Tag Archives: Long Beach Yacht Club

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.

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

BULLETS FOR BLADE II & CATAPULT, IN CAMPBELL CUP AT LBYC

LONG BEACH, Calif., October 20, 2019 – – Light conditions persisted, as did the frontrunners in Farr 40 and WC 70 divisions, on Day Two of the Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta.

Joel Ronning’s WC 70 Catapult added two more bullets to the scoreboard, finishing ahead of competitors with a solid 2-1-1-1-1 score to win the Campbell Cup perpetual trophy. Meanwhile, Mick and Marlene Shlens defended their championship title aboard Blade II over a half-dozen Farr 40 competitors, battling through lead changes at both windward marks and downwind gates.

Ten teams turned out to race in this year’s Campbell Cup, which was originally organized in 2006 by LBYC member Mike Campbell. Campbell successfully campaigned two 70-raters: Victoria, designed by Alan Andrews, and the Kernan 70 Peligroso; and created the fall regatta to spotlight big boat racing. When Campbell passed away two years later, the event was renamed as a tribute to his accomplishments in and support of sailing. His wife Victoria was on-hand Sunday at the prize-giving to carry on the Campbell legacy.

Traffic Alert! There was a pile-up of Farr 40s at the weather mark in the last race of the 2019 Campbell Cup. Photo by Laurie Morrison for LBYC

Conditions were mild for the two-day regatta with idyllic temperatures and southwesterly breeze topping just eight knots today.

“It would have been a good day for golf,” said Ronning, whose Minneapolis-based crew of Catapult have more than a just weekend in California to brag about, having won the regatta in a near sweep.

“But it was a great day of sailing,” Ronning conceded, and one of the reasons Long Beach is one of his favorite venues to sail. A veteran and second-place finisher in Transpac 2017, Ronning admitted he prefers sailing around the cans to blue-water racing and hopes to encourage other WC 70 owners to come out and play. He says he’ll return to the west coast next year for the Hot Rum Series and Yachting Cup, and will definitely be a boat to watch on the circuit in 2020.

While the WC 70s ran a 1.5nm course off Sunset Beach, the Farr 40s windward-leewards were 1.25nm, twice around.

Marlene Shlens, co-owner of Blade II, gave credit for their win to, “our outstanding crew, and a great tactician who was really on his game,” referring to Peter ‘Pedro’ Isler. “The boats were very competitive and positions changed a lot,” Ms. Shlens said. She noted a port/starboard situation at the start of Race Two which mandated a 360-degree penalty turn, during which her foot got tangled in a sheet. Despite the bumble, which saw Blade II dip to fourth around the windward mark, the team fought back to a second-place finish: giving them a solid seven-point lead over second-place Dark Star. Foil finished third.

The Crew of Blade II forges ahead and makes it work – finishing the regatta with three bullets, one second and one fourth-place finish to win the Farr 40 Class at the 14th annual Campbell Cup regatta. Photo by Laurie Morrison for LBYC

Although the Farr 40 fleet is roughly two decades old, that pedigree is what makes the boat so enjoyable to race, said Blade II’s Tony Rey. “The boats are all a little older – but in good shape – and have varying levels of newer or older equipment and sail inventory.” At any moment, he noted, “any of us could be the fastest boat out there,” with the optimal suite for the conditions. “If you’re in the right corner of the racecourse and set up well; right in the sweet spot of your jib or spinnaker, you can be the fastest boat, regardless of equipment. It’s more about sailing skill, and that’s what makes it a high -level racing.”

Long Beach Yacht Club was lauded by competitors for “running great events, with a fantastic Race Committee.” Keen hospitality was extolled too, as sailors were hosted to morning breakfast and post-race beer, and beefy hors d’oeuvre buffets post-race. Race Chair was Cheri Busch, with John Busch as PRO, assisted by Race Director Jess Gerry.

FINAL RESULTS

Catapult has no illusions about having a great race and winning Long Beach Yacht Club’s Campbell Cup Regatta. Credit: Laurie Morrison for LBYC

CATAPULT, BLADE II LEAD LBYC CAMPBELL CUP

Long Beach, Calif., October 13, 2019 — The Long Beach Yacht Club Campbell Cup Regatta got off to a late start today, but there was no holding back on the fun and spirited competition, in the 14th running of this treasured event.

Light conditions had PRO John Busch postpone racing until 1:00 PM when southwesterly breezes finally materialized. That was enough for the fleet of seven Farr 40s and three WC70s to pull off three races. But fickle breeze produced fickle results.

Mick and Marlene Shlens’ Blade II clung to first place at the end of today’s races, followed closely by Dark Star and Foil.

“We went out there expecting a light breeze to fill in and build and go right as it always does here: classic Long Beach conditions,” explained Tony Rey, racing on Blade II. “Everybody thinks they know what to do in Long Beach, that you have to go right. But today was that day that left was actually pretty good most of the time,” Rey continued. “There were plenty of times you could find some real nuggets out there on the left, which made it interesting. We got it pretty wrong in the first race, but got lucky and got it right and won the next two.”

Even so, Rey expects the podium spots will be ‘wide open’ tomorrow, in a fleet which is already primed from the recent Farr 40 Worlds.

Just three WC 70s graced the racecourse, where true to their names, Bolt bolted to the top of the leaderboard after Race One, but Catapult catapulted to the lead after Races Two and Three.

Catapult skipper Joel Ronning, sailing under the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee, said Catapult has “a good bloodline” – originally Pyewacket: a four-time winner of this event. A strong proponent of the 70s, Ronning credited tactician Peter Isler with “beating the drum” to rally the 70 Class to compete in the Campbell Cup. “This is a great boat and a great class,” Ronning said. “There are a lot of 70s still on the West Coast – maybe nine or 10 – and we want to get back out there and race. I want to get to know the other skippers and keep helping to promote and progress this class.”

For decades the ULDB 70s dominated and defined West Coast racing. After the heydays of the 1980s and 1990s, the sleds split off to ports afar and other performance fleets moved in.

To spotlight and support the fleet, LBYC member Mike Campbell launched the 70s Invitational in 2006, providing the big boats a fall race venue at LBYC. After Campbell’s untimely passing in 2008, the regatta was rededicated in his honor as the Campbell Cup.

“Our good friend Mike was the guiding force behind this event and we are dedicated to keeping it going strong and committed to his memory,” explained LBYC Commodore Camille Daniels. “It’s great to see the 70s out here; it brings back good memories. We’re really hopeful the 70s are successful in pulling the fleet back together; it would be fantastic to have more return, plus the 52s and any other big boats that want to come join us in the Fall.”

Today’s racing took place in the ocean off Seal Beach beneath sunny skies, with southwesterly breezes ranging from five to 12 knots. Competition continues tomorrow, Sunday, October 20, starting at noon. After the conclusion of two more planned races, a prize-giving reception will be held at LBYC at approximate 4:00 PM.

Day 1 Results

BOLT comes in for a striking finish during a race at the two-day Campbell Cup Regatta in Long Beach.

Photos by Betsy (Crowfoot) Senescu for LBYC

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