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BARKER BOOKS BERTH IN SEMIS, FINAL THREE SPOTS UP FOR GRABS IN CONGRESSIONAL CUP

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

 

CONVINCING LEAD FOR BARKER ON DAY TWO OF LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB FICKER CUP, PRECURSOR TO CONGRESSIONAL CUP

LONG BEACH, CALIF  14 April 2018 – The breeze on Day Two of the Ficker Cup may have been shifty, but “steady” was the name of the game for Dean Barker and team American Magic, as they clung to the top of the leaderboard, with six wins and no losses in the series’ second Round Robin.

The Ficker Cup is a World Sailing Grade Two regatta – prestigious in its own right, but significant as a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup. Founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup and won the Congressional Cup in 1974, it offers world-class match racing action in an equalized fleet of one-design Catalina 37s yachts.

And today, all eyes were on the scoreboard, as Dean Barker, USA, solidified his first place position and advancement to the semi-finals tomorrow, along with Johnie Berntsson, SWE, 5-1. Chris Poole, USA, and Leonard Takahashi, JAP, both 3-3, also proceed to the semis – edging out competitor and LBYC Staff Commodore Dave Hood, defeated in the tie-breaker.

Ficker Cup racing will continue tomorrow Sunday April 15 at approximately 11:30AM off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can watch the action live. While today’s breeze built to 11 knots from the southwest, tomorrow’s forecast is for slightly lighter wind conditions.

The top two Ficker Cup finalists will advance to the Congressional Cup, the ‘granddaddy’ of modern world-class match racing, founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965.

“What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing,” explained Congressional Cup Chairman Eric Dickinson. “The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world and a gateway to the America’s Cup; and the members of Long Beach Yacht Club are proud to present this premier event for the 54th year.”

Full further information and results please visit www.lbyc.org; for information on the Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com

 

Results  Day 2

SKIPPER/NATIONALITY/RANK RR1

W-L

RR2

W-L

1 Dean Barker USA/– 6-1 6-0
2 Johnie Berntsson SWE/154 6-1 5-1
3 Chris Poole USA/54 4-3 3-3
4 Leonard Takahashi JAP/14 4-3 3-3
5 Dave Hood USA/136 2-5 3-3
6 Peter Holz USA/24 2-5 2-4
7 Maxime Mesnil FRA/4 3-4 1-5
8 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS/16 1-6 1-5

BERNTSSON AND WILLIAMS ON THE BRINK: CONGRESSIONAL CUP TO BE DECIDED APRIL 2

LONG BEACH, CALIF 1 April 2017 – – “Choices are the hinges of destiny,” goes the famous quote by Edwin Markham, and today’s Congressional Cup racing proved that making good choices can make, or break, you.

As the frontrunner after two days of Qualifying, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) elected to race eighth place Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN). As swiftly as one-two-three Berntsson dispatched the young Dane; by nearly two minutes in one match. Similarly, second-place Taylor Canfield (ISV) chose seventh-place Scott Dickson (USA); and knocked him out in a swift trio of matches.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

But Phil Robertson’s (NZL) pick of Sam Gilmour (AUS) as his pairing proved risky. Nearly too risky. Scrapping around the course, Robertson lost the first race. “After that I thought about changing my flight home,” he joked. But Robertson rebounded, and squeaked by in the next three; while Chris Steele (NZL) fell 1:3 to Ian Williams (GBR) – including one photo-finish.

Williams had been on a wild winning streak yesterday, which continued into Saturday as he advanced to the Semi Finals and took two points off reigning Congressional Cup champion Taylor Canfield (ISV). The series is first to three.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

But going into Sunday’s races Canfield remained confident. “Do you know how many times we’ve won three in a row? A lot,” he emphasized, pointing to the morning’s defeat of Scott Dickson. “We can win three in a row against Ian Williams, no problem.”

Berntsson remained unflappable too, after two solid wins against Robertson in the Semis, in part due another good choice: a professional crew. “He brought in some excellent guys, all pros who race over 150 days a year,” said trimmer Philip Kai-Guhle. “It makes a difference. Johnie can do whatever he needs in the back of the boat, and we just do what needs to be done in our part.”

