprised when the first Laser pulled alongside, its enthusiastic skipper reporting the sail number and its sole passenger. Conversely, fifteen was the largest crew reporting in this year.

Dennis Pennell’s Reichel/Pugh 50, Blue Blazes, blazed down the Border Run Course home to San Diego like it was late for dinner, finishing with a time of 7:48:27. Dave Griffins and his Fair Haven crew likely had a dinner at sea, finishing the course with an elapsed time of 19:08:31.

The largest boat to finish, Damon Guizot’s Zephyrus, Reichel/Pugh a 77 had a stellar race, being the first monohull to finish at 12:27:03. Most of the larger boats, which sail outside the rhumb line, crossed the finish line before 2 p.m., Saturday. Racers reported that the coastal winds that propelled many of the competitors into Mexico began perishing about midnight, and stayed lax with shifty pockets through most of the day.

As the sun set on the Hotel Coral, the YB Trackers show 10 boats still drifting towards the sounds of the mariachi band at between 3.8 and 5.6 knots. With all having less than 11 nautical miles to go, it’s possible they will arrive just in time for the fireworks, a fitting finish to N2E 71, given that a burst of firecrackers is how the YB Tracker shows the race starting.

Final results and trophy winners to be announced at Sunday’s awards ceremony. Watch race replays to all destinations online via YB Tracking on the nosa.org website.


LONG BEACH, CA 26 April 2018 – – Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week is all about great beginnings and great endings – with a whole lot of great sailboat racing in between!

From the free gourmet coffee bar in the morning, to last call on Second Street, this popular annual regatta packs a whole week of fun into three lively days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 22 to 24, 2018.

Hosted annually by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) the 2018 Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week is a perennial favorite of sailors who want to mix competition with camaraderie, in the thrilling conditions of San Pedro Bay.

Registration is open now for racing which begins Friday June 22 at 12:55PM, following a competitors briefing at LBYC at 10:30AM. Saturday and Sunday races commence at 1155. PHRF and one-design classes are scheduled to compete in seven windward-leeward races over the three-day regatta, on one of four separate courses, each with its own expert Race Committee. Several fleets will cap off championship or regional series at Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, including the Pac52 and TP52 Circuit, J/70 and J/120 Southern California High Point Series, Schock 35 Pacific Coast Championship, and the Catalina 37 National Championship.

Random-leg racers will enjoy a variety of course lengths around the scenic bay, both inside and outside the Federal breakwater, and are slated for one race on each of the three days.

Not a hard-core racer, but still want to participate? Chairman Chuck Clay says the ‘come-as-you-are’ Cruising Class lets you be part of the fun of Ullman Sails LBRW; without the not-so-fun part of stripping the boat, and endless sail changes. “We want to make it easy and enjoyable for people with cruising boats to be included,” said Clay. “You don’t need some stealth race boat or massive inventory of sails.” In fact, one headsail and one spinnaker (or a Code Zero) is all that’s allowed. Visit www.phrfsocal.org for details and to get the required Corinthian rating. Then come and enjoy one daily race, in a “grand tour formant – not up and down ten times,” Clay promised. Leave your carbon fiber sails at home, grab your dancing shoes, and come be part of the fun of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week!

Clay also announced an addition to the event’s stellar line-up of sponsors, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel; which specializes in the best of sailing gear and customized apparel, including all the leading brands. “So you can look good, while you enjoy the fun and camaraderie of race week!”

All told, it’s hearty weekend of competition, punctuated by evenings of revelry, at club parties and nearby Second Street in Belmont Shore. ‘With a free water taxi, to shuttle racers between clubs – so you don’t have to drive!

And this year, Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week offers two ways to save!

Save $50 with an early bird entry, on or before May 1. Enter by June 4 for a $25 discount on fees. Or, sneak in before close of entries at 6PM June 19. There’s no excuse! Entry fees include Friday’s After-Race Party at ABYC, including music, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and no host bar; Saturday’s Post-Race Mount Gay Rum Party at LBYC, with music, dancing, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and no host bar; and Sunday’s Prize-giving, also at LBYC, with hors d’oeuvres and no host bar.

