Canfield holds lead at Congressional Cup
Published on September 16th, 2021
Long Beach, CA (September 16, 2021) – It was evident today, on Day Two of the Congressional Cup regatta here, that racers have shaken off any dust or rust caused by the pandemic pause and surged into full form.
Racing in the five-day regatta – hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and part of the World Match Racing Tour – tightened up in both position and proximity as the ten teams got in the groove with the Catalina 37s and with the venue off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.
Amplified by winds of 10 to 13 knots, there were several clashes on the course. Competitors also skimmed the pier – where dozens of spectators were rapt with astonishment – and even buzzed the Race Committee boat.
“Centimeters!” described Principal Race Officer Randy Smith, of how close ‘the Battle of Balboa’ was – referring to Balboa Yacht Club’s entries Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and David Wood (USA), both of whom qualified in the Ficker Cup last week.
“I honestly braced for contact,” he remarked, of the match which was won by Petersen, one of his three victories today. Petersen sits in a precarious fifth place position behind Taylor Canfield (USA) 10-2; Johnie Berntsson (SWE) 9-3; Eric Monnin (FRA) 8-4; and Emil Kjaer (7-5).
“The run for the semis is on and every single point counts,” noted Monnin. “Probably it’s going to be a one-point decision, if you make the semis or not.”
Only the top four teams will advance to the semi-finals and a chance to win the Crimson Blazer. Racing is expected to continue to heat up with only six matches remaining in the double round robins.
Collisions and altercations are common in the aggressive game of match racing, and LBYC organizers have on-the-water umpires to make real time decisions on fouls and related penalties.
A bos’n is stationed on the course to repair or replace equipment on the spot, and Chief Umpire Flavio Naveira chided competitors saying, “No train wrecks please!” in an effort to keep racing on track and on time.
New to Congressional Cup rules this year is an exclusion zone at the Belmont Pier to restrict just how close competitors can come to the concrete structure and wings which extend 120-feet east and west. In 2018, competitor Harry Price proved how close race action is to the audience on the Pier; when his boat knocked a lamppost off. That corner is now good-humoredly known as ‘Price Point.’
Weather forecasts call for splendid breeze of 8 to 14 knots to continue from the southwest, and plenty of California sunshine.
Racing on September 15-19 is held off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, beginning with a Double Round Robin followed by semi-finals, petite finals, and finals.
WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR
Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.
Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR).
Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com