Tag Archives: Catalina 37

Congressional Cup Champion Ian Williams Returns to Defend Title against Thrilling Line-up at Long Beach Yacht Club, April 28 to May 3

Jan 27 2020 LONG BEACH, CA – Reigning Congressional Cup champion Ian Williams (GBR) will return to the course to defend his title, when Long Beach Yacht Club hosts the 56th Congressional Cup regatta April 28 to May 3 2020.

A quadruple winner of the Crimson Blazer (2011, 2012, 2017 and 2019) Williams is tied with Gavin Brady, Taylor Canfield, Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg with four wins each. If Williams can pull off victory in 2020, it will make him the winningest skipper in the 56-year history of this prestigious event.

But competition is expected to be fierce as he squares off against nine of the leading match racing skippers in the world, including past Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and last year’s runner-up, Scott Dickson (USA).

Also returning to the field are Eric Monnin (SUI), Harry Price (AUS], Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), plus Torvar Mirsky (AUS) with his second Congressional Cup appearance after a hiatus of nearly 10 years.

Making his Congressional Cup debut is Jordan Stevenson (NZL), who earned his spot in the lineup as victor of the USA Grand Slam series; accruing the most points in that four-part circuit made up of the Chicago Match Cup, Detroit Cup, the Oakcliff International, and Thompson Cup. Two final berths will be filled by the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup regatta April 24 to 26.

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The Congressional Cup will be the kick-off event for the 2020 World Match Racing Tour but is best known as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing. Founded in 1965 by Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), Congressional Cup organizers revolutionized the game of match racing with on-the-water umpiring, maintaining a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops to guarantee an even platform and exciting competition – and a thrill for spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Racing is held directly off the pier at 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. where spectators can view this world class competition for free, beginning around 11AM each day.

“We are looking forward to another great Congressional Cup with top-notch competitors and race action,” announced Chair Cheri Busch, “and are happy to welcome the World Match Racing Tour as part of Congressional Cup again.” Busch has been involved as a volunteer in the Congressional Cup organization for nearly a decade and is part of a dynamic duo leading the event this year; with husband John Busch serving as the Principal Race Officer (PRO). “It’s exciting to be involved in such a prestigious, world-renowned regatta, and something the members of Long Beach Yacht Club, look forward to each year.”

Racing will commence Wednesday April 29 and run through Sunday May 3: format will include a Double Round Robin followed by semi-finals, petite finals, and the finals on Sunday. In between, racers will be fêted and fed at LBYC. A unique aspect of Congressional Cup is that it is hosted by LBYC members, 300-strong, who volunteer in every aspect of race management, organization and hospitality. It is like no other premier yachting event in the world, and a favorite of competitors.

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for more information on Congressional Cup; go to www.wmrt.com for details on the WMRT.

CHRISTOPHER WEIS WINS CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ SERIES

Shane Young, Returning 2017 Champion, Wins Series Final Regatta

Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 3, 2019 —Returning California Dreamin’ Series winner Shane Young had trouble getting his motor running – his Catalina 37 being towed to the racecourse by the mark-set boat, but once out there, he and his LBYC crew won six out of seven matches to finish the two-day regatta with a 12 – 2 record.

Both losses were to yesterday’s leader Greg Dair; the final match coming down to a couple of feet lost while recovering from a penalty turn. The win earned Young, the 2017 Series Champion, 100 points toward his 2019 series total, but it was not enough to top Del Rey Yacht Club’s rising star, Christopher Weis.

The 23-year old won the San Diego leg of the series last month in a J22, earning him 100 points and putting him in a series tie with Nicole Breault of St. Francis Yacht Club.

But Weis and crew found their stride today, improving over yesterday’s 4 wins and 3 loss record and won six of the day’s seven matches. The only loss was to Young. Rounding after rounding, the team worked together like a well-oiled machine; winning the series and moving up this regatta’s leaderboard to take second-place.

“It was really a group effort,” said Weis. “All the matches were really competitive, and it was great to sail against such accomplishes sailors.” Matches against Breault, the series highest-ranked World Sailing competitor (61) was particularly close, and hard-fought, he said changing leads up to four times.

He and his crew Roberto Stevens, Dylan Finestone, Haydon Stapleton, Willie McBride and his brother Nicolas Weis, grew up sailing together. All of them are individually, really good sailors, he said. Last year Weis, Stevens, Finestone and junior match racing teammates Alex Burrow and Sidney Gathrid were awarded the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs Competitive Yachting Achievement award.

Next year, Weis, the regatta’s second-highest-rated competitor, at 83 with a bullet, will lead his crew at Ficker Cup here at LBYC. Chris Macy, LBYC’s Chairman of the 2020 Ficker Cup presented Weis with his invitation to the coveted event.

“We are really excited for Ficker and to be working our way up the ladder,” said Weis. To do well in April, the plan is to start training on some bigger, heavier boats. The crew normally sails in boats less then 25’feet. The Catalina 37’s, Weis said, are like having another 25-feet of boat length upfront and double the weight.

The annual California Dreamin’ Series is comprised of three regattas. St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the first regatta in March. This weekend’s racing, aboard Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s Catalina 37s, was a World Sailing, Grade 3 Match Racing event.

Competitors earned points for racing in each of the three events according to how they finished. In the overall standings, Breault finished in second place and Liz Hjorth of California Yacht Club finished third.

This weekend, 50 percent of the eight competing skippers were women.

