Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 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

Wildwind 2016 660x82Zhik Isotak Ocean 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

RCIYC Rossborough Insurance Round the Island Race Preview
Scheduled for 7th August the 40-mile race is open to both local and visiting sports boats, cruiser/racers and catamarans Starting at 0800 hours in St Aubin’s Bay, the fleet will head eastwards to the Violet Channel buoy on the southeast corner of the Island, thence anti-clockwise around the Island returning to St Aubin’s Bay to finish.
Posted today at 12:28 pm
Mixed fortunes for Clipper Race fleet as Atlantic High causes pain
The frontrunners have managed to escape the grasp of the light winds associated with the ridge of the Azores High As the front of the fleet heads north the wind has been building, and the battle for positions is intense at the make or break stage of the race with roughly 1300 nautical miles to go until Derry-Londonderry.
Posted today at 11:17 am
Two new teams to make their competitive debuts on the GC32 Racing Tour
For the GC32 Malcesine Cup, taking place as part of Foiling Week, ten GC32 teams will be competing. Japan joins the event in the form of Naofumi Kamei’s Mamma Aiuto! Like Jason Carroll’s Argo team, Mamma Aiuto! comes from the Melges 32 high performance keel boat, where it finished a very respectable third in the class’ last World Championship.
Posted today at 10:31 am
Impressive lineup of speakers for Foiling Week Garda
Foiling Week™, the first and only global event dedicated to foiling boats, announced the 2016 Forum Programme. The Foiling Week Forum is a unique event that creates an opportunity for the best foiling regatta sailors to share knowledge and information with designers/builders and enable technicians and theorists to put into practice their projects, generating an exchange of feedback that accelerates the development process of foiling.
Posted today at 10:10 am
Volvo Ocean Race adds full Southern Ocean Leg and 5000nm to new course
Volvo Ocean Race has announced a new course for the 2017/18 round the world event. Several major changes are planned including a return to a full Southern Ocean leg, and the addition of a massive Leg 5 of 13,300nm - the longest leg ever sailed in the Volvo Ocean Race. A minimum circumnavigation around the planet is approximately 21,600nm to be recognised as, a record for the course.
Posted today at 4:23 am
12 teams to fight for valuable points on Finnish waters at WIM Series
Hosting the Helsinki Women’s Match is Nyländska Jaktklubben– the yacht club that brought the exciting sailing discipline Hosting the Helsinki Women’s Match is Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK) – the yacht club that brought the exciting sailing discipline of match racing to Finland already some 25 years ago. In 2011 the European Women’s Match Racing Championship was sailed in Helsinki, in 2014 the club hosted the Youth Match Racing World Championship
Posted on 27 Jun
My Best Olympic Race – Vasilij Zbogar
Memorable moments won’t always be the golden ones. They can be hitting a personal best, breaking a national record Speak to any athlete and ask them about a moment that defines their career. Whether it happened five days, five months, five years or even fifty years ago the chances are the memory of that moment is clearly engraved in their minds.
Posted on 27 Jun
Second round of the FAST40+ Racing Circuit proves to be real thriller
With its double tides, sand banks, channels and numerous land effects, the Solent is a complex place to sail. With its double tides, sand banks, channels and numerous land effects, the Solent is a complex place to sail. The highly changeable weather scenario including thunder and lightening added another dimension to the regatta. However, in the light weight FAST40+ Class, speed is always king.
Posted on 27 Jun
Azzurra ready to face 11 competitors at Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Azzurra is ready in Porto Cervo for the beginning of the second event in the 52 Super Series 2016 set to start tomorrow. Azzurra is defending champion in the 52 Super Series and has to recover points on Quantum, the team that won the first event of the Series held last month in Scarlino, Tuscany.
Posted on 27 Jun
Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro – Cherry up with the cream on Devon Coast
The solo skippers have to work hard because the gusty southwesterly breeze is so irregular, oscillating back and forth. Nicolas Lunven (Generali) the overall race winner in 2009 held the lead in the 0500hrs position report this morning, but as the leaders pass Exmouth the most inshore pair, Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and Yoann Richomme (Skipper Macif 2014) have made a small gain and lead by just over one nautical mile.
Posted on 27 Jun