Showcasing Tactical Skills at Congressional Cup
Published on March 29th, 2017
Long Beach, CA (March 29, 2017) – The 53rd running of the Congressional Cup got underway today for the twelve international teams competing in the second stop in the 2017 World Match Racing Tour.
Mother Nature delivered full sun and light to moderate winds to showcase the tactical skills needed to master the Catalina 37s, the only monohull that teams will be sailing for the 2017 season. Six flights were completed just off of Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.
There was a bit of start and stop today as light breezes from the southwest built auspiciously, then plunged. The drop was so sudden, it threw Qualifying flight three into a frenzy …. a Swan Lake-like performance of boats grazing across the course with no apparent clue as to who was racing who.
Caught in the shifts – from 185 degrees to 230 degrees – Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) lost to Harry Price (AUS) by a full minute, while Sam Gilmour’s (AUS) time over Nicolai Sehested (DEN) was nearly the same. And Johnie Berntsson (SWE) hammered Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) by a remarkable two minutes: a huge spread for such a highly-ranked field of sailors.
But just as suddenly the sea breeze filled in to a brisk 12-14 knots. Aschenbrenner rebounded with a win over David Storrs (USA), and Canfield returned to his winning form: ending the day 4:1 – tied with Berntsson.
Both skippers are past Congressional Cup champions: Berntsson in 2009, and Canfield, 2014 – 2016. Like most of the teams on Day One, Berntsson said they “struggled with the details,” but added, “I’m happy, we had a good day and are staying in the game.”
Tied with three points each were Price, Gilmour, Phil Robertson (NZL) and Eric Monnin (SUI); followed by Aschenbrenner, Ian Williams (GBR), Chris Steele (NZL) and Scott Dickson (USA) each at two points.
While young Price took a win off both Canfield and Berntsson, reigning Match Racing World Champion Robertson can take solace in beating Price in their match.
Sehested and Storrs ended the day with one win each. “It was a bit of a tough day,” admitted Sehested, but he pointed out last year they moved up the leaderboard to second place overall, nearly capturing the title from Canfield, and was undeterred by his 1:4 start to the week.
Day One Standings
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) 4-1
Taylor Canfield (ISV) 4-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) 3-2
Harry Price (AUS) 3-2
Sam Gilmour (AUS) 3-2
Eric Monin (SUI) 3-2
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) 2-3
Chris Steele (NZL) 2-3
Ian Williams (GBR) 2-3
Scott Dickson (USA) 2-3
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 1-4
David Storrs (USA) 1-4
The schedule is to complete the single round robin tomorrow to determine which teams will advance to the Quarter Finals. Racing continues daily to the Finals on April 2. Races begin at roughly 1130am daily with live streaming action and commentary.
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.