Tag Archives: Match Racing

Long Beach’s Allie BLECHER WINS FIRST U.S. WOMEN’S MATCH RACING CHAMPIONSHIP

L to R: Ali Blumenthal, Krysia Pohl, Beka Schiff, Allie Blecher. Photo by Element Photography.

DETROIT, Mich. (August 18, 2019) — Allie Blecher (Long Beach, Calif.) won the 17th U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship with a 2-0 victory over Giselle Camet Nyenhuis (San Diego, Calif.) in Sunday’s Final.

Blecher, the 2010 Quantum Collegiate Female Sailor of the Year and a member of the US Sailing Team in 2013, won the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy for the first time in her second attempt. She finished runner-up in last year’s championship held in San Francisco. This year she won an abbreviated final that was reduced to a best-of-three from a best-of-five due to thunderstorms in the Detroit area.

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Durant Wins US Sailing Match Racing Qualifier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Nesbitt, SDYC, and crew place second

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Content and Photos by Laurie Morrison for LBYC

2019 Governor’s Cup

Egnot-Johnson (NZL) survives a late charge by Takahashi (NZL) to win the finals 3-2.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (Saturday, July 20, 2019) – After five days, 22 round-robins, semi-final matches and final matches, which all took the full five races to determine the first team to win three, the 53rd Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted the Balboa Yacht Club, Newport Beach, California, has a new champion, Nick Egnot-Johnson of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. READ MORE…………………………………..

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FINAL RESULTS

Defending Champion Tops Leaderboard at the 2019 Junior Match Racing Championships Despite Forfeiting 2 Races

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 1, 2019 – David Wood, the 2018 Champion of Long Beach Yacht Club’s annual Junior Match Racing Invitational tops the leaderboard of this year’s event, despite forfeiting two matches so as not to miss Prom.

Photo Credit: Laurie Morrison

The event is a two-day, Grade 4, six-team, match racing event sailed in modified Solings on Alamitos Bay.

Before leaving the dock, the 18-year-old Wood, representing Balboa Yacht Club, said that consistency was the goal of the day. By the time he left the course after five races, the 51st World Sailing-rated sailor was the only unbeaten skipper. His early departure left the other five competitors hopeful of gaining some ground, but only fellow BYC skipper Jeffrey Petersen came close.

Photo Credit: Laurie Morrison

Petersen, who bested Wood in March’s Butler Cup, lost the head-to-head match in the day’s first race, giving Wood the tiebreaking edge. At the end of the day, half way through the second round-robin of the competition, Wood topped the leaderboard with five wins and two losses, followed by Petersen also at 5-2.

The LBYC teams, in a freeway-series type of matchup against the nearby BYC teams, had a day that matched the winds; shifty and inconsistent.

Although each of the skippers won at least two races, the day was an example of how important experience is. Wood has sailed 20 graded events since 2016 and Petersen 11 since mid-2017. Both of them have sailed in international events, traveling as far as Australia to race.

Most of the matches were won or lost in the five-minute pre-starts, when the sailors are jockeying for position to cross the start line first or be on a favored side of the start line, potentially making maneuvers that result in their competitors drawing a penalty.

Photo Credit: Laurie Morrison

It’s all about good boat handling; being in the right place at the right time and being able to anticipate or control an opponent, race officials said. It’s boat handling first, then learning to thinking strategically about what you’re doing with the boat.

Principle Race Officer Alexis Hall said this event was developed specifically so that junior sailors could get a jump start into match racing. The event is considered an excellent opportunity for match racers to polish their skills leading to the Rose Cup. Less experienced match racers have an opportunity to get a better grasp of the sport, during daily debriefings with coaches and umpires. However, Saturday’s debriefing was moved to just ahead of Sunday’s skipper’s meeting to allow other participants to attend proms and juggle school activities.

Hall, a second-year Fashion Institute student has served as PRO for eight events and was just named LBYC’s Rookie PRO of the year.

