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Field narrows at 2021 Congressional Cup

Published on September 18th, 2021

Long Beach, CA (September 18, 2021) – It wasn’t just the sudden 4.3 earthquake that shook things up at the 2021 Congressional Cup this weekend. The spirited racing found five skippers battling for the final spot in the semi-final round at this World Match Racing Tour event.

At the start of Day Four, only two races remained in the double round robin series: a scant 1.5 points separating the five hopefuls. Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and Emil Kjaer (DEN) each went 1-1; while David Wood’s (USA) losses to Petersen and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) eliminated him from the hunt. But when Chris Poole (USA) aced both of his matches – including a stunning win over Berntsson – he leapfrogged the pack to land the final spot in the semis.

“I thought it would be a tall order to get through,” Poole admitted, after an opening day record of 2-5. “This is a really tough event, and the field of competition is really deep. And the younger guys we saw come up from Ficker Cup are not slow … so to have that competition: it was really a tall order.

“There were a lot of factors that had to happen for us to win our two races: that’s all we had control over. But the guys on my boat did a phenomenal job and the chips fell in our favor.” Poole called his pairing with Berntsson in the semi-finals a “fistfight” – which included Poole earning a black flag. They ended the day 2-2.

Taylor Canfield (USA), as the frontrunner in Stage One, had selected Eric Monnin (SUI) as his opponent in the semis. A four-time Congressional Cup champion, Canfield ended the day 2-1 against Monnin, who has yet to win a Crimson Blazer. Their second race of the semis was abandoned due to a wind shift.

The 2021 Congressional Cup marks Monnin’s eighth attempt at the title. “For us it’s really cool to be in the semis: it’s our first time,” noted Monnin, who also was black flagged today. “We always struggle a bit on these boats and adapting to the conditions, but this is a big opportunity. We want to perform well so we don’t let that chance go.”

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.

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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.

Source: LBYC

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