Please select your home edition
Edition
Gold Coast Marine Expo 2017 728x90

Congressional Cup action on the horizon

by Congressional Cup Media on 9 Apr 2013
Congressional Cup 2012 Wilson leads across the line in deciding match Rich Roberts © http://www.UnderTheSunPhotos.com
The 49th Congressional Cup gets underway on Tuesday, 9th March where some of the world's best match racing sailors from six countries and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be competing. Two round-robin rotations will be followed by sailoffs through Saturday. Competition will be at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier on the Long Beach outer harbor starting at noon daily, conditions permitting.

Monday's conditions didn't even permit practice sailing. Uncommon northwest winds well above 20 knots---the limit for exposing the Catalina 37s to potential damage---kept all competitors ashore. Plans are for a limited practice period before racing starts Tuesday.

The field has Great Britain's Ian Williams, the world's top-ranked match racer, trying for his third consecutive win in the event against New Zealand's Laurie Jury, the U.S. Virgin Islands' Taylor Canfield, Switzerland's Eric Monnin, Italy's Simone Ferrarese, Australia's Jordan Reece, France's Mathieu Richard and New Zealand's Adam Minoprio.

So where are all the Americans?

Keep looking. At the bottom, according to ISAF's rankings, are Ed Baird of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Scott Dickson of Long Beach, but they didn't get in on their recent resumes. Dickson is ranked 465th and Baird isn't ranked at all these days---not because they lack the talent to compete at this Grade 1 match racing level but because they haven't played the game much lately.

Baird, 54, won the Congressional in 2004 and three years later during an America's Cup career drove Switzerland's Alinghi to victory. His tactician will be Terry Hutchinson, 44, a northern California native who won the Congressional in 1992 but also remembers Baird's 2004 victory only too well.

That's when in the decisive match of their championship sailoff Hutchinson led by about a minute at the last windward mark but sailed into a windless hole downwind as Baird breezed past to victory.

'Yeah, well, that's racing,' Hutchinson says now, grimacing.

No hard feelings, though, Hutchinson was invited back this year, two days before he learned he was asked to team up with Baird in a Quantum Sails-sponsored TP52 campaign in Europe. Since Baird will be driving that boat, Hutchinson figured they should team up here.

'Since we're going to be sailing together this summer,' Baird said, 'Terry thought this would be a good place to start.'

Dickson, 42, also proving it's never too late, scored his entry---his 12th Congressional---by finishing second to Canfield in last weekend's Ficker Cup amid a strong Grade 2 field.

So Baird-Hutchinson and Dickson and, in a slight stretch of national definition, Canfield will carry American hopes. Canfield, director of the Chicago Match Racing Center and winner of three major events on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour last year, flies the flag of his homeland.

'While I am an American citizen and represent the U.S. as well,' he says, 'I feel that I have a great connection to the ISV and have chosen that over the U.S.'

So be it. All of the Americans have the same mission against the overwhelming presence of other nationals on the world scene, not only in the America's Cup but in match racing overall. In the Congressional's early years foreign entries were uncommon.

Baird said, 'Match racing has never been as big in the U.S. as some of us would like to see it, although more young sailors are taking up match racing with the development of the Chicago Match Race Center.'

Hutchinson said, 'It's all a cycle. The rest of the world has been catching up.'

Most notably, the America's Cup lacks a significant American presence. There is only one American---tactician John Kostecki---on billionaire Larry Ellison's American defender.

'Whoever wins may return some semblance of nationality back into it,' Hutchinson said hopefully.

The Congressional Cup is not a part of the world tour, but older competitors are aware of its contributions to developing the game, such as on-water umpiring with penalty turns that did away with late-night protests at the end of too many days.

Baird recalled, 'In the late 80s when they went to on-water umpiring it was more enjoyable for everybody.'

The Congressional has a $60,000 purse, including $15,000 to the winner, along with the traditional Crimson Blazer.

The racing will be at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Admission is free. Bleachers, comfort stations and a snack bar are available. Parking is at the base of the pier, with complimentary golf cart service available from the beach to the end of the pier.

LBYC set the bar for world-class match racing in 1965 when it started the event and Rear Commodore Bill Dalessi persuaded Congressman Craig Hosmer and U.S. Senator Tom Kuchel to sponsor official legislation endorsing it as the Congressional Cup.

Some 20 years later, weary of late night protest hearings back at the club, then-LBYC Commodore Pete Ives, with input from influential sailing leaders Tom Ehman and Gary Jobson, introduced on-water umpiring that revolutionized the game worldwide for competitors and spectators as far up as the America's Cup.

