Ficker Cup: The storm begins

Published on May 8th, 2015

Long Beach, CA (May 8, 2015) – Ten days of sailing excitement started today off the Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with the 36th running of the Ficker Cup match racing regatta, a 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour event.

The three day regatta began beneath stormy skies that delivered unseasonable rain and shifty winds of six to 10 knots.

As the sun struggled to break out, so too did the sailors. Each of the eight teams – from across the US and New Zealand – suffered losses, alongside wins: challenging both young and old. And this year’s Ficker Cup skippers span a remarkable breadth of ages: from 18-year-old Christophe Killian, to septuagenarian David Storrs.

Killian, a College of Charleston freshman, is no stranger to match racing, despite his youth. As a junior sailor at nearby Balboa Yacht Club, he was immersed in the sport, and grew up “looking up to the people racing at the top.” And he is no stranger to Long Beach either: Killian raced representing BYC in Long Beach Yacht Club’s annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay race in 2010, and took first in the Opti Class.

“I’m pretty young to do this,” he admitted – competing alongside some of the world’s top-ranked skippers; adding the opportunity to advance to the Congressional Cup is “just crazy! Whether we do well or not, it’s a great learning experience, and there’s no pressure on me. It’s easier when you’re the underdog.” His team finished the day with three wins and four losses.

Storrs, of Southport, Conn., is a lifelong sailor; fleet racing for decades before, “getting hooked on match racing,” 10 years ago. He says he has received encouragement from match racing champions Dave Perry and Dave Dellenbaugh, fellow members of Pequot Yacht Club. Perry is calling tactics for him in the Ficker Cup: they finished two and five today.

Storrs admits being “addicted” to the excitement and action of match racing, and possesses an enthusiasm undeterred by a heart transplant 16 months ago. “Now I’m 36 years old, and equipped to take on the rest of them,” he laughs.

‘The rest of them’ includes frontrunners Chris Steele, of New Zealand, and Long Beach’s Dustin Durant, who are tied for first after seven flights. Races will commence Saturday May 9 off the Belmont Pier, at roughly noon; the event runs through Sunday.

The Ficker Cup is a Grade Two regatta established by LBYC in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, winning skipper of the 1970 America’s Cup, and world class Star boat champion. LBYC has been one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929 and is renowned for its world-class race organization and hospitality. LBYC and the associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for match racing; which further guarantees an even racing platform, and thrilling competition.

Chris Steele, 6-1
Dustin Durant, 6-1
Peter Holz, 5-2
Christophe Killian, 3-4
Dave Hood, 3-4
David Storrs, 2-5
Charles Lalumiere, 2-5
Chris Poole, 1-6

Details: Ficker CupWorld Match Racing tour

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