Last year’s Ullman Sails Long Beach Race week boasted three stellar days of breeze and sunshine. Hundreds of sailors spanning from Montana to Mexico competed aboard 122 entries in one-design and PHRF racing. In the spirited Catalina 37 Nationals, Newport Harbor Yacht Club Team Ayres/Satariano ousted four-time winner Dave Hood and DHC; but LBYC defended its title in the Yacht Club Challenge.

But they’re all up for grabs again, along with the Kent Golison Family Trophy, Longest Distance Travelled, and PHRF and Satariano Boat of the Week honors – June 22 to 24, in Long Beach, Calif. Visit www.lbrw.org for full details, and to enter today.

N2E Update: Junior Sailors help Mighty Merloe Tune-Up for N2E

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 24, 2018 – The 71st Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is just three days away, but before Mighty Merloecrosses the start line in hopes of setting yet another record, the ORMA 60 championed by owner HL Enloe, will be making a pit stop at Newport Harbor Yacht Club for a playdate.

For the past few years, Mighty Merloe, and its remarkable crew have been systematically checking off best elapse time records in almost every long distance yacht race in California like they’re running down a shopping list.

SD to Puerto Vallarta   – check
NYHC to Cabo             – check
SoCal 300                    – check
Islands Race                – check
TransPac                      – check

N2E might be the only record Mighty Merloe does not hold. But according to Mighty’s longtime Sailing and Technical Team Member Will Suto, the massive trimaran’s tune-up run before Friday’s race will be manned by kids.

In what is becoming a mighty good tradition, the boat and crew will spend the afternoon of April 26 inspiring NHYC’s junior sailors. It will be the third time that Mighty Merloe has spent the day entertaining and educating the small sailors about the sport of big boat racing. About 20 kids will have the chance to get out on the water and see what it takes to sail a record-breaking boat.

It’s rare for the juniors to sail on large boats, much less a big fast trimaran like Mighty Merloe, said Suto. As long as the weather cooperates and there are no malfunctions or boat issues that need to be remedied before N2E’s start on Friday, the plan is to take six of the young sailors out at a time.

Although the boat is large, the kids do not all go at once as the boat is quite sensitive to weight and weight distribution. And everyone wants a turn. Last year, the kids were all smiles; steering the boat, working winches, and riding on the bow, said Suto. For safety purposes, the boat won’t be run full out, but at about 19-20 knots, it will certainly go fast enough to be memorable.

Mighty Merloe

According to Cara Vavolotis, NHYC’s junior sailing director, fun events things like this, which are super exciting for the kids, is one of the best parts of her job. Compared to the Naples Sabot and the CFJ’s the kids usually sail, Mighty Merloe is super-fast. But not only are the kids thrilled at the speed, it’s the entire experience, Vavolotis said. They get to spend time with an international crew; they get to drive, grind and trim the sails,” she said. “It’s all very exciting.”

Suto said when on the water, the crew is usually focused on boat handling, performance, boat speed, and racing. It’s a nice and rare chance for the team to have fun.  “We love sailing our boat, so it is always special to share the experience, particularly with the younger generation,” he said.  Not only do the kids look forward to the sailing event, so do the crew and Mr. Enloe. At 82 years young, Enloe is considered a pioneer of multihull sailing in Southern California. “It seems especially poetic that he’s making the effort to share the experience with the next generation,” Suto said.

Howard Enloe is a devout multihuller. With the ORMA 60, Mighty Merloe, he’s spreading his big-multihull stoke on the West Coast.

The real hero, besides the kids, is the boat, said Mr. Enloe who also reports the crew’s anticipation of the annual event and sharing the multi-hull sailing experience. Suto hopes that the experience will inspire the novice sailors, some of whom might be sailing boats that are even bigger and faster in the future.  With some exposure to the sport, you never know where the kids will take it.