The Congressional Cup has maintained a high level of organization with a unique volunteer force of some 300 club members and their families. Each crew is assigned boat hostesses and a housing team to deliver the outstanding local hospitality the Congressional Cup has offered now for 49 years. Congressional Cup website

X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 3Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82Festival of Sails 2017 660x82

Related Articles

Vendée Globe – Romain Attanasio at the Horn
Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Étamine du Lys) rounded Cape Horn, the third of the legendary capes at 2043hrs UTC Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Étamine du Lys) rounded Cape Horn, the third of the legendary capes at 2043hrs UTC on Friday after 75 days eight hours and 41 minutes of racing. Only Dutchman Pieter Heerema and Frenchman Sébastien Destremau are still sailing in the Pacific.
Posted today at 7:28 pm
Day 77 – Ninety percent of Vendée Globe fleet now back in Atlantic
With Banque Populaire and Hugo Boss tied up to the dock in Les Sables d'Olonne sixteen skippers remain at sea today With Le Cléac'h's Banque Populaire and second-placed Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss tied up to the dock in Les Sables d'Olonne sixteen skippers remain at sea today – and fourteen of them are now in the Atlantic.
Posted today at 5:53 pm
Vendee Globe - Romain Attansio at the Horn
Romain Attanasio rounded Cape Horn, the third of the legendary capes in the Vendée Globe at 2043hrs UTC on Friday Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Étamine du Lys) rounded Cape Horn, the third of the legendary capes in the Vendée Globe at 2043hrs UTC on Friday after 75 days 8 hours and 41 minutes of racing. Only Dutchman Pieter Heerema and Frenchman Sébastien Destremau are still sailing in the Pacific.
Posted today at 8:58 am
History repeats as Melbourne to Geelong Race kicks off 2017 FoS
Line honours in the 174th Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, the curtain opener to FoS, was a repeat of the 2016 finish Line honours in the 174th Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race, the curtain opener to the Festival of Sails, was a repeat of the 2016 finish with Geoff Boettcher’s TP52 Secret Mens Business (SA) the first monohull and Bare Essentials (VIC) the first multihull across the finish line.
Posted today at 7:39 am
Former Clipper Race skipper equals British record in Vendee Globe
Alex Thomson, has finished in second place after a thrilling fight to the finish to the Vendee Globe. The youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race, Alex Thomson, has finished in second place after a thrilling fight to the finish to the Vendee Globe.
Posted today at 6:38 am
Canfield returns as one of the favourites in World Match Racing Tour
Taylor Canfield and the US One team came into the 2016 season as the big favourites. Taylor Canfield and the US One team came into the 2016 season as the big favourites. They had won the majority of major M32 events in the previous season and spent more time in the boat than any other team and the expectations were great.
Posted on 20 Jan
Le Cléac'h and Thomson revel in the Vendée Globe glory
Armel Le Cléac'h and Alex Thomson were basking in the glory of becoming the solo round the world race's fastest sailors. Armel Le Cléac'h and second-placed Alex Thomson were today basking in the glory of becoming the solo round the world race's fastest ever sailors. Le Cléac'h and Thomson arrived in the race's home port of Les Sables d'Olonne in France just 16 hours apart after more than 27,000 nautical miles of racing over 74 days to claim the top two podium places.
Posted on 20 Jan
Jules Verne Trophy – New equator record for IDEC Sport
Francis Joyon, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex and Bernard achieved the best performance ever Francis Joyon, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella and Bernard Stamm achieved the best performance ever for the stretch betweenUshant and the Equator after rounding the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn) with a time of 35 days, four hours and 45 minutes.
Posted on 20 Jan
Alex Thomson takes the runner-up spot in the Vendée Globe
Thomson set out to become the first Brit ever to win the Vendée Globe but following an epic battle with French skipper. Thomson, 42, set out to become the first Brit ever to win the Vendée Globe but following an epic battle with French skipper Armel Le Cléac'h missed out on the top spot by just shy of 16 hours. The skipper of Hugo Boss crossed the finish line at 0737 UTC in a time of 74 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes and 15 seconds in one of the closest finishes ever in the race's 27-year history.
Posted on 20 Jan
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – Tweaks and changes
Paul Miller, Racing Director for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta spoke about the tweaks and changes to the 37th edition Paul Miller, Racing Director for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, spoke about the tweaks and changes to the 37th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including free entry for the Gill Commodore's Cup, sensational Beach Cat packages including very attractive shipping costs from Europe and a novel finale to the Caribbean's most popular regatta.
Posted on 20 Jan