Top four advance at Ficker Cup
Published on April 15th, 2022
Long Beach, CA (April 15, 2022) – Ficker Cup defending champion Emil Kjaer (DEN) continued his domination on the race course today, as the international field of competitors battled for advancement to the semifinal stages in this Grade 2 match racing regatta at Long Beach Yacht Club.
The fleet sailed under warm sunshine, with breezes of six to eight knots that freshened to 16 by day’s end: ideal conditions are expected to continue through tomorrow’s final day of racing for the Ficker Cup.
Kjaer and his young Danish team went undefeated in the round robin series until the final flight, when he pulled dual penalties in the fiery pre-start against Jeppe Borch (DEN). Both Kjaer and Borch had secured their spots in the semifinals early in this series, and were joined by Dave Perry – who started the regatta at a slow simmer, but was on fire today.
Vying for the last of four slots, it came down to the wire for Peter Holz (USA) and Jeffrey Petersen (USA). Squaring off in the last flight of the round robins, Holz had seven wins; Petersen six. A win for Holz would cement his berth, while a win for Petersen would even the score and give him the tie-breaker.
But an OCS by Petersen in the pre-start gave Holz an advantage which he carried around the course, to finish first and capture the final place in the semis.
Holz was Kjaer’s pick for the semifinal matches, leaving Perry to battle it out with Borch. The winners of the semifinal rounds will both qualify for the Congressional Cup: but only one will capture the prestigious Ficker Cup title.
Kjaer acknowledged “a little bit of luck” in his command of the series, against such high level of competition. “We actually haven’t done a lot of match racing recently, but have done a lot of other sailing that has helped us improve our boat speed. But not doing a lot of match racing recently … it was a bit of a surprise that we came back into it that easily.
“I thought we were going to have to relearn it and work through some big mistakes – especially at the starts – and we did! But somehow we always turned out lucky, and we’ve had good speed.”
He credited Joachim Aschenbrenner, a veteran Congressional Cup skipper, with acing the tactics for the crew. “He is a really experienced match racing sailor, so I can put all my energy into making the boat fast. We’ve got five guys focusing on speed, and one guy focusing on the match racing tactics. And it’s working.”
But Kjaer wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“Yeah, we won a lot of races, but I’m sure everyone else is going to improve pretty quickly. So we have to sort out the mistakes we’re doing, and learn quick as well, to keep winning,” said Kjaer. “We are hopefully going to qualify for the Congressional Cup: that’s our big goal.”
Racing continues tomorrow at the Congressional Cup stadium, a designated racecourse adjacent the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. The winner of the Ficker Cup and runner-up will advance to the Congressional Cup, to be held April 19 to 23.
Racing is on April 14-16
2022 World Match Racing Tour Schedule
April 14-16 – Ficker Cup – Long Beach, CA, USA
April 18-23 – Congressional Cup – Long Beach, CA, USA*
April 28-May 1 – Szczecin Match Race – Szczecin, Poland
May 6-8 – Porto Montenegro Match Race – Tivat, Montenegro
May 20-22 – NJK Open Spring Cup – Helsinki, Finland
May 24-29 – Island Match Cup – Puerto Rico (cancelled)
June 4-5 – GKSS Spring Cup – Gothenburg, Sweden
June 16-19 – OM International Ledro Match Race – Ledro, Italy
July 4-9 – GKSS Match Cup Marstrand – Marstrand, Sweden* (cancelled)
August 12-14 – Chicago Grand Slam – Chicago, IL, USA
August 18-21 – International Match Race for the Detroit Cup – Detroit, MI, USA
August 25-29 – Oakcliff International – Oyster Bay, NY, USA
August 30-September 3 – Thompson Cup – Oyster Bay, NY, USA
September 7-11 – Baltic Match Race – Tallin, Estonia
September 29-October 3 – Match Race Germany – Langenargen, Germany
September 30-October 3 – DBS Marina Bay Cup – Marina Bay, Singapore
October 7-9 – Polish Open – Szczecin, Poland
October 17-22 – Bermuda Gold Cup – Hamilton, Bermuda* (cancelled)
December 6-11 – Shenzhen Bao’an Match Cup: WMRT Finals – Shenzhen, China*
*World Championship (WC) Events
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
Source: Betsy Senescu