Surprisingly, Mr. Enloe did not learn to sail until he was 60 years old. “22 years later we’re setting records and having fun,” he said.

But come Friday, the crew’s back to business. According to Suto, Enloe structures his crew with a mix of seasoned veterans, ambitious young professionals, and adventurous Corinthians, all of whom are onboard to break N2E’s elapsed time record. Orion, Tom Siebel’s 70-foot ORMA set the record time of 5:17:26  in 2016 after a 125-mile dual with Mighty Merloe.

After a year off, Orion and crew are back to defend their record. With their sparring partner back on the water, look for Enloe, Suto, and crew to be rested after a day of play yet more driven to check that last box off their Ensenada shopping list.


Godspeed Mel Richley 1928 – 2018

March 7, 1928 – April 17, 2018 Mel was born in Los Angeles as a 6th generation Californian. His predecessors arrived as part of the Spanish Army traveling up the coast with Father Junipero Serra. He attended Saint Bridget’s grade school then transferred to Saint Catherine’s Military Academy. He…

Cover Photo: Bronny Daniels

2018 PCISA Gold PCCs




LONG BEACH, CALIF 22 APRIL 2018 – – Taylor Canfield and Team US One have won the 2018 Congressional Cup after an intense five-day battle with nine other of the world’s top match racing talent; and fierce finals with Dean Barker and Team American Magic, who finished second. Sam Gilmour (AUS) defeated Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in the petit-finals, for third place in this prestigious World Sailing Grade One regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.

The final matches of this legendary yachting event came down to a USA sail-off Sunday.

Not since Ed Baird’s win in 2004, has Old Glory flown from the backstay of a winning boat. Although both Canfield and Barker are past Congressional Cup champions, at the time Canfield (2014, 2015, 2016) was sailing for the US Virgin Islands; and Barker (2000, 2005) under the Southern Cross, with Team New Zealand.

Defending 2017 Congressional Cup champion Ian Williams and Team GAC Pindar were edged out of the semi-finals; but rebounded with a win – and $2000 in prize money – in Sunday’s fleet race.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels

For the final day of Congressional Cup, despite a full docket, light breeze held off racing nearly an hour. Once they began, Canfield straightforwardly eliminated Berntsson, in the shifty 6 to 8 knot breeze.

Barker and Gilmour battled intensely, with finishes seconds apart. Going into race four, it was match point: Barker 2, Gilmour 1. Shortly after rounding the top mark on the second downwind leg, Gilmour’s spinnaker halyard popped. Despite a lightening fast recovery, Barker took the advantage and won that match, advancing to the finals.

Both Barker and Canfield have championship DNA: Barker, victorious in the America’s Cup arena; and Canfield, a Match Racing World Champion.

But Barker had beat Canfield in both matches in the Round Robins earlier this week, and held an impressive record of 16 wins – leaving Canfield the underdog, as he entered the finals.

In scintillating matches, as the wind built to 14 knots, Canfield took the first race, while Barker won the second. When the third bout went to Canfield, it all came down to race four.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels

By this point in the regatta the sailors were in tune with their boats; in the better breeze they accelerated, and excelled. After a thrilling start, on the first upwind leg Barker tacked too aggressively according to the judges, earning a penalty. The closely matched teams dueled around the course, with Barker in the lead. But when Barker elected to take his penalty turn at the top mark, Canfield surged ahead, and never let go; taking the win and the series.

Canfield joins sailing legends Gavin Brady, Peter Holmberg, and Rod Davis as a four-time winner of the Crimson Blazer. Returning to the podium to hoist the Congressional Cup were his crew of Mike Buckley, Ian Coleman, Victor Diaz de Leon, Dan Morris, George Peet, and Erik Shampain.


“This feels amazing,” said Canfield after his victory. “We brought a great team here; we knew it was going to be hard. We struggled a bit earlier in the week, but kept pushing hard, and getting faster and faster. That was the biggest thing for us. The boys put in a huge effort and got me out of some tough spots, and we kept getting better and better. No doubt, by the end of the week, I think we sailed the boat best, and were the fastest team out there.”