Sunday’s racing will complete the second round robin matches, then the Semi Final, Petit Final and Final race.

LBYC Solings

The boats racing in today’s event, are believed to be the largest yacht-club owned fleet of Solings in the country. They were built between 1961 and 1967, bought in pairs as of 2009, later modified by and maintained by LBYC. The modifications were to simplify the boats so they could be used for learning, rather than being the Olympic sailing machines they were initially designed for. The boats are 26.75’ LOA with 6.25’ beam.

Results after Day One

Correction: William Mueller is representing ABYC

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

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

HARRY PRICE LEADS LBYC FICKER CUP AFTER FIRST DAY

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 29 MARCH 2019 — Harry Price, AUS, was undefeated on Day One of the Long Beach Yacht Club Ficker Cup, leading by a slim margin over Chris Poole, USA, who had two losses. Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN, and David Hood, USA, tied for third.

Classic Long Beach conditions transpired for the first round robin of the three-day match race series, with southwesterly breezes of 11 knots shifting right and building to 16 knots throughout the afternoon. Unlike the traditional weather system though, the competition was anything but status quo.

Racers were aggressive right out of the gate. Chris Nesbitt, USA, extracted his first of two black flag penalties in the first flight – handing Aschenbrenner the first of four wins today. Aschenbrenner, who just returned from an offshore race to Cabo San Lucas, has been focused on one-design fleet racing the past year, and admitted, “In the practice yesterday, I definitely realized I’ve got to get my brain back into the match racing, and into making the quick decisions.”

“But match racing is where I started all of my sailing, so I’m excited to be back.”

Nesbitt shook off his “slow start,” adding, “It was unfortunate. Both incidents were definitely my fault. We were just a little over-eager and hope to do better tomorrow.” He finished the day on a high note, beating Pearson Potts, USA, in the final race of the day.

But it was Price who came out guns blazing. Primed from a win in last weekend’s LBYC Butler Cup – held in the same Catalina 37 keelboats as Ficker Cup – he fearlessly whipped his vessel, and his competitors. His father David ‘Pricey’ Price watched from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, chuckling. “You’ve just got to laugh,” the 23-year-old’s father conceded; mindful of the damage deposit.

“For now, the Ficker Cup is where our focus is,” said Harry Price, “but our main goal is to qualify for Congressional Cup, which is the big one.” The top two finishers in the Ficker Cup receive an invitation to the April 3 to 7 Congressional Cup, a Grade 1 Match Race regatta known as the Gateway to the America’s Cup.

Despite being the number three-ranked match race skipper in the world, Price acknowledged he’s been “struggling” in the Congressional Cup. “I’ve had a couple of average results the past two years. We’re hoping to get into it and do well this year.”

While all have their eyes on one of two final berths in the Congressional Cup, the field is equally driven for victory in the Ficker Cup: a prestigious title in its own right. The Ficker Cup was founded by LBYC in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, the legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup and won the Congressional Cup in 1974.

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday March 30 and 31at the Congressional Cup stadium, a designated race course adjacent the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Spectators are invited to watch the action, for free, beginning at 11:30AM daily.

Conditions Saturday are predicted to be light; Sunday promises to be hot, hot, hot as the weather and action heat up, in the final struggle for Ficker Cup.

Follow Ficker Cup online at www.lbyc.org and on Facebook @CongressionalCup
Follow Congressional Cup at www.thecongressionalcup.com and on Facebook @CongressionalCup, where all 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 1

Cover Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels/Joysailing

Long Beach Yacht ClubEstablished 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. 

2019 Butler Cup

LONG BEACH, Calif. 24 MARCH 2019 — Australian Harry Price, the 23-year-old No. 3 Ranked Match Racer won the Butler Cup, a two-day Grade 4 Match Racing Event in which so many highly-experienced sailors and rated match racers participated, competitors were wondering if they were really competing in a Grade 1 event.

