Top Four Advance at Congressional Cup
Published on March 30th, 2017
Long Beach, CA (March 30, 2017) – “Mr Canfield, I like your jacket!” announced reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson (NZL), at the 53rd Congressional Cup’s opening ‘Meet the Skippers’ dinner.
Robertson, hot off a win in Match Cup Australia, alluded to some unfinished business from last year, when he finished at the top in Qualifying, but was eliminated in the Quarter Finals – leaving the door open for Canfield to win his third consecutive Crimson Blazer.
The Crimson Blazer is the iconic prize and symbol of the Congressional Cup – along with the behemoth silver trophy on display at Long Beach Yacht Club.
“That’s mine!” chided Harry Price (AUS), pointing to the trophy, and joining the charge. Everyone is eager to unseat Canfield, number one-ranked by World Sailing; but the team best poised to crush Canfield, after two days of racing, appears to be Johnie Berntsson (SWE).
Berntsson and Canfield are matched point-for-point with nine wins each. The 2009 winner of the Congressional Cup, Berntsson has returned to Long Beach with a new, multi-cultural team, saying the mix is “challenging” – “but the really tight racing fires us up!” With one Dane, three Swedes and two Aussies, they are in first place at the end of Qualifying, winning the tie breaker over Canfield with a win in Flight 8.
Today’s variable winds fluctuated from a low of 5 knots to a gusty 20 knot breezes in the afternoon, which put a halt to racing as the skippers changed to smaller jibs.
With tomorrow’s forecast for more breeze, Principal Race Officer Randy Smith pressed to complete all 14 flights of Qualifying, and called for an 1100 start to Friday’s races.
Berntsson, Canfield, Robertson and Sam Gilmour (AUS) move straight to the Quarter Finals on Saturday, with tomorrow now a welcome day off. The remaining eight teams will fight for their spots in the Repechage; a single round robin to determine which four move on … and which four go home.
The Congressional Cup is the second of seven stops on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), and a legend in itself. An innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, Congressional Cup introduced the concept of on-the-water umpiring in 1988.
It is hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club and raced in the Long Beach Sailing Foundation fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition. The competition continues through Sunday April 2, directly off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.
Day Two Standings
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) 9-2
Taylor Canfield (ISV) 9-2
Phil Robertson (NZL) 7-4
Sam Gilmour (AUS) 6-5
Harry Price (AUS) 6-5
Ian Williams (GBR) 6-5
Scott Dickson (USA) 5-6
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 5-6
Eric Monin (SUI) 4-7
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) 3-8
Chris Steele (NZL) 3-8
David Storrs (USA) 3-8
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2017 World Championship Level Events:
WMRT Match Cup Australia, March 20-25
WMRT Congressional Cup, March 29-April 2
WMRT Northern Europe, June 6-11 (Venue TBA)
WMRT Match Cup Sweden, July 3-8 (Venue TBA)
WMRT Match Cup USA, August 1-6 (Venue TBA)
WMRT Match Cup America, October 3-8 (Venue TBA)
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
WMRT Match Cup China, November 3-10 (Venue TBA)
Background: In 2013, Swedish company Aston Harald AB acquired the design and production rights to the one-design M32 catamarans. In July 2015, Aston Harald AB acquired the World Match Racing Tour, which then began the use of the M32 during the 2016 Tour. Launched in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour is the leading professional match racing series sanctioned by World Sailing.