As the winner of LBYC’s two-day regatta, Young was awarded the Barney Flam Perpetual Trophy, which he said was an honor, particularly because it is in celebration of one of crewmate’s Steve Flam’s father.

“Pulling the crew together, many of whom are college friends was like getting the band back together. So, winning here is particularly rewarding, said, Young. Next year, Young hopes that he and the crew can coordinate schedules to do more racing but to also represent the club well.

Accepting the award, Young thanked Randy Beers, the regatta’s principal race officer, the race committee, that included Commodore Camille Daniels, for doing such a commendable job orchestrating 14 races in light wind; adding that the umpires, who made a lot of good calls, as also appreciated for volunteering their time

Young’s crew were Flam, Mark Ryan, Erik Berkins, Nicolas Santos and Jack Jorgensen.

Greg Dair, representing Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, finished the weekend’s regatta in third place.

“I was lucky enough to get the best group of sailors together for this event, and we hope to do more in the future,” Dair said at the trophy ceremony. Earlier in the day, he said the day’s goal was to do well and learn more as a team. In August, Dair, along with Kevin McCarthy and Zak Merton placing fourth for Alamitos Bay Yacht Club at the Viper 640 Worlds. Despite yesterday’s leaderboard-topping day, Dair said the Catalina 37s were a little harder to get used to than he figured, and the boat did not always end up where he expected.

The wind off Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier did not always show up where it was expected either. Racing started in light winds at five to seven knots of shifty breeze that brought in two rolling banks of fog and had the race committee resetting marks nearly a dozen times throughout the day.

OVERALL RESULTS

California Dreamin’ in Long Beach – Day 1

Dair & Young Debut in 1st and 2nd
The 3-regatta series concludes today November 3rd

Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 2, 2019 —California Dreamin’; indeed! Greg Dair, a former Alamitos Bay Yacht Club coach, competing in his first California Dreamin’ Series event, won six of the day’s seven matches to debut in first place. Long Beach Yacht Club’s Shane Young, the 2017 series champion returned in a big way, also making his 2019 series debut with a 6-1 record. But the loss to Dair dropped him to second via the tie-breaker.

Greg Dair and crew made their California Dreamin’ Series debut today in first place.
Photos by Jeff Demain at www.demainphotography.com

The LBYC event is the last of three regattas that comprise the California Dreamin’ Series. The first event was hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in March. San Diego Yacht Club hosted the second regatta in October. Both of those events were sailed in J22’s. Today’s racing, aboard Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s Catalina 37s, is a World Sailing, Grade 3 event.

Nicole Breault, of StFYC and Christopher Weis, of Del Rey Yacht Club, went into today’s races tied for first place in the Series, both with 100 points. Breault, the series highest-ranked World Sailing competitor (61) won the first event with an all-female crew, while Weis won the second regatta. Today was the first time the two have sailed against each other. Weis, the second highest-rated competitor, at 83rd, took the match.

Competitors earn points at each of the three events based on how they finish. Liz Hjorth, who started the day overall in third place and Marilyn Cassedy are the only two competitors who will have sailed in all three regattas. The overall series winner will be announced at the end of racing tomorrow, along with recognition for the winner of this weekend’s racing.

Breault, said she’s sailed the Catalina 37s annually since 2012, and that each time there is a reacquaintance period involved. But thanks to the practice time yesterday, she’s confident it will not take her core Bella Racing Team crew and three men – honorary Bellas – long to get back up to speed with the boat. “The boats are a handful,” she said, “But I’ve got a really good group here and they work well together. The goal is to get stronger and stronger each race.”

The highly ranked Alexis Gesualdo, (93) also made her series debut; and like Dair and Young, started at the bottom of the series leaderboard with zero points. Representing North Port Yacht Club of Long Island, New York, Gesualdo, and her crew flew in late last night. This morning, she met up with her secret weapon – Scotty Dickson – who will be sailing with her this weekend. Dickson famously led his LBYC crew to second place in this year’s Congressional Cup. This summer he has been coaching Gesualdo and has been a “massive source of information and growth,” she said.

Also on the water tomorrow is Dave Hood, LBYC’s celebrated Staff Commodore. Hood won this leg of the event last year and went on the finish second this year at Butler Cup and the third at Ficker Cup. Both those events are held here and raced in the storied Catalina 37’s. Tomorrow, Hood will be on the water not as a competitor, but as an umpire.

Head Umpire Randy Smith explained that top match racers make excellent umpires, and that umpiring makes competitors better match racers. “It really opens your eyes, provides a 180-degree angle on aspects of racing that you thought you knew,” Smith said.

Racing started late today thanks to a no-wind delay. Light, atypical conditions persisted throughout the day, with boats returning to the docks shortly before dark.

Tomorrow’s first race is scheduled to start at noon off the Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier.

Day 1 Results
1 Greg Dair
2 Shane Young
3 Bruce Stone
4 Christopher Weis
5 Nicole Breault
6 Liz Hjorth
7 Alexis Gesualdo
8 Marilyn Cassedy

Full Results

Cover Photo: California Dreamin’ – 7 competitors from all over the state – and 1 from New York – took to the water off Belmont Memorial Pier today to race the third of three regattas known as the California Dreamin’ series, a World Match Racing Grade 3 event.
Photo by Demain Photograph

SCSN Special Report: Julia Jaynes Interview

October 22, 2019 – Long Beach, CA via Seattle, WA

Long Beach native Julia Jaynes just recently competed in the 2019 LEMWOD (Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge) as part of the Hawaii Yacht Club Team led by skipper Annie Gardner. The event was held over the weekend of October 12-13, 2019 in Catalina 37s and Cal 20s at Long Beach Yacht Club. Julia recently graduated from CSULB as a President’s Scholar with numerous awards and accolades. She was a member of the CSULB Sailing Team and grew up learning to sail at Leeway and ABYC. At her young age she has already given back to the sport of sailing by working as an instructor at Leeway Sailing Center and participating as a member of the race committee in last year’s 29er Worlds in Long Beach as well as an umpire at the US Sailing Match Racing Qualifiers. She has also supplied content (articles and pictures) for SCSN over her college years. Julia recently moved to Seattle where she started a career at Microsoft. Your SCSN Editor asked Julia for an interview about her experience at this event and she accepted.