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

As a result, Berntsson’s style is “very relaxed” added bowman “Ricky-Bobby” McGarvie. “He makes things easy on the crew, and even when we stuff it up, he’s pretty cool. We just move on to the next manoeuvre.”

Berntsson, Williams, Canfield and Robertson vie for the Congressional Cup, and the coveted Crimson Blazer. Of this field, three have already won it: Berntsson – 2009; Williams – 2011 and 2012; and Canfield – 2014, 2015, 2016. Robertson, the current World Champion, has podiumed in the Congressional Cup, but a win in 2017 would mark his first chance to don the iconic Crimson Blazer.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

Saturday’s Quarter and Semi Finals racing took place in southerly 6-9 knot breezes that built to 14 knots from the South West, making an exciting penultimate day to the 53rd Congressional Cup.
Semi-Finals continue Sunday April 2, with light breeze and sunshine forecast. Racing is held off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy superb viewing of the race action, with live commentary, starting at 11:30 Pacific Time.

ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP
The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing on-the-water umpiring in the 1988 regatta. The event is renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique volunteer force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

Congressional Cup
Quarter Finals
QF 1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-1 Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing
QF 2
Phil Robertson (NZL) China One Ningbo 3-1 Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing
QF3
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 3-0 Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing
QF4
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 3-0 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing

Semi Finals
SF 1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 2-0 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
SF 2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 2-0 Phil Robertson (NZL) China One Ningbo

Johnie Berntsson – Flux Team SWE 4
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 2
Taylor Canfield – US One ISV 4
Phil Robertson – China One Ningbo NZL 3
Sam Gilmour – Neptune Racing AUS 3
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 2
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 2
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 2

For complete results and more information go to www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com.

WILLIAMS DOMINATES REPECHAGE, QUALIFIES FOR CONGRESSIONAL CUP QUARTER FINALS

LONG BEACH, CALIF 31 March 2017 – – In France they call it a “Repêchage.” In America it’s known as a “do-over.” And today, in the world of top-level match racing, it was called “redemption.”
Ian Williams (GBR) – who finished at the bottom of the pack in last year’s Congressional Cup – was off with a vengeance today, winning all of his matches in the Repêchage on day three of this 53-year institution.
Six-time Match Racing World Champion Williams shockingly finished last in the 2016 Congressional Cup, earning the consolation prize: a copy of Arthur Knapp Jr.’s book “Race Your Boat Right.” At the time, he swore his team would return to Congressional Cup this year to “redeem themselves” and that they did: with a stunning streak of seven wins against his top-ranked rivals in today’s series. “The guys did a great job, we had good speed all day. That kept the pressure off, and our noses clean,” explained Williams, who added they were glad for the extra practice time on the boats.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

He advances to the Quarter Finals tomorrow along with Scott Dickson (USA), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), and Chris Steele (NZL) – who turned the tide, winning five races today: versus three wins total Wednesday and Thursday.   Steele returned to the course this morning promising to race, “a little more aggressive, and a little less forgiving,” and ended the day, “feeling very confident.”
After two days of Qualifying, frontrunners Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Sam Gilmour (AUS) had secured their spots in Saturday’s Quarter Finals. They got a day off in sunny California, where Congressional Cup racing continues through Sunday April 2.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

But the other eight contestants were left to battle it out for the final four berths in the Repêchage: a trial heat which gives first-round losers a last-ditch chance to qualify for the Quarter Finals. Harry Price (AUS), Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI) and David Storrs (USA) were eliminated in matches sailed in “classic Long Beach conditions” – steady westerly breeze averaging 14 knots. And although Storrs was skunked in the Repêchage, his Pequot Racing Team won in the Junior Congressional Cup: skippered by LBYC junior sailor Trent Turigliatto with Alex Curtiss as crew.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

The Congressional Cup is part of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), an intense round-the-world circuit which kicked off earlier this month in Perth, Australia and concludes in October in China.
“Now it’s the business end of the regatta. Play time is over!” announced WMRT Race Director Craig Mitchell, in preparation for Saturday’s brutal Quarter Final knock-out rounds. The leaderboard is wiped clean: scores return to zero.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

Saturday’s pairings are: Berntsson v. Aschenbrenner; Canfield v. Dickson; Robertson v. Gilmour; Williams v. Steele. The first four to reach three points will advance to Semi Finals: vying for the Congressional Cup and coveted Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed on the top names in sailing over the years, including Dennis Conner, Ed Baird, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, Ken Read, Gavin Brady and more.

