Team Azzurra of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda yesterday won the 46th Congressional Cup, world renowned event organized by the Long Beach Yacht Club which each year attracts some of the best match racing skippers. This is the only ISAF Grade 1 match racing event held in the USA.
Francesco Bruni, skipper of team Azzurra, was able to overhaul 2:1 defending champion Johnie Berntsson (Sweden) in the semifinals. Then in the finals Bruni defeated, with another intense 2:1 duel, New Zealand’s Gavin Brady, skipper of Mascalzone Latino Audi Team and four time winner of the Congressional Cup.
Bruni was able to conquer this important victory thanks to the great performance of his crew which included Tom Burnham, Pierluigi De Felice, Matteo Auguadro, Pietro Mantovani and Ben Durham, under the watchful eye of coach Marco Mercuriali.
At the end of the finals, Bruni commented: 'I am so happy for this success, the guys did an amazing job. Team Azzurra earned this victory thanks to all the hard work and long training hours that we put in during the winter and the merit also goes to our coaches. Hard work bears its fruits and this victory is especially sweet to me, after last year’s second in this same regatta. Once again the Congressional Cup confirmed its status as best grade 1 match racing event of the season. The organizers do an amazing job and on behalf of team Azzurra I wish to thank the Race Committee, the staff and the volunteers of the Long Beach Yacht Club, who put so much work into this event and, on top of that, not only do they host the teams but they also put together some great parties! Next on team Azzurra’s schedule is the first event of the World Match Racing Tour 2010 which will take place from 6 to 11 April in Marseille, France.'
The ten crews who competed in the Congressional Cup 2010 sailed two complete due round robins, where Bruni finished second, one point behind leader Brady. At the end of the round robins, the top four skippers advanced to the best-of-three semifinals (Bruni defeated Berntsson 2:1, Brady defeated Hardesty 2:0), followed by the best-of-three finals (Bruni defeated Brady, 2:1). In the petit-final Berntsson beat Hardesty 2:0, while the remaining teams sailed a fleet race. Standings
1. Francesco Bruni (ITA)
2. Gavin Brady (NZL)
3. Johnie Berntsson (SWE)
4. Bill Hardesty (USA)
5. Eric Monnin (SUI)
6. Damien Iehl (FRA)
7. Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS)
8. Sally Barkow (USA)
9. Simone Ferrarese (ITA)
10. Dave Perry (USA)
Official website of the Congressional Cup 2010 http://www.lbyc.org/html/content.cfm?CID=1170