Top Four advance at Congressional Cup
Published on April 12th, 2014
Long Beach, CA (April 12, 2014) – Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands met Ian Williams of the United Kingdom Saturday in the 18th and last race of the Stage Two 50th Congressional Cup double round-robin, and the world’s No. 1-ranked match racer beat No. 2 by 23 seconds, winning the privilege of picking his opponent in Sunday’s semifinals.
“I hope he picks us,” said Williams, who matched Canfield’s 13-5 record but lost the last race to him and with it the tiebreaker.
Nevertheless, Williams said, “We’re definitely ready to bring our A-game.”
But Canfield picked Australia’s Keith Swinton, who reached the final four with a harder earned tiebreaker against defending champion Simone Ferrarese of Italy and France’s Mathieu Richard, the 2007 winner, each with 10-8 records. Francesco Bruni of Italy, the 2010 winner, clinched the other spot with a solid 12-6 record.
With competitors from four countries, it will be a truly international battle.
Whoever wins out through the best-of-three semis and the best-of-three finals will need their best efforts to top perhaps the strongest fleet in the event’s half-century.
How tough was it?
Dealing with the first whitecaps of the week built by a more normal southwest Long Beach breeze up to 14 knots, there were six owners of the traditional Crimson Blazers among the 10 skippers from seven nations, but only two—Williams and Bruni—advanced to the sailoffs, along with Canfield and Swinton, who had almost counted himself out after losing his last race to Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson, the 2009 winner.
Williams, the winner in 2011 and 2012, and Bruni (2010) were 3-1 on the day, Canfield and Swinton a humbling 2-2, as was Richard. Dave Perry (1983 and 1984) was eighth at 5-13.
Bruni said, “We are very happy we are through [to the sailoffs]. We have new positions on the team and it’s still training for us.”
The new personnel included tactician Adam Minoprio from New Zealand, formerly a skipper.
“Adam did very well,” Bruni said. “The Congressional Cup is always a tough competition but it’s now very high. A lot of people have the same faces but more skills.”
Canfield, twice burdened by double penalty flags on the day, said, “We knew it was going to be like this in this event . . . tough right until the end.”
Total prize money is $75,000, with $17,500 to the winner.
Saturday’s weather: Wind 14k SW; sunny, high temp. 60F.
Sunday’s forecast: Wind 11k WSW; sunny, high temp 58F.
Standings after Double Round Robin
1. Taylor Canfield (ISV) 13-5
2. Ian Williams (GBR) 13-5
3. Francsco Bruni (ITA) 12-6
4. Keith Swinton (AUS) 10-8
5. Simone Ferrarese (ITA) 5.5-8
6. Mathieu Richard (FRA) 10-8
7. Johnie Berntsson (SWE) 9-9
8. Dave Perry (USA) 5-13
9. Phil Robertson (NZL) 4-14
10. Scott Dickson (USA) 4-14
After completing two round robin series, the four highest scoring skippers advance to the Semi-Final and Final rounds. The remaining six skippers race in a Fleet Race held at the same time as the Semi-Finals.
Event website: http://www.thecongressionalcup.com
Watch the racing live on the event website.
Racing is scheduled to start daily at 12:00 pm, conditions permitting. Spectators enjoy incomparable viewing of the races from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Admission and parking are free; seating, free public shuttles along the pier, concessions and comfort stations are available. If watching from a spectator boat, listen to the play-by-play on VHF Channel 20A.
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The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing, introducing on-the-water umpiring in 1988, plus a high level of organization with a unique volunteer force of more than 300 Long Beach Yacht Club members. Each competing crew is assigned a boat hostess and housing team, who deliver the outstanding local hospitality characteristic of Congressional Cup for half a century, alongside world-class yacht racing.