The winner of the Congressional Cup is awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer – similar in status to golfing’s Masters Green Jacket. Donning the blazer in front of the cheering crowd at LBYC’s pool deck, Canfield added, “This is an incredible event, as always. I cannot thank the club enough, and all the volunteers, organizers and umpires. It’s you guys who make the event so special to us.” In addition to the trophy, Team US One receives $16,000 in prize money.


“We’ve had an amazing time here, really happy to get back into it,” said Barker. “Coming together as a new group, I’m very proud of the result; it’s a great start for New York Yacht Club and American Magic,” referring to their challenge for the 36th America’s Cup.

“It was definitely disappointing to lose the final, after sailing so well. Today wasn’t our best day. But overall we were very pleased with how we’ve been going, and to find ourselves back in and competitive after such a long break away.” Earlier in the week, Barker admitted it’s been over a dozen years since he’s competed in the match racing circuit, adding, “Match racing has changed a lot, with the use of spinnakers at the start. We’re still improving and getting more confident every day.”

“We’ve had a great time here,” Barker continued. “It would have been nice to come out on the right end of it all, but we just made a couple too many mistakes today. Hats off to Taylor and his crew.”


“Unfortunately today it didn’t quite roll our way in the end, but high marks to the guys on board for sailing a great two regattas. We applied pressure all the way through, and when pressure was applied to us, we responded.”

“Congratulations to Taylor’s team for closing it out today. They sailed a really solid series against us.”

“Looking at the big picture, if we were our best just three months into a new program, it’d be a little bit disappointing.” American Magic is “still in its infancy,” Hutchinson reminded. “It’s great after 13 years, to come back into it so well, and look at it as a glass half full, and try to set ourselves up for the long-term. The beautiful thing is we’ll do a lot of self-analysis, and get better from there. It’s all very exciting.”


“The guys really dug deep, it’s been a great week,” said Gilmour, who admitted he had been, “really going for the Crimson Blazer,” pointing to Barker, Canfield and Berntsson, saying, “You guys already have one in your closet!”

“We appreciate the support of the club and everyone who puts so many hours into organizing this. We look forward to being back.”


Chairman Eric Dickinson said a “perfect storm” of spectacular sailing conditions, superior competition, and expanded media platform, combined to make the 2018 Congressional Cup an “overwhelming success.”

“This is the best, most breeze we’ve had in years. We’re back to a 10-boat format, with nobody waiting in the wings and no boat swaps, so everything is running smoothly. And being able to do live streaming has made an incredible difference. The buzz is incredible.”

LBYC’S Congressional Cup regatta is the first event of its kind to highlight Samsung’s 360-degree cameras with the Virtual Reality headsets.

“The coverage has ramped up the member experience, and our fans really seem to like it. Plus we’re getting it out to the masses, and the metrics show we’re attracting a younger audience to the sport.”

Dickinson’s vision for state-of-the-art viewing, both live and virtual, began even before he started his ascent up the ladder to 2018 Chairman. “I had five years to try to plan it,” he said. “I had the vision; but I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

“Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it.”

He said the scope of the project was immense, but Geoffrey Talbot, LBYC’s Media and Communications Director, stepped up to the plate. “We would not have had this overwhelming success without the outstanding team of professionals he put together.”

Coverage utilizes 3D and other state of the art cameras, shooting from various platforms and angles, to broadcast live stream on Facebook and YouTube simultaneously. Plus there are video highlights and features, and live commentary.

Dickinson applauded his Executive Team, saying, “each of those members make a five year commitment – as do their families.” He also recognized the 300-plus volunteers who help organize, host and run the Congressional Cup each year. “It’s not easy, rallying 300 volunteers, every year … for 54 years!” he laughed.

