Last Slot in Semifinals Friday, Congressional Cup

There's not much room left at the top of the 42nd Congressional Cup presented by Acura. New Zealand's Gavin Brady (12-3), Great Britain's Ian Williams (12-3) and France's Mathieu Richard (11-4) are in and five other skippers will be jousting today for the lone remaining slot in the final four sailoffs scheduled Saturday.

Williams, standing in first place alongside Brady, said, 'It shows the quality of the field when we get to this stage and five other guys have a chance to reach the semifinals.'

The five: Long Beach's New Zealand transplant, Scott Dickson; New Zealand's Simon Minoprio and Sweden's Johnie Berntsson at 7-8 and Finland's Staffan Lindberg and Redondo Beach's Brian Angel at 6-9.

With three races remaining in the double round robin today, New Zealand's Cameron Appleton (4-11) and Denmark's young Peter Wibroe (3-12) are left to compete for the traditional consolation prize: a copy of Arthur Knapp's book 'Race Your Boat Right.'

While Richard cooled off with four losses in his last five races after a 10-0 start, Brady has become the hot sailor with 10 wins in his last 11 races, including six in a row. So, with his position in the semis secured, how will he sail Friday?

'We'll just try to keep the rhythm going,' he said.

After two days of painfully light winds, Thursday produced the best sailing of the week with temperatures in the 70s and southwest winds---the first real sea breeze---opening at 10 knots and building to 15 with gusts to 20 at its peak. But Richard, who said earlier that he liked the light winds, didn't think that was his problem.

'I don't know if it was too much wind, but we got too many penalties,' he said.

He started the day with a loss to Brady, as Angel was launching his climb into contention with a five-second win over Lindberg, who was winless on the day but hangs on to a semifinal hope by his toenails.

Angel's day was made when he followed Minoprio across the finish line but the Kiwi drew a penalty for not allowing Angel proper room at the pin end of the line---victory to Angel.

Although chief umpire Gerard Bosse of France said only five penalties were imposed all day, Brady and Williams both drew umpire sanctions for sailing the wrong course when Brady won their match by 13 seconds. A course change was signaled at the preceding leeward mark but neither noticed it while wrestling their spinnakers down to turn upwind. Williams later followed Brady around the old orange inflatable windward mark instead of the new yellow one set about 40 yards away.

At the end of the day there was the prospect of them retailing the race, until the judges let them both off the hook with a decision that the course change had not been given properly.

As for the sailors on the bubble, there will be three key head-to-head matches in the last three rounds today: Berntsson vs. Minoprio, Lindberg vs. Berntsson and a grand finale of the day between Angel and Dickson.

Rain and thunder remained in the forecast, but principal race officer Bobby Frazier didn't see that as a problem.

'I can call the line from down below [on the committee boat],' he said with a straight face.

With a $41,000 purse at stake, competition is scheduled to start at noon each day, conditions permitting. The course is set adjacent to the Belmont Pier, which has accommodations for spectators with expert race commentary at no charge.



Gavin Brady, New Zealand, d. Mathieu Richard, France, 22 seconds; Ian Williams, Great Britain, d. Scott Dickson, Long Beach, Calif., 0:40; Simon Minoprio, New Zealand, d. Peter Wibroe, Denmark, 0:11; Brian Angel, Redondo Beach, Calif., d. Staffan Lindberg, Finland, 0:08; Johnie Berntsson, Sweden,

d. Cameron Appleton, New Zealand, 0:11.


Dickson d. Lindberg, 0:01; Brady d. Berntsson, 0:22; Minoprio d. Richard, 0:37; Angel d. Wibroe, 0:15; Williams d. Appleton, 0:30.


Berntsson d. Richard, 0:03; Brady d. Williams, 0:13; Dickson d. Wibroe, 0:05; Angel d. Minoprio, no time; Appleton d. Lindberg, 0:10.


Dickson d. Minoprio, 0:15; Appleton d. Wibroe, 0:13; Brady d. Lindberg, 0:37; Williams d. Berntsson. 0:19; Richard d. Angel, 0:31.

STANDINGS (after 15 of 18 rounds)

1. Tie between Brady and Williams, 12-3; 3. Mathieu Richard, 11-4; 4. tie among Dickson, Minoprio and Berntsson, 7-8; 7. tie between Lindberg and Angel, 6-9; 9. Appleton, 4-11; 10. Wibroe, 3-12.