Tag Archives: Long Beach Yacht Club

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

2019 BEACH TO BAY EQUALS YOUTH COMPETITION AND CAMARADERIE

Long Beach, Calif., July 18, 2019 — It was family fun day at the 32nd annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race Thursday, July 18! The event for seven to 17-year old’s saw 122 boats race along a five-mile course that took 12 classes of dinghies, helmed by 144 young sailors, from the corner of Alamitos Beach near Island Grissom, off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to the finish line by the long dock of the race’s host, Long Beach Yacht Club.

Drone photos courtesy of LBYC Sailing Director Cameron MacLaren

Principal Race Officer Alexis Hall, a former coach for racers in this event, had the first class of boats underway at 10:30 a.m. following a 30-minute delay until the wind picked up. It was the largest race the 20-year-old PRO Rookie of the Year had organized. For some of the boats, it’s the only race of the year they leave the protection of Alamitos Bay and venture into the waters of the harbor.

Although last to start, the 29-boat CFJ fleet quickly weaved through the other competitors. Tate Christopher, of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and crew Stewart McCaleb, crossed the finish at about 12:30 p.m. to claim the overall winner title. The pair were just eight boat lengths ahead of LBYC’s Alex Lech with his crew; brother Nicky Lech, who were followed closely by twins Scott Pearl and Chloe Pearl of ABYC.

“It was a great day on the water,” said Race Director and event Chairman Jess Gerry. “With clearing blue skies, winds that started at 5 to 7 knots and building to 7 to 9 created simply perfect conditions for these young sailors.”

The event was very much family-friendly and spectator-friendly, with coaches and parents cheering on the youngsters from shore, the pier or in dinghies, he said. In addition to the Lech’s and the Pearls who sailed together, Christopher’s brother Gage (who placed first in the O’pen Bic fleet) and 18 other sets of siblings participated.

With the majority of racers representing local yacht and sailing clubs, the race also had a strong neighborhood, community, and social vibe.

After the race, the kids quickly put away their boats and gear and hit the poolside deck for the burger bash. It was a scene from Caddyshack by the pool, Gerry said of the fun and camaraderie shared by the competitors.

“Beach to Bay is a regatta that both the coaches and sailors look forward to all summer long,” said Hall. “There is something special about watching 120 kids race with big smiles on their face and then enjoy a fun pool party.”

The burger bash was topped only by the awards ceremony where the Jessica Uniack Perpetual Trophy was awarded to ABYC’s Cole Barth for being the winning sailor in the largest fleet – the Sabot C3s.
The event is named for Jessica Uniack, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of junior sailing who died in 1994. Her husband, Staff Commodore Bill Uniack, attended Thursday’s race. Her son Billy Uniack helped the kids launch their boats, assisted with the recording finish times and presenting trophies.

At the ceremony, LBYC’s Preston Woodward picked up yet another trophy!

Last month, Woodward and Lech crewed for Trent Turigliatto at the Junior Match Racing Invitational and placed third. Yesterday, the 14-year-old borrowed a Laser Radial from LBYC coach Sawyer Gibbs; raced it for the first time and won the class.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Prizes were awarded to the top three finishers in each fleet:

Sabot C3
1st ABYC Cole Barth
2nd Leeway Asher Douglas
3rd Leeway Jacob Balster

Lasers Full Fleet
1st Leeway Kai Jorda
2nd HHYC Ben Hagadorn
3rd SLBYC Isaac Sweeney

Laser Radial
1st LBYC Preston Woodworth
2nd ABYC Tanner Jolly
3rd SLBYC Matthew Sas

Bic
1st ABYC Gage Christopher
2nd HHYC Ryan Misterly
3rd HHYC Miles Burnett

RS Tera
1st WLYC Emily Rychlik
2nd SMWYC Miles Gordon
3rd DPYC Christopher Daher

Sabot C1
1st LBYC Hannah Crompton
2nd LBYC Madison Mansour
3rd Leeway Claire Williams

Sabot C2
1st LBYC Taylor Carty
2nd LBYC Sophia Corzine
3rd LBYC Victoria Messano

Optimist
1st ABYC Jorge Alessandro Lettera
2nd ABYC Megan Farmer
3rd ABYC Fiona Barbeito

CFJ
1st ABYC Tate Christopher Stewart McCaleb
2nd LBYC Alex Lech Nicky Lech
3rd ABYC Scott Pearl Chloe Pearl

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

PRICE PREVAILS IN FICKER CUP

Price & Poole advance to Congressional Cup April 3-7

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 31 MARCH 2019 — In an exciting winner-takes-all final match, Harry Price (AUS) of Down Under Racing defeated Chris Poole (USA) to capture the Long Beach Yacht Club Ficker Cup title. Both will advance to the Congressional Cup, which starts next week. Dave Hood (USA) finished third, while Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) took fourth.