And yet LBYC has continued to put on world-class event that competitors agreed is, “Second to none. That’s the reason we come back,” as Steele put it.

“We couldn’t do this, without the incredible contributions and dedication of our sponsors and volunteers,” Dickinson pointed out. Such as Beverly Shafer – a 30-year member of LBYC, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 88. A community icon, after her retirement Shafer stepped in to work with her children Denny and Denise, at their popular Alamitos Bay restaurant Schooner or Later.

Shafer was busy delegating tasks up until her passing; reminding Schooner or Later’s head chef of a commitment she’d made to LBYC. “Don’t forget the muffins for Congressional Cup.” And those muffins were indeed in the breakfast buffet served the racers, officials and volunteers, at Congressional Cup 2018.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world. Established by LBYC in 1965, it is recognized as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. This annual competition for the prestigious Congressional Cup trophy and Crimson Blazer features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach.


Taylor Canfield                       USA

Dean Barker                            USA

Sam Gilmour                          AUS

Johnie Berntsson                   SWE

Ian Williams                            GBR

Joachim Aschenbrenner        DEN

Eric Monnin                            SUI

Scott Dickson                          USA

Chris Steele                            NZL

Harry Price                              AUS

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for video archives of the action, with commentary by celebrity announcer Tucker Thompson, with Leo Takahashi and Josh Wijohn; and

feature segments by Australian Producer/Actress Camilla Jackson

For a full report and complete results please visit www.thecongressionalcup.com


Racing continues off Belmont Pier today for the Crimson Blazer

LONG BEACH, CALIF 21 APRIL 2018 – – Does Ficker make you quicker?

Photo Credit: Tom Walker

Stage One of the 54th Congressional Cup regatta wrapped up with the final two races of Round Robins, advancing Dean Barker (USA), Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Sam Gilmour (AUS) to the semi-finals.

Racing concludes tomorrow Sunday April 22, in this World Sailing Grade One Match Race event, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.

Both Barker and Berntsson had qualified for Congressional Cup through the Ficker Cup regatta last weekend. A Grade Two regatta, the Ficker Cup is prestigious in its own right, but also a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup; with the top two advancing to this week’s competition. It was founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup, spawning the slogan ‘Ficker is Quicker.’

“We haven’t match raced for a long, long time,” admitted Barker, whose American Magic team represents the New York Yacht Club’s challenge for the 36th America’s Cup. Ficker Cup, he said, “was without question a great opportunity for our team to practice, spend time together and dust out a bit of the rust.”
That training has paid off, as Barker dominated the Congressional Cup; today relinquishing today only his second loss of the series, to fellow Ficker Cup player Berntsson.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


The final two flights of the Round Robin series were raced under hazy skies and a blustery breeze that waned as the day wore on.

Coming into Saturday after a successful Day Three, Ian Williams (GBR) stood just one point out of contention for semi-finals, with two decisive races to go.

Already, rival Harry Price’s (AUS) destiny was set; out of striking range of Stage Two, as was Scott Dickson (USA), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI), and Chris Steele (NZL).

But Williams was still in the hunt. If he could win both races, and Gilmour or Berntsson lost theirs, the semis were in his sights.

In Flight 16, on the first downwind leg, Price and Williams were bow to bow; but Williams outwitted Price at the gate to take the lead. Splitting the course on the second downwind run, Price covered and began to reel Williams in. But Williams, leeward, pressed him past the layline; hoisting a jib for the final stretch of the ‘downwind’ leg, to capture that win.

In his final match of the day, however, Williams succumbed to Canfield after sailing into slightly lighter air; propelling Canfield into second place, with 13-5.

Meanwhile Barker and Berntsson had a “dramatic” match, with Barker’s start less aggressive than normal – perhaps as he already had his spot in the semis sewn up. But as the match progressed, the tacking duels began, and the racing heated up. By the final downwind leg, Barker forced Berntsson to the pin end of the line; a deliberate infringement on Barker earned Berntsson a red flag penalty. Still continuing to battle, both pros spun upwind with their spinnakers aloft, creating a tangle of wayward kites. Barker’s team, penalized for not keeping clear, watched as Berntsson dumped their chute and slipped across the line. “The drama was at the 120-percent level,” Berntsson said, “complete mayhem.”