Julia steering in the 37 after a long day of racing

Hi Julia, thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk sailing! Hope all is well. How are things going for you starting a new career and moving to a new city? A lot of changes for you!

It’s been really exciting to move to a new city and start work with a really great company. Seattle is definitely a lot colder and wetter than Southern California, but I love it so far.

What got you interested in sailing? From what I know, I think you pursued it on your own initiative. Is that right?

I was at Alamitos Bay on a summer day and saw other kids sailing sabots. I went home and told my parents that it looked so cool, and I wanted to learn. My parents signed me up for lessons at the Leeway Sailing Center, and I was hooked. I am really grateful that Long Beach has such a great sailing community that I got to be a part of. I did summer racing programs at ABYC and high school sailing with Long Beach Poly which were really great in setting a strong sailing foundation.

It looks like the LEMWOD was another successful event where new friendships were made and old friendships cemented and strengthened. How special is that, that our sport of sailing really brings people together!

Yes, I totally agree with that. I was really fortunate to be sailing on the same boat with my friend and fellow CSULB Sailing Team alumna, Sunny Scarbrough. And we also got to make a lot of great connections with the women on our boat and on the other teams. While the team I was on, Hawaii Yacht Club, had our eyes set out on first, it was really awesome to see my former coach, Allie Blecher win the event. I’ve made a lot of great friendships through sailing and now have friends all over the world because of the sport.

What crew position did you have on the boat?

I did pit, which is my normal position on the 37s. The team I was on was really great as we got to try out different positions throughout our practices which was awesome getting a little taste of everything. I believe it helped us to get the boat more in sync through us understanding all the roles.

How was the team assembled?

Allie Tsai organized our team. It was mostly through word of mouth but also through showing interest in women’s sailing. I was really lucky that two of my good friends race at Wet Wednesdays on Allie’s boat. I told them I wanted to get more involved with keelboat racing and eventually sail in a LEMWOD so they helped to introduce me. Allie really wanted to bring together a boat to strive for the best and empower women in sailing to achieve more which resonates with me. She brought together women in sailing who are strong, quick learners, and want to better themselves and the overall team.

Packing the boat up with Denise Eldredge and Julie Mitchell

What are some of the things you learned from your experience at this event? 

I learned a lot throughout the event. The most awesome thing was realizing how great women sailors are at not only getting the job done but also creating community. I also really grew in my voice and confidence on boat. It can be intimidating when you are the youngest and probably have the least keelboat experience. I realized a strong dinghy background provides a great basis for racing and I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Another great thing was having so much support and coaching from a lot of great male sailors as well. It made me realize in general the men also want the women to have success out on the water. I really got to fine tune my timing in the pit for better sets and roundings. The weekend overall was really empowering and one of the most fun regattas I had sailed. It was really great to see so many women out racing on the water and got me even more excited for future regattas and possibly bringing together my own women’s team in the future.

The wealth of sailing talent at this event was really well spread across all ages – it must have been quite a valuable experience for you to sail with some of the best women sailors , especially your skipper Annie Gardner.

I am extremely fortunate to have gotten to race with Annie Gardner as well as our tactician Katie Pettibone. They have accomplished so much in their sailing careers and really helped pave the way for women sailors. It was really cool to hear how they were thinking about not only the races themselves but setting up a game plan for the overall regatta. They are both super nice, supportive women that really love the sport. They really help set the tone for our boat, that we were going to work hard and strive for the best but also realize we are doing this for the love of the sport. They really helped to keep the boat on task but also positive and fun.

Any tips and advice you have for young women who want to learn to sail and compete in this sport?

I think sailing, especially as a woman, is a lot about dedication and courage. If you want to learn to sail, there are a lot of great opportunities at local sailing center and yacht clubs. I think dinghy racing is a great place to start. It can be intimidating as sailing is still a very male dominated sport. However, if you stay dedicated and work hard, you will be rewarded with opportunities. You also have to be courageous and not be afraid to participate, learn, and get a few bumps and bruises. I also think a big part about growing and getting opportunities in sailing is by not being afraid to ask. Ask the questions about what someone is doing to get their boat going fast; ask what you can do to help; ask if that boat you’ve always wanted to sail on is having practice days that you can crew at. I also think especially as women sailors we have to advocate a little bit more. Let others know that you can and want to do a certain roles on the boat; that you want to learn and are willing to work hard.

What things in sailing are on your bucket list to do as time goes on?

I haven’t done any offshore racing yet and would really like to get into that. I would eventually want to sail a TransPac.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’m really grateful to be a part of a sport that is something I can do for the rest of my life. Sailing has taught me so many skills, not only how to make boats go fast but also life skills that I know have served me well. I feel really fortunate.