Spectators are invited to watch the races off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, on the Congressional Cup Stadium Course: a federally designated area of Long Beach’s outer harbor. The venue offers ideal viewing with live commentary and camaraderie.

ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP
The Congressional Cup features five days of top notch yacht racing at its finest. Founded in 1965 and pioneer of on-the-water umpiring in 1988, he Congressional Cup is regarded as the ‘granddaddy of match racing.’ The event is renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique volunteer force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The Club and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition. Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for more information.

Repêchage Standings: Day Three of Congressional Cup
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 7
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 5
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 4
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 4
Harry Price – Down Under Racing AUS 3
Eric Monnin – Albert Riele Swiss Team SUI 3
Nicolai Sehested – EWII Racing DEN 2
David Storrs – Pequot Racing USA 0

BERNTSSON BLASTS THROUGH QUALIFYING AT CONGRESSIONAL CUP

LONG BEACH, USA,  30 March 2017 – – “Mr Canfield, I like your jacket!” announced reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson (NZL), at the 53rd Congressional Cup’s opening ‘Meet the Skippers’ dinner.

Robertson, hot off a win in Match Cup Australia, alluded to some unfinished business from last year, when he finished at the top in Qualifying, but was eliminated in the Quarter Finals – leaving the door open for Canfield to win his third consecutive Crimson Blazer.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

The Crimson Blazer is the iconic prize and symbol of the Congressional Cup – along with the behemoth silver trophy on display at Long Beach Yacht Club.

“That’s mine!” chided Harry Price (AUS), pointing to the trophy, and joining the charge. Everyone is eager to unseat Canfield, number one-ranked by World Sailing; but the team best poised to crush Canfield, after two days of racing, appears to be Johnie Berntsson (SWE).

Berntsson and Canfield are matched point-for-point with nine wins each. The 2009 winner of the Congressional Cup, Berntsson has returned to Long Beach with a new, multi-cultural team, saying the mix is “challenging” – “but the really tight racing fires us up!” With one Dane, three Swedes and two Aussies, they are in first place at the end of Qualifying, winning the tie breaker over Canfield with a win in Flight 8.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

Today’s variable winds fluctuated from a low of 5 knots to a gusty 20 knot breezes in the afternoon, which put a halt to racing as the skippers changed to smaller jibs.

With tomorrow’s forecast for more breeze, Principal Race Officer Randy Smith pressed to complete all 14 flights of Qualifying, and called for an 1100 start to Friday’s races.

Berntsson, Canfield, Robertson and Sam Gilmour (NZL) move straight to the Quarter Finals on Saturday, with Friday now a welcome day off. The balance will fight for their spots in the Repechage; an eight boat round robin, to determine which four move on … and which four go home.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

The Congressional Cup is the second of seven stops on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), and a legend in itself. An innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, Congressional Cup introduced the concept of on-the-water umpiring in 1988. It is hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club and raced in the Long Beach Sailing Foundation fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition. The competition continues through Sunday April 2, directly off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com for more information.

CONGRESSIONAL CUP 2017 GOES ‘OLD STYLE’ ON BELMONT PIER

LONG BEACH, CALIF  29 March 2017 – – Grab your lawn chair and cooler and come on down to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier today through Sunday April 2, for the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta!

Courtesy LBYC 1- Fans line the Pier for a close view of the races

Storms that dumped record rains on California damaged the pier, initially threatening to deter the hundreds of spectators who come to experience this world-class match racing extravaganza, each year. But the pier is safe and open to pedestrians, announced Chairman Joe Seibert, and set to provide ‘old style’ viewing of Congressional Cup 2017.

