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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

ONE WEEK TO SNAG EARLY ENTRY DISCOUNT FOR ULLMAN SAILS LONG BEACH RACE WEEK, RUNNING JUNE 22-24 2018

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.

FICKER FINALISTS BERNTSSON AND BARKER ADVANCE TO CONGRESSIONAL CUP SEMI-FINALS, ALONG WITH CANFIELD AND GILMOUR

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

STAGE ONE, AND DONE

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

SEMI-FINALS

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.

HOW TO WATCH 

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.

 

FINAL STANDINGS ROUND ROBIN

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

 

 

PRELIMINARY RESULTS SEMI-FINALS

Taylor Canfield                                 1

Dean Barker                                      1

Johnie Berntsson                             0

Sam Gilmour                                     0

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

 

CONGRESSIONAL CUP GIVES SAILORS & SPECTATORS A TASTE OF THE WILD, WILD, WEST

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

PRELIMINARY STANDINGS ROUND ROBIN

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

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

Team LBYC Wins the Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge

RESULTS

Pos,Sail, Boat, Skipper, Yacht Club, Results, Total Points 
1. 7, LBYC Women’s Sailing Team, Wendy Corzine / Lisa Meier, LBYC, 5-4-2-5-2-1-1- ; 20
2. 3, California Yacht Club, Marilyn Cassidy, CYC, 2-1-1-7-1-5-8- ; 25
3. 1, Southwestern Yacht Club, Shala Youngerman, SWYC, 6-2-9-1-4-4-3- ; 29T
4. 4, Team SDYC, Kris Zillman, SDYC, 3-6-4-4-5-2-5- ; 29T
5. 2, San Francisco Yacht Club, Vicki Sodaro, SFYC, 4-7-7-2-7-3-4- ; 34
6. 8, WSA SMB, Karyn Jones, WSA of SMB, 1-3-8-10-6-10-2- ; 40
7. 10, Gybe Ho’s, Alexia Fischer, CYCT, 8-8-3-6-3-8-6- ; 42
8. 5, Salty Bitches, Debbie Kraemer, LBWSA, 7-9-6-3-8-6-7- ; 46
9. 6, She Devils, Julie Coll, KHYC, 11-5-5-9-11-9-10- ; 60
10. 11, OSEAS, Terri Manok, WSAOC, 10-10-10-11-9-7-11- ; 68
11. 9, Wahines, Jane Thomas, CIWSA/CIYC, 9-11-11-8-10-11-9- ; 69

About Linda Elias:

Linda Elias (1951 – 2003)

Linda Elias, one of Southern California’s most successful female sailboat racers, passed away on January 3, 2003 after a nine year battle with ovarian cancer.  She was 52.

As winner of the Peggy Slater “Yachtswoman of the Year Award” she raced the Transpac in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1999.  Her women’s sailing team is three time champion of the Women’s One Design Challenge sponsored by LB/LA Women’s Sailing Association and Long Beach Yacht Club.