Thanks so much Julia for taking the time for this interview. I am sure it will inspire some young women to want to get in the sport of sailing and show what opportunities are out there for them.

Team Hawaii Yacht Club: (Standing L:R) Smith, Julie Mitchell, Katie Pettibone, Denise Eldredge, Alice Tsai, Jennifer Simonsis, Sabine Suessmann, Julia Jaynes; (Sitting) Randy Smith, Sunny Scarbrough, Annie Gardner, Holly Sweet Davis, Chuck Skewes

2019 Firefighters Smoke Rivals in LBYC’s ‘Heroes Regatta

LONG BEACH, CALIF – Long Beach Firefighters smoked the competition in a series of four races at the Long Beach Yacht Club Heroes Regatta. Roughly two-dozen first responders teamed up with coaches and club members, for the sixth running of one of LBYC’s favorite one-design sailing events.

Competitors from Long Beach first responder agencies were invited to the annual regatta, which was raced aboard the Catalina 37 fleet. Following a morning briefing and chalk talk, the crews set out for a practice race, then three windward-leewards.

Long Beach Lifeguards made a splash out of the gate, winning Race One by just inches, hoping to defend their Heroes Regatta title of 2018.

But after three races around the buoys, it was LBFD Station One in command, with a score of five points; with LBFD Station Four close astern.

The scorching weather may have given the firefighters an edge. Soaring temperatures inland sparked a stiff onshore breeze and classic Long Beach conditions prevailed, according to Racing Director Jess Gerry, who reported a “perfect” 8 to 12 knot breeze out of the southwest.

The fourth and final race was a 6nm random leg course from the inner harbor breakwater into Alamitos Bay, with the finish inside the harbor in front of LBYC. LBFD Station Four rallied and blazed ahead – winning the tie-breaker with LBFD Station One, and the Heroes Regatta Championship Title.

Rick Brizendine, a coach aboard the victorious boat, said, “The firefighters were a joy to sail with. Each readily and willingly – and probably unwittingly – accepted the most challenging positions, including bow and helm.”

Of Kelvin McCaleb, recruited to do foredeck, Brizendine said, “Even a skilled bowman can make any number of errors in any one maneuver, but ours were almost flawless. And Wade (Haller) on the helm really got the hang of driving and found the groove.”

But it wasn’t the first responders having all the fun. “We sail so often the competitiveness sometimes overcomes the joy,” Brizendine added. “Sailing with our local heroes brings the joy back to the sport. We’ve all participated in this regatta before, and will do it again. There is no shortage of volunteers from LBYC when the call goes out to volunteer for the Heroes or Patriot (for active duty military) Regattas.”

The winning crew consisted of Kelvin McCaleb, Wade Haller, Chris Macy, Bob Piercy, Ken Mattfeld, John French, Blair Carty and Rick Brizendine. Race Chair was Christina Mansour. A post race reception was held on the LBYC pool deck, with burgers for the competitors and their families, coaches and race management. To three teams were presented Olympic-style medals, recognizing their Olympian efforts both on and off the course.

For more information please visit www.lbyc.org.

Photo Credits:         SeaToSkyImages: Mike Reed/Tom Heaton

Durant Wins US Sailing Match Racing Qualifier

Long Beach, Calif., August 11, 2019 – Dustin Durant continued his winning streak today and locked in his place at the US Match Racing Championship Finals at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco this October 3 through October 6.

After a 3-year hiatus from match racing, Durant and crew have officially got their groove back. After the 8 and 0 record yesterday, Durant said that he was a little nervous at the start, but following a practice race and logging their first win, it felt that he and his five crewmembers got back in the groove. “The teamwork was there,” the LBYC sailor said.

Trent Turigliatto, LBYC on the right, starts against Nesbitt in the 9th flight

Given that Durant is a four-time Congressional Cup Skipper and a two-time California Dreamin’ Series winner, and following yesterday’s sweep, the top-placed finish today was not a surprise. But with two races scheduled for today, anything could have happened.

The 31-year-old skipper shared the win with Shane Young on main, Neil Rietdyk and Wes Bryne on trim, Jack Bazz in the pit and Ian Paice upfront on the bow.

San Diego Yacht Club’s Chris Nesbitt will be one of the skippers Durant will face in October. Nesbitt also had a second strong day. Currently ranked 29th in the world and 5th in the US, Nesbitt competed here earlier this year in both the Butler Cup and Ficker Cup and has already qualified for the US Match Racing Championship. He won his first match today against Trent Turigliatto who arrived for today’s races with a sprained ankle and (adding insult to injury), incurred a penalty at the start.

Nesbitt’s second loss of the series came in the second race, and for a second time to Durant.

The second skipper qualified for the Championships is Cameron Feves, who won a qualifier in Chicago earlier this year and is the reigning Rose Cup winner. Feves didn’t have a strong showing Saturday, but he and his crew started to get to a better feel for the complexities of the Catalina 37s by the end of racing yesterday and put up a strong fight today in an attempt to break the three-way tie for third.

The day’s first flight saw all three seasoned skippers, Nesbitt, Liz Hjorth and Durant facing off against their younger rivals and schooled them handily. With the win in that flight, Hjorth, sailing for California Yacht Club, secured third place. Momentarily.

In the second flight, Feves turned up the heat, winning the race and drawing her back into the fold.

Chris Nesbitt, SDYC, and crew place second

When LBYC’s sailing coach, Trent Turigliatto beat Colton Gerber in the last race, both young rivals had scored a win against Hjorth, which resulted in how the third-place position finishers ranked.