Representing Down Under Racing of Australia, Price, a Ficker and Congressional Cup veteran, whose participation made it an international event, sailed with a six-man crew, one whom just arrived from Australia yesterday. He went into Sunday’s races with seven points, and a single loss.

At the top of the day, Price said the goal was not only to win but to put what they learned yesterday into practice. Similar conditions would provide a good platform to build upon and score more wins, he said. Otherwise, the No. 3 ranked World Series sailor said he and the team were looking to experience new racing challenges and hopefully enjoy a nice, fun day on the water.

Mission Accomplished.

“It was a really fun day, nice weather and good competitions, Price said. “We implemented and worked on processes, successfully checked some boxes and are looking to do the same next weekend.”

Price and crew, that included Patrick Voss, Taylor Balough, George Anyou, Connor Mashlan, and Niall Morrow finished with a record of 12-2.

Jeffrey Petersen, of Balboa Yacht Club, and junior at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, took a penalty at the start of the match against Price, resulting in his first loss of the day. A negative point for damage in the Price start scuffle and two subsequent losses landed the teenager in a tie for third, then lost the tie-breaker leaving yesterday’s leader in fourth place.

“We’re disappointed, but we sailed well; in very close-call races, perhaps leaving a little on the water,” Petersen said. “But I learned so much and am thankful to have had this fantastic opportunity and that my crew is keen to race with me.”

And what a team! Petersen has been friends with tactician Will Boulden, the No. 8th ranked World Series skipper since meeting years ago at a Governor’s Cup event. Boulden, who has won four Grade-2 events, has already secured a place in LBYC’s Congressional Cup that runs April 3 through 7. Petersen crewmembers Justin Wong and Josh Wijohn will crew for Boulden in that event.

LBYC’s Dave Hood had a comeback day logging six straight wins which landed his DH3 Team in second place. Hood’s crew list, that reads like a who’s who of sailing, included three former Congressional Cup skippers; Keith Swinton of Australia, LBYC’s Scotty Dickson, and Joachim Aschenbrenner of Denmark.

The LBYC Staff Commodore said, “It was great racing today, and we got better all day; better in communication and better in terms of execution.” He offered his congratulations to the all of the competitors and hoped to see more people on the pier for Ficker Cup next week along with veteran Congressional Cup crew, Ben Wheatley, Erick Berzins, Ted Hackney, and Steve Natvig.

Chris Poole, sailing for Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club of Oyster Bay, New York moved up a rung into third place.

Poole put together his team during his flight here earlier in the week. His Ficker Cup crew arrives later this week. “Long Beach Yacht Club always delivers Champaign conditions, said the 30-year-old Ficker Cup veteran who was pleased that his pick-up crew did so well.

Hood and Chris Nesbitt will also race next weekend in Ficker Cup. The top two skippers from that event will qualify to compete in this year’s Congressional Cup.

Thanks to this diverse field, race officials are petitioning match racing authorities to upgrade the event from a Grade 4 to a Grade 3 level in consideration of the high degree of competition, and those who traveled significant distances. The upgrade will increase points each skipper earns toward their international rankings.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to chair this prestigious event that drew some of the best racers from around the world, said Lisa Meier, Butler Cup Chairman. “The LBYC volunteers, from the race committee to the umpires and all the organizers, are second to none,” she said. With two more weeks of fabulous racing, she hoped that sailing enthusiasts will come out to the Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier and join us for more exceptional racing.

The Butler Cup and the trophy are tributes to Catalina Yachts founder Frank Butler who designed, built and donated the 11 Catalina 37s for the Long Beach Sailing Foundation for the purpose of developing outstanding match racing in Southern California.

The event is now a sanctioned World Sailing Match Race and helps grow the sport, welcoming young talent like Petersen and Wood, while enabling emerging new skippers to win points and move on to higher grade regattas, like the 2020 California Dreamin’ Series, to which Price now ironically has an invitation to, the Ficker Cup and the prestigious Congressional Cup.

RESULTS