Williams vs Canfield in Congressional Cup

Published on April 22nd, 2022

Long Beach, CA (April 22, 2022) – It’s a rivalry as legendary as the Red Sox vs. the Yankees.

Joe Frazier vs. Muhammed Ali.

New Zealand All Blacks vs. South Africa Springboks.

Canfield vs. Williams.

This longstanding rivalry between two of the world’s leading match racing skippers repeats itself tomorrow when Ian Williams (GBR) and Taylor Canfield (USA) square off once again, in the final round of the 57th Congressional Cup regatta at Long Beach Yacht Club.

Completing four days of racing in unseasonably windy conditions, they advanced to the finals after dominating the round robins and defeating respective rivals Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Chris Poole (USA) in the semifinals.

Today’s fiery competition in testing conditions even gained praise from Chief Umpire Russel Green, who officiates top-level yachting events worldwide.

“We really got a close-up view of how good these sailors are and how well they handle their boats,” noted Green, despite overseeing several penalty calls including a red flag and a black flag. “It is incredible to see these pros in such good action.”

Today’s westerly breeze hovered at 20 knots – skimming the top range for the one-design Catalina 37 fleet. And it was brutal. “We gave it a good fight,” said Berntsson, stressing the battle with the wind was as great as the one against his opponent.

Berntsson, the winner of the 2009 Congressional Cup, had been coupled with four-time champion Williams in the semis. One of the longstanding competitors in the event, Berntsson was excited about being at the 2022 Cup: LBYC commodore Jon Turgiliatto and his wife are their perennial housing hosts.

“So this was a really special year to be here,” said Berntsson. “But it’s always great to be back, and as long as we are competitive we would like to be here.”

And competitive they were: Berntsson Racing Team was first on the score board over Williams Team Gladstone’s Long Beach, who rebounded to take the second race and even the score. In Flight 3 Williams took the lead over Berntsson after the umpires black flagged the Swedish skipper, taking him out of the race. Berntsson fought back in Flight 4 to even the score once again but faltered to Williams in the final sudden death match.

Canfield, a five-time Congressional Cup winner, defending champion and frontrunner in Stage One, had selected Poole for his pairing in the first-to-three points semifinal series. Canfield’s Stars+Stripes Team took the first match but Poole’s Riptide Racing came back to win the second. Canfield scored again, and in the fourth match it looked like Poole would turn the tables once more.

With a convincing lead in the final leg, Poole was poised to offset a penalty with a ‘spin and win’ at the finish line. In the hefty breeze though the spinnaker got away, putting the brakes on. Canfield and crew seized the opportunity to take the last match and advance to the finals.

And when the fleet retuned to LBYC: more racing. This evening was the 12th annual Junior Congressional Cup, which pairs LBYC Junior Sailors with the pro skippers in a rousing race in Alamitos Bay. With the Juniors at the helm of the CFJ dinghies and skippers crewing, the fleet completed three races in the late afternoon breeze.

Junior Walter McFarland, racing with Canfield, won overall with an impressive 3-1-3 record, followed by Alex Lech and Poole, and Hanna Crompton and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) in a tiebreaker for third.

“Being be able to sail in a regatta with Johnie Berntsson, that’s something special,” said Junior Sailor Jack Snow, excitedly. His family has hosted teams for many years, giving the young sailor a window into the world of professional sailing.

“These guys have heavily influenced me. They taken me out sailing, and just going on a ride-along and seeing how they sail teaches us; not just sailing techniques but a proper way to act,” said Snow.

“They set a really good example for how a sailor should act – the way they carry themselves,” added Samuel Mohinani , another Junior racer. “They’re really cool, fun guys but when it comes to going out on the water everything is exact. And to have that opportunity right in front of you is great.”

Both boys admitted aspiring to advancing their sailing careers, thanks to the emphasis LBYC puts on Junior sailing, including the Junior Congressional Cup.

Trent Turigliatto, a senior at the University of Miami, won the Junior event in 2017 and explained, “The effect of this exposure has been immeasurable. It opened the door to opportunities I might not have had and connected me with people I wouldn’t otherwise know.”

His Junior Congressional Cup victory led to an invitation to race Ficker Cup with Chris Poole, and in turn to race in Bermuda.

“Long Beach Yacht Club does a great job on Congressional Cup. It’s been such an inspiration and source of pride to watch it, since I was a kid. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to participate in it myself.

Live streaming begins daily at 11:30am PT: click here.

Event informationResultsCrew lists

Racing in the Catalina 37s, the format began with the double round robin series to advance the top four teams for the semifinals, petite finals and finals. Racing is on April 19-23.

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

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

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