Colton Gerber, a 23-year old Corpus Christi, Texas resident sailing for Ann Arbor Yacht Club finished in last place but will go home with a boatload of experience. A lengthy collegiate sailing resume garnered an invitation to this event. But the Catalina 37s, the largest boat he and the crew have sailed, challenged the team.

“Boat handling deficiencies caught up to us pretty quick,” Gerber said. “Trial by fire, it’s how it works in sailing.” He felt good about the progress he and the crew made by the end of the day and looked to improve boat speed day. The trip to California was also an alumni reunion of sorts as his entire crew is fellow University of Michigan alumni, with one crewmember in his senior year.

Even Parker Mitchell, who handles the main for Nesbitt, said the boats really put boat skills to the test. “It’s hard to win races without strong boat handling skills,” he said.

This race was also the first time Feves had sailed the Catalina 37. Along with the bigger boat, he picked up a few crew members with varying degree of experience. The 18-year-old, sailing for Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, said they learned as they went; catching a couple of flags that didn’t go their way, but overall, were pleased with the progress made in just 10 races.

The USMRC Finals in San Francisco will be sailed in J/22s, boats that both Nesbitt and Feves have experience with. “We want to win that one,” Feves said.

This qualifier event was sailed in Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of identical Catalina 37 sailboats donated by Frank Butler, the president of Catalina Yachts, for use in Long Beach Yacht Club’s signature event, the Congressional Cup. They are used in many events throughout the year that test many a skipper’s sailing skills and the further development of those skills.

Although this was also Turigliatto’s debut as skipper on the Catalina 37, the young racer has frequently sailed as crew on the boats for other skippers. And as Durant’s win today affirms, experience, teamwork, and local knowledge is a recipe for success.

Racing started before noon today, on a course off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Winds of 9 – 10 knots filled in early creating elevated sailing conditions typical of late afternoons.

Content and Photos by Laurie Morrison for LBYC

WILLIAMS CAPTURES FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL CUP WIN LBYC’S Scott Dickson takes second, over Canfield & Berntsson

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 7 APRIL 2019 — Ian Williams (GBR) and Team GAC Pindar have captured their fourth Congressional Cup win, over Scott Dickson (USA) in final races of the five day series, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, here today. Taylor Canfield (USA) defeated Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in petit finals for third place.

Williams admitted to a slow start at the Cup, which began Wednesday April 3. “We were not really on our game on Day One,” he noted of his sixth place finish. “I haven’t sailed in a monohull since this regatta last year.”

“But it’s always about just being good enough to get through. As long as you get through each round, and build momentum; that’s how match race regattas work. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

After warming up in the California sunshine, Team GAC Pindar began stealthily climbing up the leaderboard, securing a spot in the semi-finals by Day Three. “I’ve got a fantastic team, but we are new together, and hadn’t sailed as a group, so it took a few days to get the team gelling.” Their final 11-match winning streak included swiftly eliminating Canfield in the semis, and striking Dickson out in the finals.

His victory over rival Canfield was particularly sweet.“ Taylor and I have dominated the Congressional Cup since 2011; He’d won four, we’d only won three. So we wanted to catch up.”

His fourth Crimson blazer puts him in an elite league with Canfield, Rod Davis, Gavin Brady and Peter Holmberg. No-one has won more than four … yet.

Williams credited his crew, saying, “Our success has been the focus on the team, getting the guys working together; getting the most out of all the different individuals on the boat, working toward their strengths.” He added, “We have nine and one half children between us, with one on the way. It was all about ‘Dad power’ we think.”

Even as Williams was climbing up the leaderboard, so was LBYC’s own Scott Dickson, a longtime member, director and competitor.

“I’m so pleased for Scotty that he made it to the final,” said Williams. “It’s one of those situations where, if you lose, as long as you’ve given it your best shot, we’d be disappointed, but pleased for Scotty. Not as bad as perhaps some other losses might have been.”

“He’s (Dickson) such a great guy and such a great competitor. And we love the club and really feel the passion for him and his team. We saw it as a win-win, so we didn’t feel the pressure, we just wanted to go out and give it our best”

Were the cheers of Dickson’s fans daunting? “We’ve had many years of rivalry in Sweden and a lot of crowd cheering against us. We expect the locals to cheer for their hometown favorite. It’s just our job to silence the crowd.”

Only twice has a member of LBYC won the Congressional Cup: Tommy Pickard, in 1971 and in 1981, Rod Davis. Prevalently a west coast championship at the start, once the first Canadian team was invited in 1969, it broadened into a major international event. Since the late 1980s, the trophy has been etched with the names of sailors from around the globe.

Racing so well against top tier teams, Dickson said, made him feel pride for his teammates. “These are all local guys you’ll see sailing and coaching out here on Tuesday and Wednesday nights,” he stressed, “the exact same crew we had last year. I think we’ve finally matured as a team and are getting comfortable operating at this level, against a full field of world-class sailors. They sailed so well, and were very quick around the course. I’m super proud of them.”

He had remained cool headed during the series, at times comical. “We agreed I made all my mistakes in one race, so we got that out of the way!” he joked on Thursday.

Later, after the loss, he remarked, “We came out today with all guns blazing. But I might have left one in the holster, because I shot myself in the foot.” Even as he lapped the Belmont Pier at the end of today’s racing, he was beaming; finishing above some of the top ranked match race sailors in the world, like Canfield (11) Berntsson (13) , Harry Price (AUS) (3) Maxime Mesnil (FRA) (5) Dackhammer (7) and Will Boulden (AUS) (9).