Eight teams from around the globe competed in the 40th Ficker Cup match race: three days of what Principal Race Officer John Busch called, “Awesome, epic sailing.” Although the wind was slow to come up in the morning, when it did fill in, it was idyllic, with cool ocean breezes and plenty of sunshine.

Going into Sunday’s semi-finals, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club’s Poole, who had aced Stage 1, was paired with Hood, a LBYC Staff Commodore. In the first match, Hood got ‘hoodwinked’ – surrendering a solid lead when he targeted the wrong windward mark. Poole took advantage of the error and won that race, and continued to dominate the series; moving on to the finals.

A crowd had gathered on Belmont Pier to watch the races, and Aschenbrenner and Price kept them in suspense. Each won one race, then another, until at 2:2 they entered a final match-point battle in race five. Off the start, Aschenbrenner tacked too close to Price, earning a penalty. The die was cast. Despite a duel that took them to the outer reaches of the course, Aschenbrenner couldn’t rebound. Price won by a boat length, to enter the Finals.

Earlier, the breeze had clocked and built to 9 knots. But with the clock ticking and wind waning, PRO Busch decided to reduce the Finals to a single winner-take-all match.

Despite a penalty in the pre-start, Hood recovered and bested Aschenbrenner, for third place: an impressive accomplishment for the 61-year-old Staff Commodore, and only amateur skipper in the field of finalists.

Poole and Price’s match saw spinnakers up and down in the pre-start and tight racing around the course, until Poole, on the hunt, bumped Price’s stern. Officials threw up two flags on Poole, who was unduly advantaged by the foul; Price secured that win, and the Ficker Cup title.

“It didn’t really go according to plan, but we made it in the long run,” Price revealed. “In hindsight, it was the best preparation we could have, leading into next week. We had five great matches against Joachim (Aschenbrenner) and it was close every race. It was intense … and I wish it wasn’t. But that’s where you learn. It really set us up for next week.”

Finishing in second place, Poole was “very excited” to have earned an invitation to Congressional Cup. “My plan is to keep improving on what we did this week; stay calm, cool, collected, and trust my crew to point me in the right direction,” he said.

“After getting into the semi-finals last year, we felt this year we should be there again,” added Poole, who finished third in last year’s Ficker Cup. “That was our goal and expectation, coming into this event. So it’s coming together really nicely; we’re feeling ready now.”

Although a ticket to the Congressional Cup is coveted, so too is winning the esteemed Ficker Cup trophy.

The Ficker Cup was established to honor Bill Ficker, a world class Star champion and winning helmsman of the 1970 America’s Cup. Among the who’s-who of names inscribed on the silver trophy are Taylor Canfield, Dean Barker, Sally Barkow, Terry Hutchinson, John Kostecki, Simone Ferrarese and Johnie Berntsson … many who have gone on to win the Congressional Cup.

Requests for invitations to Ficker Cup 2020 are already coming in, according to Chair Cheri Busch. “The competitors love it. Ficker Cup is a top-notch regatta, and everyone loves being out here to see who is going to fill those last two berths and compete the Congressional Cup lineup.”

She noted Ficker Cup is an invitation-only regatta, with strict criteria. “We have to have at least three international teams, and there’s a point basis for the skippers. We evaluate their skillsets, abilities, and ISAF ranking.”

As Chair, she oversees nearly every aspect of the event. “Thank God I’ve got a fantastic group of volunteers,” Busch declare.

She’s also got a fantastic counterpart in husband/PRO John Busch. “John and I work really well together as a team. He’s a certified PRO; experienced, knowledgeable and competent. His skills complement everything that’s going on, onshore.”

These days, she added with a laugh, “Ficker Cup is our pillow talk!”

“This has been a great regatta, and it’s very special we can do this together.”

The Congressional Cup, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, will be held April 3 to 7, 2019.

Price and Poole round out a field that includes defending champion Taylor Canfield (USA), past winners Ian Williams (GBR) and Johnie Berntsson (SWE); plus Maxime Mesnil (FRA), Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), Will Boulden (AUS), Nick Egnot-Johnson, (NZL) and Scotty Dickson (USA).

