by Rich Roberts
How about cooking up a bit more international flavoring to next week's 47th Congressional Cup?
Instead of erasing a penalty at finish, Bob Hughes (l.) ran over his spinnaker, giving David Chapman the win - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
While the Cup may add even more spice to the granddaddy of the match racing game that already has seven nations and the U.S. Virgin Islands entered when it winds up Saturday to advance its winner to fill the tenth entry slot.
Simone Ferrarese of Italy and Will Tiller of New Zealand sailed through their round robins with 6-1 records enhanced by 2-0 wins in the quarterfinals Friday, and Ferrarese won the privilege of picking his semifinals opponent by dealing Tiller his only loss in the last two weeks, including an 11-0 effort in the Butler Cup earlier this month.
Be assured the Italian, ranked twenty-first in the world, won't pick the Kiwi, who is ranked 35th, so it will be either Chris Nesbitt from Balboa Yacht Club down the coast or Bob Hughes from Michigan's Macatawa Bay YC. Both are 6-4 overall through the quarterfinals.
'Maybe Nesbitt,' said Ferrarese, who had just swept the overwhelmed and winless Mike Komar, a late recruit to drive the boat Oyster Bay, N.Y., 2-0.
Close but no foul - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
A brisk and bone-chilling breeze blew southwest to west up to 14 knots through the afternoon, perhaps an encore to Saturday's forecast for rain.
Ferrarese beat Tiller by one and a half boat lengths in the closest match of the day but may have had a little help from an intruder along the way.
'A boat from another match took us out,' Tiller said, and Ferrarese agreed.
Hughes drew a pre-start penalty against Australia's David Chapman but sailed a solid race to put himself in strong position to erase it at the finish line and clinch their quarterfinal sail-off. But as he was dropping his spinnaker near the race committee boat and starting his 270-degree turn, the plan went awry.
The on-water umpires quickly ruled that he hadn't completed his turn properly, and as he turned to re-cross the finish line he ran over the spinnaker and went dead in the water as Chapman breezed past for the win.
No matter. Hughes won the deciding race to reach the sail-offs.
The spectator-friendly competition is running directly off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in east Long Beach. Daily starting times---approximately noon---will be determined by weather conditions.
Will Tiller (r.) comes down on Dustin Durant after the start - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
7 round-robin flights
1. Tie between Simone Ferrarese, Italy, and William Tiller, New Zealand, 5-0.
3. Tie between Chris Nesbitt, Balboa YC, Calif., and David Chapman, Australia, 3-2.
5. Bob Hughes, Macatawa Bay YC, 2-3.
6. Tie between Dustin Durant, Long Beach, and John Horsch, Treasure Island Sailing Club, San Francisco, 1-4.
8. Mike Komar, Oakcliff Sailing Center, 0-5.
Hughes def. Chapman, 2-1.
Nesbitt d. Horsch, 2-1.
Tiller d. Durant, 2-0.
Ferrarese d. Komar, 2-0.
Action in every direction - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
1- Tiller (1) drives between Chris Nesbitt and mark, forcing a foul - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
2 - Tiller (1) drives between Chris Nesbitt and mark, forcing a foul - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC
Pre-start sparring between Bob Hughes (l.) and Dustin Durant - Ficker Cup, Day 2 - Long Beach YC