Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

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 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

The door’s been flung open – again
Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing gets sexier for Tokyo Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing may get sexier for Tokyo 2020. Yes, the proverbial door has been cast ajar before, often to much fanfare, and not that much has been achieved.
Posted on 28 Aug
Michael Illbruck crowned 2016 Melges 20 World Champion
Although not a simple task, Freides aimed to keep Illbruck behind him, or at minimum out of top nine ranking. Hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino, the World Championship was the most successful to date featuring four days of incredible sportboat racing.
Posted on 28 Aug
Freides defends leadership at Melges 20 World Championship
The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship was a difficult one at best 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino was a difficult one at best, however managed to present some nice new faces at the front of the fleet.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
Changing of the Guard at Melges 20 Worlds, Freides takes over
The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship featured two races under shifty conditions 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino featured two races under shifty conditions, shaking up the standings and making Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee the new leader with a one point advantage over Michael Illbruck on Pinta now seated in second place.
Posted on 27 Aug
Hönö hosts double header for World Match Racing Tour events
Over two consecutive weekends, the Swedish west coast island of Hönö will host two WMRT events at the World Tour level. The island which is home to the M32 boat building company, Aston Harald Composite, will offer a great sailing arena just outside the harbor of the Cape Crow Yacht Club (the host club).
Posted on 26 Aug
Vendée Globe – Yann Eliès and his team relaunch 60-ft IMOCA in Lorient
Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses. Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses organised at the Finistère Ocean Racing Centre in Port-la-Forêt (Brittany). He will also take part in the Azimut Trophy. Yann Eliès tells us about the work that has been done and what lies ahead in the final part of his preparation.
Posted on 26 Aug
Vendée Globe – A long trip between France and Iceland for Heerema
After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. Thanks to this voyage from France to Iceland and back, the Dutch skipper is finding out more about No Way Back, the new generation IMOCA on which he will line up on 6th November
Posted on 26 Aug
Phoenix returns and Cayard is back for the TP52 World Championships
Richard Cohen will compete at the championships in Mahón, Menorca, with Phoenix, which will be skippered by Paul Cayard. The carefully assembled team includes a core group of sailors who have many years of experience in the class, but Cayard cautions that their initial objective is to learn and improve together in line with their long term goal, to be competitive on the 2017 52 Super Series.
Posted on 26 Aug
Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug