Please select your home edition
Edition
Insun - AC Program

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

Insun - AC ProgramGiacomo Yacht SaleC-Tech

Related Articles

Extreme Sailing Series Act 4 – Day 3 sees leaderboard reshuffle
Ten spectacular races held in glorious conditions on Barcelona’s azure waters saw plenty of thrills and spills. Ten spectacular races held in glorious conditions on Barcelona’s azure waters saw plenty of thrills and spills as the eight international teams fought for vital points ahead of tomorrow’s finale.
Posted on 22 Jul
Edoardo Lupi and Massimo Pessina clinch 2017 Melges 32 European title
The success for Lupi/Pessina is one that is long overdue. This championship gives them their best ever result. The success for Lupi/Pessina is one that is long overdue. This championship gives them their best ever result in the Melges 32 Class.
Posted on 22 Jul
Spectacular Team Oman Air comeback at Extreme Sailing Series Barcelona
A world-class display of racing saw Team Oman Air rocket to the top of the Barcelona scoreboard on the penultimate day. A world-class display of racing saw Team Oman Air rocket to the top of the Barcelona scoreboard on the penultimate day.
Posted on 22 Jul
Tour de France à la Voile – Trésors de Tahiti win Act 6 super final
Remarkably the Tour leaders sailed a complete facsimile of their 2016 Act in Roses. Remarkably the Tour leaders sailed a complete facsimile of their 2016 Act in Roses. Then they sailed an 11th in the coastal race after an early option went wrong and then won in the Stadium.
Posted on 22 Jul
Melges 32 European Championship Sibenik – Day 3 images by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi provided this gallery of images from Day 3 Photographer Max Ranchi provided this gallery of images from Day 3
Posted on 22 Jul
Torpyone strengthens lead at 2017 Melges 32 European Championship
The team of Edoardo Lupi/Massimo Pessina on Torpyone have successfully defended their leadership for a second day The team of Edoardo Lupi/Massimo Pessina (Lorenzo Bressani, tactician) on Torpyone have successfully defended their leadership for a second day at the 2017 Melges 32 European Championship. They continue to race in attack mode making sharp-as-a-tack decisions in extremely light air conditions, ultimately keeping their lead and extending by one point.
Posted on 22 Jul
Musto launches official 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race collection
Musto's unveiling of the new Official Volvo Ocean Race Merchandise Collection marks a major milestone for the business Musto's unveiling of the new Official Volvo Ocean Race Merchandise Collection marks a major milestone for the business, as the brand continues to make major innovations to drive greater sustainability in its global business operations.
Posted on 22 Jul
Consistency rewards Oman Air in tough Extreme Sailing Series opener
Three podium finishes in six races helped Phil Robertson's Team Oman Air outfit into third place overall on a tricky day Three podium finishes in six races helped Phil Robertson's Team Oman Air outfit into third place overall on a tricky opening day to Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Barcelona.
Posted on 22 Jul
FNOB Impulse robbed of race win in action-packed Barcelona opener
A dramatic Act 4 curtain-raiser in Barcelona saw heartache for local wildcard crew FNOB Impulse when they were denied A dramatic Act 4 curtain-raiser in Barcelona saw heartache for local wildcard crew FNOB Impulse when they were denied their first win right on the finish line – as Alinghi took control of the scoreboard.
Posted on 22 Jul
PAC 52's raising the bar in the Transpacific Yacht Race
An enthusiastic Frank Slootman was ecstatic with results after reaching Diamond Head following a 2,225 nm full on charge Under the guidance of Gavin Brady, considered the guru of all things PAC 52, Invisible Hand went on a hardcore efficiency program in the weeks that led up to the Transpac, fine tuning the rig, optimizing sail inventory, crew training and a few changes in personnel.
Posted on 21 Jul