by Rich Roberts
The 47th Congressional Cup has been won by Ian Williams (GBR) and his crew. They defeated Francesco Bruni of Italy.
Congressional Cup - Final
Leukemia claimed Ian Williams' mother Karen midweek, and this win was for mum - her pride in her son shone through Saturday's gloomy overcast which could not dim Williams victory.
He left his grief on the dock in driving his team to 17 wins, including a 2-0 sweep of defending champion Francesco Bruni for the championship.
'It's a time to keep focused … part of the job,' Williams said. 'She was a keen sailor. It's what she would have wanted me to do.'
Williams, 33, parked a barrister's career to pursue match race sailing several years ago. The move has paid off with two world championship events and a tour card for automatic entry into World Match Racing Tour regattas. He currently is ranked No. 5 in the world with updated ISAF rankings late this month.
If Williams hadn't been here, Bruni might have gone undefeated. His only losses in 22 races were one to Williams by one second in the double round robin and the two in the title match by seven and 17 seconds. Williams' final count was 17-5. After sweeping former champion Mathieu Richard of France by one and 20 seconds in the semifinals, as Bruni blitzed Finland's Staffan Lindberg by 43 and six seconds, he never trailed against Bruni.
'It all depends on getting a good start,' Williams said. 'Today we called [sailing to] the right [side of the course], and we got the right in all four matches. Long Beach has a particular look to it. You can see the pressure on the water.'
His tactician was Bill Hardesty, a San Diego native who sailed as skipper for a fourth-place finish a year ago and knows these waters well.
Congressional Cup 2011 Final
'It's all about having the right outlook on the team,' Hardesty said. 'The outlook on the boat in the last race was the same as in the first race. When you lose that you make bad decisions.'
Williams' team collected a check for $10,000 of the $41,500 total purse.
Double round robin
1. Francesco Bruni, Italy, 17-1.
2. Tie between Mathieu Richard, France, and Ian Williams, Great Britain, 13-5.
4. Staffan Lindberg, Finland, 9-9.
5. Dave Perry, USA, 8-10.
6. Tie between Johnie Berntsson, Sweden, and Simone Ferrarese, Italy, 7-11.
8. Evgeny Neugodnikov, Russia, 6-12.
9. Tie between Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Phil Robertson, New Zealand, 5-13.
Williams d. Richard, 0:01.
Williams d. Richard, 0:20.
(Williams wins, 2-0)
Bruni d. Lindberg, 0:43.
Bruni d. Lindberg, 0:06.
(Bruni wins, 2-0)
Williams d. Bruni, 7 seconds.
Williams d. Bruni, 0:17.
(Williams wins, 2-0)
1. Williams $10,000
2. Bruni $6,000
3. Richard $5,000
4. Lindberg $4,500
5. Perry $3,500
6. Ferrarese $3,100
7. Berntsson $2,700
8. Neugodnikov $2,300
9. Robertson $1,900
10. Canfield $1,500
Ian Williams (GBR) and crew - Congressional Cup 2011