This morning, after three weeks of favorable sailing conditions for LBYC’s Butler Cup, Ficker Cup and early Congressional Cup racing, it appeared someone had pulled the plug on the Long Beach wind machine. After a short postponement, the breeze filled in, and capped at 12 knots.

Finally, it was ‘hammer time.’ Nicklas Dackhammer, the last-place finisher in the Congressional Cup Round Robins, won the Fleet Race, which is held for the skippers eliminated in Stage One. He’ll go home $2,000US richer – and with a copy of Arthur Knapp Jr.’s book Sail Your Boat Right.

Berntsson had dominated Stage One racing but that rarely guarantees victory in the Congressional Cup finals. Last year, Dean Barker routed the competition in Round Robins, but fell to Canfield in the finals. In 2017 Berntsson again topped the qualifying round, but the blazer went to Williams; while in 2016, Canfield won the Cup, although it was Phil Robertson (NZL) who triumphed in Stage One.

Although 16-2 in the Round Robins, Berntsson was unable to follow through, losing to Dickson in the semis and Canfield in the petit finals.

Canfield, who is a new member of LBYC, took third, saying, “It was a hard loss for us yesterday, but we lost to a great team.”

He continued, “We’re proud to see Scotty on the podium: second and third for LBYC is an amazing result. We’re so proud to be representing this great club, and look forward to representing Long Beach Yacht Club in the America’s Cup in Auckland,” referring to the Stars & Stripes Team USA campaign.

Notable on the podium was the presence of Sally Barkow, an accomplished Olympic, grand prix and offshore sailor, and main-trimmer on Canfield’s boat. Barkow is possibly the first woman to grace the stage in the 55 year history of Congressional Cup. Barkow competed in Congressional Cup with her own team in 2016: only the fourth all-women team following JJ Fetter Isler (1993, 1996) and Betsy Alison (1999).

“This has been a great experience,” said Barkow. “It’s fun, I feel like I belong and I’m contributing to the team. It’s not so much new to me, but it shows there’s still a massive gap in this sport, when you’re talking about making it gender equal.’

“For sure I feel treated part of the team, and very respected. It’s not about if you’re male or female, it’s about if you’re good enough to do the job. That’s been very clear, with this group especially and that’s what we’re here to do.”

Commodore Camille Daniels, a longtime sailboat racer, noted “There are organizations like WIMRA (Women’s International Match Racing Association) and events helping women come up the level you have to be at to compete in this field. And fortunately, Sally is at that level. I invited her to compete in 2016.”

Daniels is the first woman commodore in the 90 history of LBYC. “I’ve been a member of LBYC since 1980, I’ve paid my dues.”

“Being commodore is a huge honor, but it’s never something I aspired to do. But as the opportunity presented itself, I realized how important it was for the other women of the club. To know they can have the same opportunity in the future. That our club is getting progressive: ‘Honoring tradition and embracing transition.’ It’s poignant to me, that as a Staff Commodore of the club I will always have a voice, representing the women of the club. That’s really huge to me.”

“This is my favorite week of the year,” Daniels added, and she’s not the only one. More than 300 volunteers turn out to run and host this first-rate sailing event.

“What an amazing job Long Beach Yacht Club does, of putting the this regatta – it’s truly unique,” said Williams, as he donned the Crimson Blazer on stage.

“First, the racing is not compromised. The Club puts such a huge effort into making sure the racing is top notch. And that’s why we love coming back. I’ve never walked away feeling done in by bad racing or bad calls. If we’ve lost we deserved to lose, if we’ve won we’ve deserved to win.”

“Second thing is, the amazingly friendly welcome that everyone gets. Everybody. Whether you crash peoples cars, whether you set fire to their houses, they still welcome you back,” he laughed, adding, “It wasn’t us, by the way, we haven’t done that! But whatever you do, they seem to welcome you back and that friendly reception is absolutely unique in all the world.”

The Congressional Cup is one of the leading match race events in the sport, bringing top talent from around the globe to compete in this exciting one-on-one competition. Established in 1965 by the Long Beach Yacht Club, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago.

information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

DICKSON BUMPS BERNTSSON IN CONGRESSIONAL CUP SEMIS: WILL FACE WILLIAMS IN SUNDAY FINALS

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 6 APRIL 2019 — In a stunning shakeup, Scott Dickson (USA) defeated Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in the semi-final series of the 55th Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club and will advance to Sunday’s finals to race Ian Williams (GBR), who curbed Taylor Canfield (USA) and his hopes for a fifth Crimson Blazer.

Going into Day Four Berntsson, Williams and Canfield had already earned their spots in the semis. Each looked strong, coolly prevailing in their final matches of the Round Robins.

The fourth berth however, was up for grabs; with Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), Dickson and Chris Poole (USA) all within striking distance.

Poole’s dreams of competing in the Congressional Cup came true when he qualified in last week’s Ficker Cup; but came crashing to a halt on the first match of today, when dueling with Dickson, he was using the pier as a pick and smashed into the buttress.

Still, Dickson had an uphill fight ahead of him. Uneven performance had put him one point behind Egnot-Johnson going into Day Four. And despite his providential win against Poole, his final duel of the semis was winner-take-all against none-other-than Egnot-Johnson.

Mastering the start, Dickson battled his way around the course as Egnot-Johnson searched for a passing lane. It was not to be. Dickson won his way into the semis, and the crowd went wild. A long-time member and director at LBYC, he was deafeningly cheered by fans who noted it has been nearly four decades since a member of LBYC has won the Crimson Blazer.