Despite that loss, Barker completed the series with an impressive 16-2 record. “It was a tough double Round Robin, with a lot of very close races, but we came out on the right side of a lot of them,” said Barker. “We learned some very good lessons. Going into the semis, I’m very confident we can keep stringing good races together.”

Canfield finished 13-5; while Berntsson and Gilmour edged out Williams, each 12-6.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


A haze of warm tropical air settled over San Pedro Bay as the semi-finals commenced. Canfield bested Berntsson in their first match, while Barker clashed with Gilmour. In a fierce bout, which celebrity commentator Tucker Thompson called a ‘trans-Tasman battle,’ Barker attacked Gilmour, who was struggling with an hourglassed spinnaker in the pre-start. “It’s like a cat toying with his prey,” Thompson winced, as Barker continued dizzying attacks on Gilmour, winning the start. Although Gilmour was able to shake it off and recover, Barker continued to extend his lead and finished nearly a minute ahead of his young rival.

Racing will continue tomorrow, with the first to three points advancing to the finals of the Congressional Cup. Petit-final races will also be held to determine third and fourth place, while the balance of the teams compete in a fleet race around the Bay.


Enjoy stadium viewing of the Congressional Cup free at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. Parking, facilities and food service are available.

Live commentary on-site, by celebrity announcer Tucker Thompson, is accompanied by large screen TVs highlighting multiple camera angles, including 360-degree Samsung Virtual Reality camera footage from the race boats; and feature segments by Australian Producer/Actress Camilla Jackson, for a fully immersive and entertaining experience. Racing and commentary is live-streamed on Facebook @CongressionalCup and YouTube. Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for full information.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world. Established by LBYC in 1965, it is recognized as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. Each year, this competition for the prestigious Congressional Cup trophy and Crimson Blazer features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach, Calif.



Dean Barker (USA)                           16

Taylor Canfield (USA)                      13

Johnie Berntsson (SWE)                  12

Sam Gilmour (AUS)                          12

Ian Williams   (GBR)                          10

Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)     6

Eric Monnin  (SUI)                            6

Scott Dickson (USA)                        5

Chris Steele  (NZL)                           5

Harry Price    (AUS)                          4




Taylor Canfield                                 1

Dean Barker                                      1

Johnie Berntsson                             0

Sam Gilmour                                     0


Photo Credit: Tom Walker

Day 3 Quick Update

LONG BEACH, CALIF 20 APRIL 2018 – –With only two flights left in the 54th Congressional Cup regatta’s Round Robin series – to determine which skippers will advance to the semi-finals – the hard-hitting competition escalated. Dean Barker (USA) and American Magic remained on top, with Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Sam Gilmour (AUS) and Ian Williams (GBR) all within striking distance of qualification.

Congressional Cup Day 3, Long Beach Yacht Club, April 20, 2018 ©Tom Walker

Watch today’s racing live at the Long Beach Belmont Pier or online here: TheCongressionalCup.com

Cover Photo Credit: Tom Walker Photography



LONG BEACH, CALIF 19 APRIL 2018 – – More round-ups than a Western movie thrilled spectators, and challenged competitors, on Day Two of the Long Beach Yacht Club Congressional Cup regatta. Dean Barker (USA) and Team American Magic continued to hold the reins at the top of the leaderboard, as racing continued into the second Round Robin.

As the breeze rocketed up to 18 knots, there were wipe-outs, collisions and protests galore. Johnie Berntsson’s (SWE) Catalina 37 was so damaged during contact, it began to take on water; they transferred to the backup boat. And Harry Price (AUS) proved how close race action is to the audience on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier; when his boat knocked a lamppost off the corner of the wharf. It will now be known as ‘Price Point,’ sailors jested.