Congressional Cup is one of the longest-running match race regattas in North America, and the second stop on the World Match Racing Tour. Twelve of the world’s top ranked teams race, two at a time, in a series of spirited round robins; with the top point winners advancing to semi-finals and finals.

Since 1994 the races have been held inside the Long Beach breakwater, adjacent the Belmont Pier. From this vantage point spectators easily observed from the pier or vessels anchored nearby. It wasn’t unusual for fans to gather at pier’s end to cheer on the racers, tossing teddy bears and other good luck tokens to their favorite teams. Over time LBYC expanded the pier platform to include bleachers, pop-up tents and sponsor booths, commentators, VIP announcers and more. This carnival-like atmosphere has lured an audience of thousands: hard-core racers wanting to learn more about the thrilling art of match racing; plus novices and landlubbers eager for an entertaining day out.

This year, the City’s temporary ban on event permits has limited the yacht club’s plans – but not the racing, nor the determination of fans. An undaunted army of Do-It-Yourself spectators is expected to watch the races ‘old style’ – bringing lawn chairs, umbrellas, sodas and sandwiches. The outer wings are open to the public, while the central patio in front of Buoy’s café is restricted to LBYC members and guests. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and there will be live commentary on the pier, plus a scoreboard for keeping track of the action. Races will be held through Sunday April 2 beginning at 11:30AM daily.

The Belmont Pier opened in 1967, replacing the original wooden pier built in 1915, and renovated in 1951. Over 1600 feet long, it has easy access for the disabled, restrooms, lighting and convenient parking. For more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

EVERYONE GETS A PIECE OF THE PIE ON DAY ONE OF CONGRESSIONAL CUP

LONG BEACH, USA 29 March 2017 – – Brilliant sunshine greeted the all-star line-up of Congressional Cup 2017, racing along the shores of Long Beach, California. Conditions were nothing like last year’s dismal, drizzly weather.

But the wind played havoc with racers none-the-less. Light breezes from the southwest built auspiciously, then plunged. The drop was so sudden, it threw Qualifying flight three into a frenzy …. a Swan Lake-like performance of boats grazing across the course with no apparent clue as to who was racing who. Caught in the shifts – from 185 degrees to 230 degrees – Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) lost to Harry Price (AUS) by a full minute, while Sam Gilmour’s (AUS) time over Nicolai Sehested (DEN) was nearly the same. And Johnie Berntsson (SWE) hammered Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) by a remarkable two minutes: a huge spread for such a highly-ranked field of sailors.

But just as suddenly the sea breeze filled in to a brisk 12-14 knots. Aschenbrenner rebounded with a win over David Storrs (USA), and Canfield returned to his winning form: ending the day 4:1 – tied with Berntsson.

Both skippers are past Congressional Cup champions: Berntsson in 2009, and Canfield, 2014 – 2016. Like most of the teams on Day One, Berntsson said they “struggled with the details,” but added, “I’m happy, we had a good day and are staying in the game.”

Tied with three points each were Price, Gilmour, Phil Robertson (NZL) and Eric Monnin (SUI); followed by Aschenbrenner, Ian Williams (GBR), Chris Steele (NZL) and Scott Dickson (USA) each at two points.

Sehested and Storrs ended the day with one win each. “It was a bit of a tough day,” admitted Sehested, but he pointed out last year they moved up the leaderboard to second place overall, nearly capturing the title from Canfield, and was undeterred by his 1:4 start to the week.

And yet today, everyone got a piece of the pie, heralding the incredible level of competition expected over the next four days of Congressional Cup 2017. This 53-year tradition, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, is the second stop on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, attracting a dozen of the top match racing teams from around the globe, as they vie for the Crimson blazer. Races will continue through Sunday April 2, beginning at 11:30 Pacific Time each day off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP

The Congressional Cup has been a model and innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing the concept of on-the-water umpiring in 1988. The Grade W event combines expert race organization with outstanding hospitality, to make it a favorite among match-racing skippers worldwide.

