Long Beach, California: Taylor Canfield, and his Stars+Stripes Team USA crew finished day two of the 57th Congressional Cup ahead of the leaderboard with 10 points in the qualifying round of the regatta.
Past Congressional Cup champions Ian Williams, GBR (Team Gladstone’s Long Beach), Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson (Berntsson Sailing Team) and Chris Poole, USA (Riptide Racing) lie in joint second on the leaderboard with eight points.
Under the command of Principal Race Officer John Busch, racers completed today the first round robin series and dipped into the second. Long Beach continued to deliver stiff and steady westerly breezes: with more forecast for the days ahead.
In today’s races Pearson Potts, USA won his first match of the event and picked up from there; Harry Price, AUS (Down Under Racing) also got up to speed. At the end of 12 flights, defending champion Taylor Canfield had continued ahead to the top of the leaderboard at 10 – 2, but not without a pack of hungry rivals on his caboose: Ian Williams (GBR), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Chris Poole (USA) all at 8 – 4.
And it was a day of thumps and thrills as the ten teams warmed up, and the action heated up. Chief Umpire Russell Green noted 21 penalty flags in today’s six flights, with combative competitors colliding, clipping the Race Committee boat, tangling with each other – and the pin end of the line.
“I was feeling more confident, but had three penalties in the first three race,” Chris Poole (USA) remarked. “The old Chris Poole was starting to return” After some ‘self-reflection’ he reeled in the aggression to win the latter three races of the day. As Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) added, “there were plenty of flags flying, boats colliding, and a real spectacle. It was high caliber competition for sure.”
Denmark’s two talented young skippers Jeppe Borch (Borch Match Race Team) and Emil Kjaer (Blue Sails Racing) had dominated last week’s Ficker Cup qualifier to fill the final two berths in Congressional Cup. Despite the running start, the youngsters struggled against some of their more seasoned.
Today they found firmer footing, in the middle of the pack. Borch (24) is the 2022 Ficker Cup winner and Kjaer (20) won in 2021. Victory in the Ficker Cup is not only a launchpad into Congressional Cup racing, it’s a portent: although not necessarily immediate gratification.
Terry Hutchinson won Ficker Cup in 1991, and Congressional Cup in 1992. Likewise, Simone Ferrarese was the 2011 Ficker Cup champion and 2013 Congressional Cup winner, and Taylor Canfield went on to capture five Congressional Cup titles (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021) after winning the Ficker Cup in 2013. History herald’s good things for these two young teams from Denmark.
Racing continues through Saturday April 23 off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with shaded stadium seating and live commentary, starting at 11:30am daily. In addition, Thursday will see a fleet race from the Congressional Cup Stadium course into Alamitos Bay; Friday features the Junior Congressional Cup, after the day’s match racing; and during Saturday’s finals, there will be a fleet race for the six eliminated teams.
The Congressional Cup regatta is one of the pre-eminent match racing events in sailing, attracting the top-ranked skippers from around the globe and part of the World Match Racing Tour. Founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965, they pioneered the concept of on-the-water umpiring and set the standard for top-level match racing worldwide. This five-day event continues through Saturday April 23.
Find up-to-the-minute results at: https://www.matchracingresults.com/2022/congressional-cup/
Live streaming begins Thursday April 21 – visit www.thecongressionalcup.com or @CongressionalCup on Facebook.
For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, visit go to www.wmrt.com