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Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew

by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF) on 15 Apr 2014
Taylor Canfield (l.) races downwind during the Congressional Cup 2014 Rich Roberts
In the 50th Congressional Cup, world number one Taylor Canfield (USA) and his crew sailed an unforgiving and mistake free defense to win the championship final with two wins to world number two Ian Williams' (GBR) one to collect the traditional Crimson Blazer.

A best of three final was raced to decide the 50th Congressional Cup Champion, with one win a piece it was all to play for going into the last race. During the pre-start a loud crunching noise indicated a collision between boats and the fortunes of fate swung to Canfield in the last minute of the pre-start choreography.

First he noticed the six-inch chunk missing from the transom behind his feet, then he reached for the protest flag and moments later saw the on-water umpires affirm his protest with a blue flag, matching Williams' ID for that race.

It was startling for all and heartbreaking for others, like those rooting for Ian Williams to win his third traditional Crimson Blazer in four years.

Although there remained a decisive race twice around the half-mile windward-leeward course in 10 knots of chilly breeze, with Williams behind and owing a penalty turn, it seemed over before the start. Canfield said he knew it wasn't, 'We knew it was going to be tough all the way through the race.'

Williams made it so with tacking duels upwind and gybing his spinnaker to steal Canfield's air downwind. The pair performed as their current world number one and world number two world rankings promised in a contest featuring contestants from seven nations.

Williams said, 'It's not a good way to lose, but Taylor sailed great. When I look back at it, the first race hurt us more. We had contact in that pre-start, too, but the umpires didn't make the call.'

Earlier, Canfield dispatched Keith Swinton of Australia in the semifinals, 2-0, while Williams defeated Francesco Bruni (ITA), 2-1. Bruni then defeated Swinton, 2-1, in the petite sail off.

Phil Robertson's New Zealand team won the fleet race around the harbor for the six competitors who didn't reach the sail offs.

Canfield's crew consisted of Rod Dawson, spinnaker trim and tactics; Goodrick Hayden, bow; Mike Rehe and Dan Morris, sail trim, and Brian Janney, main sail and pit.

Final standings
1. Taylor Canfield, USA
2. Ian Williams, GBR
3. Francesco Bruni, ITA
4. Keith Swinton, AUS
5. Simone Ferrarese, ITA
6. Mathieu Richard, FRA
7. Johnie Berntsson, SWE
8. Dave Perry, USA
9. Phil Robertson, AUS
10. Scott Dickson, USA
11. Dustin Durant, USA
12. Chris Poole, ISAF website

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