At Tuesday’s opening dinner Aschenbrenner announced, “After our first time here, I knew we had to come back!” – a point seconded by two-time Congressional Cup winner Williams, who said, “It’s absolutely our favorite regatta.” The event is almost entirely volunteer run, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. For more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com.

DAY ONE RESULTS

Johnie Berntsson – Flux Team SWE 4
Taylor Canfield – US One ISV 4
Eric Monnin – Albert Riele Swiss Team SUI 3
Harry Price – Down Under Racing AUS 3
Phil Robertson – China One Ningbo NZL 3
Sam Gilmour – Neptune Racing AUS 3
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 2
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 2
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 2
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 2
Nicolai Sehested – EWII Racing DEN 1
David Storrs – Pequot Racing USA 1

 

For up-to-the-minute results go to www.thecongressionalcup.com

AGE & EXPERIENCE TRIUMPH OVER YOUTH IN FICKER CUP

DICKSON AND STORRS ADVANCE TO CONGRESSIONAL CUP

LONG BEACH, CALIF  26 March 2017 – Scott Dickson and David Storrs defeated young challengers Harry Price and Nevin Snow in the semi-finals of the 38th annual Ficker Cup held here today, with Dickson, representing Long Beach Yacht Club, going on to win the prestigious Ficker Cup trophy, and a spot in next week’s Congressional Cup regatta. As first runner up Storrs also advanced to Congressional Cup, which runs March 28 to April 2.

Dickson, who led after the double round robins, elected to race Price who – despite ranking no. 3 in the world – admitted to “struggling” in the 37-foot Catalina monohulls over the weekend. That left San Diego’s Snow to compete against Pequot Yacht Club’s Storrs.

In the final of three days of racing, starts were contentious with penalties a plenty, which continued up and down the course. Spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier had a thrilling view of the show, as racers skimmed along the pier in intense pre-start maneuvers.

Sunday’s 6-8 knot southerly breeze was the lightest of the event, giving competitors a chance to test their prowess in a variety of conditions. And with the double round robins and more than one dozen races under their belts, the sailors were primed. Each pairing went 2:2 before the final flight, when Storrs dispatched Snow.

Meanwhile Dickson battled mightily in the semi-finals. Down 1:2 entering Flight Four, as the pressure increased – both wind and worry – Dickson pushed Price well past the top mark, dragging him so far off course the run to the gate turned into a reach. Tenacious, Dickson forced Price into a penalty, but sacrificed the lead. As they approached the finish Price, still holding a slim advantage, started his penalty turn and shut the door on Dickson. “Price did a wonderful job at that,” Dickson later said, adding he felt his tactics were “too aggressive, and not defensive enough.” Pinned out of the finish line, he started to douse and spin. But when Price finally exonerated his penalty, he ended up on port, establishing a port-starboard situation that pulled another penalty, giving Dickson the chance to squeeze across the line to victory. Dickson won those last two races.

 

By the time the finals commenced, the breeze had freshened. Dickson took the first two matches but Storrs battled back in the third; finally succumbing to Dickson in a very tightly raced match four – putting Dickson’s team in the victory seat.

Dickson is no stranger to Ficker Cup racing, and it showed. From 2000 through 2007 he owned the event, winning every title except for 2005. His second-place finish in Ficker Cup 2016 scored him a berth in last year’s Congressional Cup, where he sailed his way into the semi-finals and finished fourth among the field of international pros. His lucky charm this week was his father Roy Dickson, a legendary New Zealand yachtsman who faithfully watched every race.

“This was obviously a very special Ficker Cup to win, I’m very proud,” Dickson said, referring to the recent passing of Bill Ficker. “There were eight talented teams here, anyone of which could have qualified. I’m very pleased and proud of the team; they had their backs against the wall a number of times and showed their mettle.”

Finishing second, and qualifying for the Congressional Cup, “is just a massive thrill, the biggest event of my sailing career,” announced Storrs, with the exuberance of a kid. Several years ago, this septuagenarian underwent a heart transplant, and boasts his youthful heart has equipped him to take on younger rivals.

Storrs said he’s only been seriously match racing five or six years; prodded back into the sport after a 45-year hiatus by Dave Perry. “But the real hero in this is my wife. She said, ‘David you’re pretty old – you don’t have time to build up the experience like the young kids. If you’re going to do this, hire some pros and learn from them.’ And that’s been really thrilling; racing with really good people, and against really good people.” He lauded LBYC for their organization and hospitality, calling the Ficker Cup “the best event I’ve ever sailed in,” and eagerly looked forward to Congressional Cup.

Price won the first race of the Petite Finals, but Snow came from behind to win the next two races, and claim third place in the Ficker Cup. Snow is a two-time winner of the Everett Morris Memorial Trophy for Best Intercollegiate Sailor. An Olympic hopeful, he is a member of San Diego Yacht Club.

Price, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, earned an automatic invitation to the Congressional Cup by winning last summer’s US Grand Slam Series. He will join the field of 11 other world-class yacht racing teams in the Congressional Cup next week.

Event Chairman Eric Dickinson said, “This Ficker Cup probably had some of the best talent we’ve seen in a long time. Having the breeze the first two days was great, because it let us complete the double round robins as planned,” adding that spectators “got their money’s worth.”

Dickinson continued, “I was very excited about having the viewing on the pier,” after winter storms temporarily closed the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier platform. “Being up here with the family, friends, club members and visiting yachtsman is a real treat other venues don’t enjoy. Kudos to Chris Macy for getting the pier squared away, and to all the racers, officials, and volunteers for making this such a great event.”

He added, “It was fantastic having Sid Gathrid and David Storrs compete this year. At 16, and 72 (respectively) their age span is a commentary on how anybody can compete in an event like this.” Noting that Storrs has advanced to Congressional Cup, he continued, “Sidney is young and didn’t have a lot of prior match racing experience. But he and his crew had the courage to come out here and mix it up with the pros, and win a few. I hope he left with his head held high, and will return!”

The Ficker Cup was established by Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. Ficker was a renowned yachtsman, who won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.

 

Although the Ficker Cup is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup, it is a distinction in its own right, and a Grade Two event in the World Match Racing Tour. Past winners include John Kostecki, Phil Robertson, and Chris Steele … in 1991 Terry Hutchinson won the Ficker Cup, and Congressional Cup in 1992. Simone Ferrarese triumphed in the Ficker Cup in 2011, and Congressional Cup in 2013; while Taylor Canfield won Ficker Cup in 2013, and has reigned as the Congressional Cup champion since 2014.  Winning the Ficker Cup is a both an honor, and a portent.

Final Results             

  1. Scott Dickson
  2. David Storrs
  3. Nevin Snow
  4. Harry Price
  5. Vladimir Lipavsky
  6. Peter Holz
  7. Dave Hood
  8. Sidney Gathrid

For complete results please visit www.lbyc.org

DICKSON TAKES THE LEAD IN DAY TWO OF FICKER CUP

ADVANCES TO SEMI-FINALS WITH STORRS, SNOW AND PRICE

 

LONG BEACH, CALIF  25 March 2017 – Storm clouds threatened Day Two of the 38th Ficker Cup regatta today, but the only tempest on the track was Long Beach Yacht Club’s Scott Dickson and team, who stormed the scoreboard with an 11-3 record, following up yesterday’s powerful start with six wins today.

Scott Dickson keeps his rivals at bay, on Day Two of Ficker Cup. Credit: Betsy Crowfoot/courtesy LBYC

The Ficker Cup is a World Match Racing Tour Grade Two event, and feeder to the prestigious Congressional Cup regatta. Both are hosted by LBYC, and raced in the waters adjacent the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Dickson’s only loss today was to San Diego’s Nevin Snow, who also logged six wins, bowing to David Storrs. Both Snow and Storrs stand at 9 wins, 5 losses.

Snow credited “another day on the boat” with the improvement over yesterday, when his team finished 3-4. Racing the customized fleet of identical Catalina 37s is “more tactical than technical,” Snow explained. “You have to know the rules, be more thorough and think ahead. The racing is slower – but good.”

Harry Price and his Down Under Racing Team rebounded today with five wins, admitting he was “struggling” during yesterday’s Ficker Cup kick-off. Although he’d handily won the USA Grand Slam – a back-to-back series of match race regattas held in Detroit, Chicago and New York – he has more familiarity with smaller boats, saying it was only his second opportunity steering with a wheel (vs. a tiller). “Yesterday we ironed out quite a few mistakes … we’re glad to have this time on the bigger boat and a couple of extra days to iron things out,“ before the Congressional Cup next week. Price advances to tomorrow’s semi-finals along with Dickson, Storrs and Snow.

Officials noted Saturday was rife with excitement, between collisions, mixed breeze, dolphins, sea lions, and “a first.”

“I thought I’d seen everything in match racing,” said LBYC Waterfront Director Rick Roberts, until he noticed a private boat stopping in the midst of the course during a pre-start dial-up. Although warned about their precarious position, the boater refused to move … and continued with a hasty burial at sea: scattering their beloved’s ashes as David Hood and Peter Holz’ team barreled through.

Ficker Cup racing continues tomorrow, Sunday March 26, at noon. The top two finalists will advance to the Congressional Cup, held March 28 to April 2.

The Ficker Cup was established in 1980 by LBYC to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. An architect by trade, Ficker was a renowned yachtsman. He won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.

For complete results please visit www.lbyc.org

Cumulative Results  Day 2  
1 Scott Dickson LBYC – 270 11-3
2 David Storrs USA – 22 9-5
3 Nevin Snow USA – 26 9-5
4 Harry Price AUS – 3 7-7
5 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS – 29 7-7
6 Peter Holz USA – 21 6-8
7 Dave Hood USA – 79 4-10
8 Sidney Gathrid USA – 293 3-11

 

‘FICKER IS QUICKER’ – TRIBUTE TO LEGENDARY HELMSMAN KICKS OFF 2017 FICKER CUP REGATTA

LONG BEACH, CALIF  24 March 2017 – Long Beach Yacht Club kicked off the 38th annual Ficker Cup regatta with a tribute to the late Bill Ficker, bestowing the eight race teams with “Ficker is Quicker” flags, before continuing onto the race course to the type of competition that would have made Ficker proud.

“I think Bill would have loved today,” said Scott Dickson, whose LBYC team was in a three-way tie for first, at the end of day of this Grade Two match race regatta. “Bill often turned up here for the trophy presentation, so I was fortunate to have spent a lot of time with him,” added Dickson, whose team wore black armbands in Ficker’s honor. “We had superb conditions on the water and the teams all represented themselves well: I think Bill would have really appreciated that.”

The Ficker Cup was established in 1980 to honor Ficker, a renowned yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup, and won the Congressional Cup in 1974.  Part of the World Match Racing Tour, it is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup – as the top two finalists advance to the Congressional Cup next week.

Today’s races, in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier were held beneath blue skies and brisk breezes of 8 to 10 knots, building to 17 in the afternoon.

Competition was smart, with no shut-outs. At the top: Dickson, Vladimir Lipavsky, and David Storrs, each with five wins, two losses. At the bottom: Sid Gathrid, a 16-year old novice, whose sole win was against Storrs, age 72. Their span of ages gives true testament to the appeal and accessibility of the sport of match racing; and that one is neither never too old, nor too young, to give it a whirl.

Gathrid, who has been match racing less than a year, noted his excitement and appreciation at being invited, saying it was a great opportunity to sail against some of the top players in the game. And, he admitted, it was “pretty cool too”– as his rivals came by to shake his hand and congratulate the team for their performance.

Racing will continue Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, beginning at roughly 12 noon. Spectator viewing is available from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, or for

up-to-the-minute results please visit www.lbyc.org

Results  Day 1
1 David Storrs USA – 22
2 Scott Dickson LBYC – 270
3 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS – 29
4 Peter Holz USA – 21
5 Nevin Snow USA – 26
6 Dave Hood USA – 79
7 Harry Price AUS – 3
8 Sidney Gathrid USA – 293