Spectators are invited to enjoy this premier racing experience at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, 15 39th Place in Long Beach, CA, where fans will find convenient parking and full facilities, from 11:30AM to 5:00PM April 3 through 7.

Wednesday April 3 and 4, Long Beach Yacht Club will offer live-streaming coverage on the Congressional Cup Facebook Page and in the Club lounge for club members.

Friday April 5 through Sunday April 7, Long Beach Yacht Club will offer live-streaming coverage and features to viewers around the globe on the Congressional Cup Facebook page, the event website:
www.thecongressionalcup.com, and in the Club lounge for members.

Nightly press conferences – relevant to the day’s racing, and always entertaining – will be also live-streamed on the Congressional Cup Facebook page, starting Wednesday April 3, at approximately 5:30pm.

FICKER CUP FINAL RESULTS
Harry Price (AUS)
Chris Poole (USA)
Dave Hood (USA)
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)

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

Cover Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels/JoySailing

POOLE PULLS AHEAD ON DAY TWO OF LBYC FICKER CUP

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 30 MARCH 2019 — Chris Poole (USA) edged past Harry Price (AUS) in the final match of today’s Ficker Cup round robins, to cap the leaderboard at the conclusion of two days of Stage 1 racing. Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) found his form and solidified his third place position, with Dave Hood (USA) fourth, rounding out the quartet who will advance to semi-finals.

Tomorrow, an international field of sailors battle for the esteemed Ficker Cup trophy – and an invitation to the Congressional Cup, during the final stages of this perennial Long Beach Yacht Club event. Moderate southwesterly wind and warm temperatures are expected for Sunday’s semi-finals, petit finals, and finals.

Light conditions had the fleet of eight boats on dock hold this morning, until the westerly filled in and delivered a pleasant 12 to 16 knot breeze.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels / JoySailing

Poole and his Riptide Racing Team had a flawless day, winning all seven matches. “It was a good day for us. We improved on a couple of things we wanted to from yesterday, and there were a couple of races that were a little closer than we liked. But it was good to put some pressure on the crew, and get the crew work down now, instead of in the semis.”

“The crew is doing a phenomenal job,” Poole added, “and we’re looking forward to seeing how tomorrow goes.”

Price had an unblemished record coming into today’s races. But in Match 11 against Charlie Lalumiere (USA), Price was OCS at the start. Lalumiere, close abeam, blocked Price from cracking off and returning to the line. By the time Price peeled off and atoned, Lalumiere had a solid headstart. Price and the Down Under Racing Team were reeling in Lalumiere, but ran out of race course. Lalumiere won by a boat length: his only win of the day. Price logged an overall record of 11-3.

The top two Ficker Cup finishers go on to the Congressional Cup which starts April 3. But in addition to being a qualifier for that event, Ficker Cup is a Grade 2 match race; meeting strict criteria established by World Sailing, the governing body for the sport. It stipulates everything from race management and formats to judging and scoring, the types of boat used, on-the-water maintenance and repair, hospitality, and the level of racing.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels / JoySailing

“The competition is stiff,” declared Pearson Potts Jr., who enjoyed just one victory today. “Every mistake is capitalized. It’s definitely whoever makes the least mistakes, wins.” His team Guardians of the Monohull is one of four non-professional crews competing this weekend. “We’re trying to be the real true amateurs who make it to the Congressional Cup.”

But first, he conceded, there’s Ficker Cup. “This is helping us learn the boat. It requires a lot more teamwork and coordination, and is a lot less forgiving than other boats we sail.” The one-design fleet of Catalina 37s was designed and built exclusively for the Congressional Cup.

Qualifying for that, he said, remains the aspiration. “One hull, one dream, is our motto.”

Racing for the Ficker Cup continues tomorrow, Sunday March 31, at 11:30AM adjacent to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, at 15 39th Place, in Long Beach, where spectators are invited to enjoy the action, free-of-charge.

A prizegiving will be held at Long Beach Yacht Club Sunday after races, and presentation of the Ficker Cup trophy, honoring the legendary America’s Cup helmsman Bill Ficker.

Follow Ficker Cup online at www.lbyc.org and on Facebook @CongressionalCup.
Follow Congressional Cup, April 3 to 7, at www.thecongressionalcup.com and on Facebook @CongressionalCup. Races will be live-streamed April 5 through 7. Coverage will include skipper interviews, results and daily highlights, press conferences and special events. For broadcast schedules and more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.

Results after Day Two

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.

Cover Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels / JoySailing