Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

49th Congressional Cup - The Brit is set to return for battle

by Rich Roberts on 15 Feb 2013
Congressional Cup 2012 Rich Roberts © http://www.UnderTheSunPhotos.com
The first thing followers and fellow competitors want to know about the Long Beach Yacht Club's 49th Congressional Cup: Is the Brit coming back?

And the answer is, yes indeed. Ian Williams, still ranked number one in the world, will return April 9-13 with his GAR Pindar team in quest of an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the prestigious Grade 1 match racing event. The first two launched seasons leading to his third and fourth championships on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (the Congressional Cup is not a part of the tour).

If Williams wins again, LBYC already knows the size for his Crimson Blazer, the winner's traditional prize that goes with the check for the largest share of the $60,000 purse.

'GAC Pindar are really looking forward to returning to the Long Beach Yacht Club to defend our Congressional Cup title,' Williams said. 'This year we are going for three in a row both in the Congressional Cup and the Alpari World Championships, neither of which has been achieved before. It will be extremely difficult to achieve with the standard of teams looking to topple us improving every year, but come April we will be well prepared and up for the fight!'

His rivals will include two former winners---the USA's Ed Baird (2004), currently unranked by the International Sailing Federation, and France's Mathieu Richard (2007), ranked 18th in the world---and five other skippers in ISAF's top 20: Laurie Jury, New Zealand, No. 7; Taylor Canfield, U.S. Virgin Islands, No. 8; Eric Monnin, Switzerland, No. 13; Simone Ferrarese, Italy, No. 15, and Jordan Reece, Australia, No. 16, plus Adam Minoprio, New Zealand, No. 217.

Baird, 54, is unranked because his recent match racing has been limited to America's Cups, and the rankings are calculated by accumulated scores of the best four results in each of the most recent two years. Although he drove Switzerland's Alinghi to victory at Valencia in 2007, the AC doesn't count in the world rankings, but Baird was recognized by ISAF as World Sailor of the Year.

Minoprio won the Alpari World Tour title in 2009 but has raced in only three events the last two years while sailing with the Emirates Team New Zealand Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup campaigns.

The 10th Congressional Cup entry will be the winner of the Grade 2 Ficker Cup April 5-7, preceding the Congressional Cup. A favorite is Dustin Durant, ranked No. 31 after winning this month's Grade 2 Caribbean Nations Cup in Bridgetown, Barbados. But to reach the Congressional, Durant, 25, will have to beat out a field including his 2012 tactician, Scott Dickson, a multiple Ficker winner and frequent Congressional Cup competitor who will be back on his own boat this year.

The Ficker Cup follows the March 24-25 Butler Cup finale of the statewide California Dreamin' Series for match racing aspirants.

All three events will feature the Long Beach Sailing Foundation's sturdy Catalina 37s built for the match racing game, and all racing will be in front of the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with accommodations for spectators. Admission is free.

It's a familiar place now for Williams, who placed a tough second to four-time winner Gavin Brady in his first Congressional in 2006.

Williams, at 35 the winner of four Match Racing World Tours, including the last two years, once recalled his early ventures in an interview with Kim Hampton of YachtPals.

'When I was sort of 'the Nipper,' the young guy, coming into the sport, it was great to be able to go up against people like Russell Coutts, Peter Gilmour, Ed Baird, and take them on in equal boats,' Williams said. 'This meant that, provided you and your team could find a way to sail better than them, you could beat them.

'This was a fantastic situation to be in and very rare in our sport where the established names normally have an equipment advantage, if you get to race them at all.

'In some ways it's a bit tougher when you are the world champion, and everybody is going for you. The young guys who come in on any given day can beat you. Reputation means nothing once you are on the race course . . . which means you just really, really need to keep on top of your game, keep sharp all the time.'

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.

Zhik Yachting 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring One Design

Related Articles

World Match Racing Tour - Young Swede leads the charge in Sopot
Young Swede Nicklas Dackhammar and his Essiq Racing came out all guns blazing to post a two – one - one on opening day. 2016 World Match Racing Tour - Young Swede Nicklas Dackhammar and his Essiq Racing came out all guns blazing to post a two – one - one on the opening day of Energa Sopot Match Race, the first event in the new World Match Racing Tour season.
Posted today at 2:52 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Lone bullets for the Brits
Despite three more inshore races being held on day five France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.
Posted today at 2:10 am
Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour
Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Yesterday the boat took it first sail on Sydney Harbour in preparation for this weekend's start of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race
Posted on 28 Jul
Extreme Sailing Series– Oman Air sneak early lead despite bump on nose
Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today, with the narrow river, passing traffic, high walls, shifty light winds and strong currents challenging the fleet on the opening day
Posted on 28 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing top of the pops
Quantum Racing stand on the threshold of their third regatta win of the season after sailing to their fourth win today. The Bay of Palma lived up to its one way traffic reputation for most of the time. The risk-reward equation for those pressing for the pin end launch was high. But significantly both of today’s race winners – Quantum Racing and Bronenosec– favoured the lower risk mid line starts where they had a better chance of coming away from the gun at maximum speed by staying clear of the jousting and jostling
Posted on 28 Jul
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted on 28 Jul
Oman Air quick to master light airs on Day 1 of Extreme Sailing Series
Last year’s wild and gusty winds gave way to light simmering airs but the Oman Sail was quick to master the conditions. The compact River Elbe race course, bordered on all sides by cargo containers and all the handling equipment associated with one of the busiest ports in the world, was expected to be tricky for the GC32 fleet even though the race area had been expanded.
Posted on 28 Jul
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted on 28 Jul
Classic yacht Altricia will sail again after arson attack
A classic yacht which was a centrepiece at this year’s London Boat Show, is back under the care of Mylor’s Marine Team. A classic yacht which was a centrepiece at this year’s London Boat Show, following a painstaking three year restoration at Mylor Yacht Harbour is back under the care of Mylor’s Marine Team after she became the victim of arsonists.
Posted on 28 Jul
Thousands of spectators expected to welcome home Clipper Race fleet
Hurricane winds, giant waves, freezing conditions, battered boats and tragedy fail to quell fighting spirit of the crew. The tenth edition of the famous biennial race for novice sailors led by professional skippers is regarded as the most challenging on record after the event endured the most extreme conditions it has ever faced in its 20-year history.
Posted on 28 Jul