Berntsson has controlled the ten-boat fleet since Congressional Cup racing began Wednesay April 3. Solidly winning Stage One, he had chosen to pair with fourth-place Dickson in the semis; and let Williams and Canfield scuffle.

“When we picked Scotty, we hoped he wouldn’t be at his best level, because he’s really hard to beat,” Berntsson said. He won the first match of the semis against Dickson, but faltered on the second. Emboldened by his victory, and bolstered by a crew of local sailors – including tactical whiz Steve Flam, Dickson – in finest form, out-sailed Berntsson in Races Two and Three. On the final leg, the 16 knot breeze swelled his spinnaker, emblazoned with the logo of sponsor Seven Angels Cellar. Indeed, the angels were watching over Dickson today.

“We have the same team as last year, we’re good mates and have great communication,” he said, adding, “It felt like we had a team of 1,000 people on the boat,” – noting the roaring fans on the pier. “It’s going to be a great match tomorrow, we hope to provide a great spectacle for everyone.”

Tomorrow he will square off against Williams, who has steadily climbed up the leaderboard throughout the regatta – not an unusual tactic for Williams, a three-time Congressional Cup champions (2011, 2012, 2017). Williams admitted he had been “feeling the jet lag a bit hard,” the beginning of the week. By Friday he was “feeling a bit more alive,” and it was showing. After a slow start, he’d won his last six races and was feeling confident, saying “Scotty’s the fastest one here, he has been all week. But we’ve hit our stride: there’s a battle ahead.”

While tomorrow’s races will determine who wins the Congressional Cup – there is one trophy that has already been determined.

According to LBYC Historian Jo Murray, in the inaugural year of the Congressional Cup, one of the then-seven skippers who competed was Arthur Knapp Jr. from Larchmont Yacht Club, New York. Knapp came from an extensive east coast sailing background, and served Congressional Cup as both a skipper and judge, Murray explained.

“As a joke one year he presented his work Race Your Boat Right to the last place skipper. It was a hit, and he continued to present the book, until his death in 1992.
In his honor, over the years ‘The Book’ is presented at the discretion of the chairman, to the skipper at the bottom of the leaderboard.”

However, it is considered by some to be a good luck charm, Murray pointed out. This year, Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) joins the illustrious skippers who’ve received The Book over the years; Simone Ferrarese, Taylor Canfield and Ian Williams, all who have all gone on to win the Cup in subsequent years.

Racing for the Congressional Cup trophy will conclude tomorrow Sunday April 7 starting at 11:30AM off the Belmont Memorial Veterans Pier 11:30 to 4:00 daily.

Spectators will find parking, amenities, seating and live commentary by Tucker Thompson. Or, watch the live-streaming coverage and features, plus nightly press conferences on Facebook @CongressionalCup and the event website: www.thecongressionalcup.com

Preliminary Standings:Round Robin

The Congressional Cup is one of the leading match race events in the sport, bringing top talent from around the globe to compete in this exciting one-on-one competition. Established in 1965 by the Long Beach Yacht Club, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago.

Racing continues through Sunday April 7 as competitors battle through a Double Round Robin series, to advance to semi-finals and finals over the weekend. Racing takes place in the Congressional Cup Stadium, a designated course off the Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy the action and commentary, free, from 11:30AM to 5PM daily.

Follow Congressional Cup at www.thecongressionalcup.com and on Facebook @CongressionalCup. Coverage will include skipper interviews, results and daily highlights, press conferences and special events. For broadcast schedules and more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

Cover Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels/JoySailing

PAST VICTORS VIE: BERNTSSON, WILLIAMS & CANFIELD CLINCH SEMIS; ONE SPOT REMAINS FOR STAGE 2 OF CONGRESSIONAL CUP

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 5 APRIL 2019 — Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson continued to dominate the fleet at the 55th Congressional Cup, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. Racing continues through Sunday April 7 off the Belmont Memorial Veterans Pier 11:30 to 5:00 daily.

Today’s conditions were brisk, with a swiftly building breeze. As the wind built, and the stakes soared, so did the excitement. Aggressive starts, dial ups and duels gave the spectators on the pier a thrilling show.

Since the start of the Round Robin series here on Wednesday, Berntsson has logged an impressive 14 wins: his only losses have been to Ian Williams (GBR) and Taylor Canfield (USA).

Three-time titleholder Williams (2011, 2012 and 2017) finished today 12-4, and defending champion Canfield (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018) ended at 11.5-2.5 (reflecting a .5 penalty). Berntsson, who last won a decade ago, tops the chart at 14-2.

Regardless of their positions, one thing is for sure: all three past victors have secured a spot in the semi-finals, which start tomorrow, Saturday April 6.

A battle remains for that coveted fourth berth. Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), who faltered yesterday after a strong start Wednesday, rebounded today with three wins, giving him a one point advantage over Scott Dickson (USA), and two points over Chris Poole (USA). Two final Round Robin races will determine which skipper stays, and who goes home.

After a solid day, with just one loss, Egnot-Johnson was optimistic, saying, “It’s all on for tomorrow.” But the most fun he had all day, he confessed, was winning the Junior Congressional Cup.

Each year, competing skippers are teamed up with youngsters from the LBYC Junior Sailing Program. They compete in FJs, with the Juniors at the helm, each with one of the world’s top match race skippers as crew, in Alamitos Bay.

