CON CUP: It’s never like this, except when it is

Published on April 9th, 2013

Long Beach, CA (April 9, 2013) – Mathieu Richard of France hadn’t match-raced in seven months and Great Britain’s Ian Williams was coming out of five inactive months, but they dealt better with weird conditions than anyone else in a 10-boat international field to share first place with four wins and one loss after Day 1 of the 49th Congressional Cup.

Not to mention Ed Baird, who had had a few years off from the game but holds a share of third place at 3-2 with Italy’s Simone Ferrarese. Veterans must have something going for them.

It must mean something that Richard, Williams and Baird are all former winners of the event’s traditional Crimson Blazer – Williams the last two – because the conditions were so atypical Long Beach, with its normally reliable southwest sea breeze a no-show, that veterans and newcomers alike were boggled when the wind shifted around the clock through the afternoon with velocities varying from 12 to 18 knots, with gusts to 22, by day’s end.

The second round robin flight was abandoned after two of five races when the wind did a 180, and competitors suddenly found themselves dropping their spinnakers on the downwind legs of the two-lap matches around the 0.4-nautical mile windward leeward course, then raising them after rounding the “leeward” mark to go … uh, upwind?

Even Williams’ four-time world champion GAC Pindar team suffered confusion that they thought cost them their only loss of the day, to Richard.

“We had a penalty to erase, and we knew that you can do that with just a jibe and a tack downwind but have to do a [270-degree] circle upwind,” Williams said, with some humor in his tone of voice.

But although they were sailing downwind toward the breakwater inside the Long Beach outer harbor, they instinctively did the downwind maneuver, which cost them just enough time for Richard to win by 16 seconds.

Richard agreed, “That may have made the difference.”

Nevertheless, Williams said, “It was a good day for having good guys on the front of the boat getting the sails up and down.”

Later, during the second flight, the race course aimed at downtown Long Beach shifted again to southwest – “normal” Long Beach – and kicked up from 15 to 18 knots, with gusts to 22, causing PRO Randy Smith to abandon the flight with only two five matches completed. The other three were sailed at the end of the day.

Tuesday’s results

Flight 1
Eric Monnin, Switzerland, def. Scott Dickson, USA, 15 seconds.
Adam Minoprio, New Zealand, def. Laurie Jury, New Zealand, 30 seconds.
Simone Ferrarese, Italy, def. Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands, 13 seconds.
Mathieu Richard, France, def. Ian Williams, Great Britain, 16 seconds.
Laurie Jury, New Zealand, Ed Baird, USA, def. Jordan Reece, Australia, 1 minute 22 seconds.

Flight 2
Jury d. Ferrarese, 1:02.
Richard d. Canfield, 0:16.
Williams d. Dickson, 0:06.
Baird d. Monnin, 0:10.
Minoprio d. Reece, 0:45.

Flight 3
Canfield d. Dickson, 0:08.
Williams d. Baird, 0:26.
Monnin d. Minoprio, 0:16.
Reece d. Jury, 0:34.
Ferrarese d. Richard, 0:01.

Flight 4
Williams d. Minoprio, 0:06.
Reece d. Monnin, 0:13.
Richard d. Jury, 0:37.
Dickson d. Ferrarese, DNF.
Baird d. Canfield, 0:16.

Flight 5
Jury d. Monnin, 0:18.
Richard d. Dickson, 0:21.
Ferrarese d. Baird, 0:18.
Canfield d. Minoprio, 0:14.
Williams d. Reece, 0:26.

Standings (after 5 of 18 flights): Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Ian Williams (GBR), 4-1; Ed Baird (USA) and Simone Ferrarese (ITA), 3-2; Laurie Jury (NZL), Taylor Canfield (USVI), Eric Monnin (SUI), Adam Minoprio (NZL), and Jordan Reece (AUS), 2-3; Scott Dickson (USA), 1-4.

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