2018 Congressional Cup – Photo Credit: Sharon Green

Despite chaos and crashes, Chief Umpire Russell Green announced, “Today is one of the best days match racing has seen. Congratulations to all the competitors.” Green has been a World Sailing International Umpire since 1991, involved in the Olympics, America’s Cup and the foremost racing events around the globe. His accolade is a testament to the high level of competition and professionalism exhibited at the Congressional Cup regatta. Racing continues through Sunday, April 22, in the waters off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, starting around 11:30AM daily.

This afternoon’s thrilling conditions unfolded after a rainy, stormy morning. Strong breeze and significant chop mixed with bloodthirsty sailors – hungry for a spot in the semi-finals – to create a thrilling atmosphere. With seven races remaining in the Round Robins, Barker remains on top at 10-1; suffering his first defeat of the series, to Eric Monnin (SUI). Sam Gilmour (AUS) is in second, 7-4; followed closely by a trio at 6-5: Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Taylor Canfield (USA), and Ian Williams (GBR).

2018 Congressional Cup – Photo Credit: Sharon Green

A collision during the Berntsson vs. Barker match, with both boats heeled way over in the breeze; caused Berntsson’s boat to get holed below the waterline. The slow seepage forced the team to swap to a backup boat. The Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintains a fleet of 11 equally equipped custom-made Catalina 37s specifically for one-design and match racing. The 37-foot keelboats are maintained to identical standards in all performance areas: weight, equipment, rig tuning and sails; to put the onus on the skills and strategies of the competitors.

“We thought the Catalina 37s were unsinkable,” Berntsson said, passing a case of Stella Artois to the repair boat crew, and thanking them for their assistance.

Despite contentious racing, most of the sailors are fairly chummy, frequently traveling to the same events around the world.

2018 Congressional Cup – Photo Credit: Sharon Green

“We’re really good friends actually,” said Canfield, after his rousing bout with Chris Steele (NZE); playing golf and socializing in between M32 racing events in Miami.

That friendship brings with it a good deal of familiarity, though.

“It’s always a challenge trying to figure out where to jibe; if you go to early the trailing boat can take advantage of that.” But with Steele on his tail, he said, “We picked a good spot to jibe, and made his decision very hard. In that situation, you’re almost hoping he tries to roll you, because then he’s stuck out to the right side of the finish line; and that’s just what played out. He got a bit too close, which gave him a penalty.”

“It’s quite funny, because you know what he’s thinking, and vice versa,” added Steele. “It goes back and forth. You gain a little advantage, then give a little way to the other guy. The result can go from what looks like a really comfortable win, to slipping away from you.” Steele lost that match, and sits at 4-7. “We lost three that could have gone our way; which is very frustrating. But it’s exciting racing; it’s all really good fun and all the guys are in really good spirits.”

Double Round Robins continue tomorrow, advancing to semi-finals, petit final, and final racing through Sunday April 22, when the winner hoists the silver Congressional Cup and dons the prestigious Crimson Blazer.

HOW TO WATCH  Enjoy stadium viewing of the Congressional Cup free at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. Live commentary by celebrity announcer Tucker Thompson is accompanied by large screen TVs featuring multiple camera angles, for a fully immersive and entertaining experience. Parking, facilities and food service are available. Races are also live-streamed on Facebook @CongressionalCup and YouTube: visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for full information.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world. Established by LBYC in 1965, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. Each year, this World Sailing Grade One competition features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach, Calif.

2018 Congressional Cup – Photo Credit: Sharon Green


Dean Barker (USA)                           10-1

Sam Gilmour (AUS)                          7-4

Johnie Berntsson (SWE)                  6-5

Taylor Canfield (USA)                      6-5

Ian Williams   (GBR)                          6-5

Harry Price    (AUS)                          4-7

Eric Monnin  (SUI)                            4-7

Chris Steele  (NZL)                           4-7

Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)     4-7

Scott Dickson (USA)                        3-8