After a practice race, the gunshot rang: competitors lined up for the start and dashed around the course as parents cheered from the LBYC deck.

“It’s great to have great people racing with you; it makes you have a better chance of winning,” said triumphant Junior sailor Nicky Lech, 11, adding his crew, Nick Egnot-Johnson, “showed me where to go on the course, and that brought us to first place.”

Perhaps that’s a good omen for tomorrow. At the conclusion of the Round Robins, the top four teams advance into semi-finals; then the fleet will race back to the yacht club for dinner and karaoke night. Sunday will be the concluding petit final and final series for the prestigious Congressional Cup trophy and honors.

The Congressional Cup was founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965, setting the standard for top-level match racing worldwide, and pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring. Teams race aboard a fleet of one design custom Catalina 37s, equipped and maintained to exacting standards, to guarantee fair competition.

Enjoy the races from 11:30AM to 5PM daily at the Congressional Cup Stadium, a designated course off the Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Spectators will find parking, amenities, seating and live commentary by Tucker Thompson. Or, watch the live-streaming coverage and features, plus nightly press conferences on Facebook @CongressionalCup and the event website: www.thecongressionalcup.com

Preliminary Standings:Round Robin

The Congressional Cup is one of the leading match race events in the sport, bringing top talent from around the globe to compete in this exciting one-on-one competition. Established in 1965 by the Long Beach Yacht Club, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago.

Racing continues through Sunday April 7 as competitors battle through a Double Round Robin series, to advance to semi-finals and finals over the weekend. Racing takes place in the Congressional Cup Stadium, a designated course off the Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy the action and commentary, free, from 11:30AM to 5PM daily.

Follow Congressional Cup at www.thecongressionalcup.com and on Facebook @CongressionalCup. Coverage will include skipper interviews, results and daily highlights, press conferences and special events. For broadcast schedules and more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

Cover Photo: Bronny Daniels / JoySailing


SWEDE LEAD IN 55TH LBYC CONGRESSIONAL CUP

JOHNIE BERNTSSON UNDEFEATED ON DAY ONE

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 3 APRIL 2019 — It’s been 10 years since Johnie Berntsson (SWE) won the Congressional Cup, but if today’s opener is any indicator, he could be celebrating his decennial anniversary with another Crimson Blazer.

The Berntsson Sailing Team looked confident and strong in their bright orange jerseys, as they routed the competition on Day One of Congressional Cup racing at Long Beach Yacht Club.

In mild conditions, with winds of 6 to 10 knots, flat water and blue skies, Stage One Round Robins got underway in the 55th running of this prestigious Grade One match race regatta.

Results were random, as number-one-ranked Ian Willams (GBR) and defending champion Taylor Canfield (USA) found themselves in the middle of the pack with last week’s Ficker Cup winners Harry Price (AUS) and Chris Poole (USA).

But while several past Congressional Cup titleholders struggled, newcomer Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) sat in second place. Egnot-Johnson, 20, is the winner of the 2019 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup and last year’s Oakcliff International Grade Two regatta. As victor in the US Grand Slam Series in September, he received an invitation to Congressional Cup, hand delivered by Chairman Arleen Tolle and LBYC Commodore Camille Daniels.

“The Congressional Cup is a most prestigious event, a top level match race regatta, so such a privilege to get invited and to sail against the world’s best,” Egnot-Johnson said.

In the past, he’s duelled mostly against fellow Aussies Will Boulden and Price. “We do a lot of match racing down in the Southern Hemisphere, but I haven’t got to race against the likes of Ian Williams, Taylor Canfield and Johnie Berntsson – the big names,” he said. “It’s cool to be able to line up and see how we go against these guys.”

He credited, in part, the morning yoga his team has added to their routine; starting the day out “centered, limber, and emotionally neutral.” Following his success, with five wins out of six matches, sailors may be flocking to the yoga mats the next four days.

The Congressional Cup is one of the leading match race events in the sport, bringing top talent from around the globe to compete in this exciting one-on-one competition. Established in 1965 by the Long Beach Yacht Club, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago.

Racing continues through Sunday April 7 as competitors battle through a Double Round Robin series, to advance to semi-finals and finals over the weekend. Racing takes place in the Congressional Cup Stadium, a designated course off the Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy the action and commentary, free, from 11:30AM to 5PM daily.

Follow Congressional Cup at www.thecongressionalcup.com and on Facebook @CongressionalCup. Coverage will include skipper interviews, results and daily highlights, press conferences and special events. For broadcast schedules and more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

Long Beach Yacht Club
Established in 1929, Long Beach Yacht Club is recognized as a leading club in the international yachting community for its commitment to excellence in yacht racing and innovation in race management. Congressional Cup, the club’s signature event, now in its 55th year, is the preeminent match racing regatta in the United States and considered the Gateway to the America’s Cup. In December 2018, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron accepted Long Beach Yacht Club’s challenge for the 36th America’s Cup, to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021, where the Club will be represented by Stars + Stripes Team USA. In addition to hosting numerous local, national and international yachting events, the Club’s member families enjoy a year-round calendar of social, yachting, and junior activities at its beautiful clubhouse on the shore of Alamitos Bay.

CONGRESSIONAL CUP SKIPPERS

Ian Williams (GBR) Taylor Canfield (USA)
Maxime Mesnil (FRA) Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE) Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL)
Will Boulden (AUS) Scotty Dickson (USA)
Harry Price (AUS) Chris Poole (USA)

Cover Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels