The Ficker Cup ticket to the Congressional Cup has come down to the last day Saturday and maybe the final race between hometowner Dustin Durant and Nevin Snow from San Diego, with a late intruder from Canada in position to play spoiler.
Durant and Snow each has nine wins and two losses after the first 11 of 14 flights over two days. Snow won their first match Thursday.
Their second round rematch, originally scheduled to be in the 12th flight starting Saturday, has been switched to the last race of the day. Who said the host Long Beach Yacht Club has no sense of drama? But first Snow and Durant need to get past Peter Wickwire of the Royal Canadian YC, who stands at 7-4 to suddenly rate as a factor---no fluke since he does have the highest ISAF match racing ranking in the fleet: 35th in the world.
'But I'd rather be in their position than mine,' said Wickwire, who was 2-3 the first day but 5-1 Friday. 'When you've never sailed a Catalina 37 you've got a lot of work to do,' he said. 'Yesterday was not knowing the boat … getting familiar with it. We thought we were too passive.' Not so Friday---and definitely not so Saturday.
As Mike Quaglio from the Oakcliff Sailing Center in New York dropped out of first place from 4-1 to 6-5, Wickwire jumped from fifth to third with an outside chance of stealing the show. He'll meet Snow and Durant in the first two flights Saturday.
The wind was about as tricky as it gets in Long Beach, the kind of day, Durant said, when 'local knowledge doesn't count. Scotty [tactician Scott Dickson] did a really good job calling it.' Snow's crew had a long de-brief on board after reaching the dock, with his tactician, local veteran Steve Flam, leading the discussion. 'It definitely helps,' said Snow, the event's youngest skipper at 18. 'Having a good game plan for [Saturday] is important. We're not too stressed. We'll sail the same way we've sailed the other races.'
The ultimate winner of the Grade 3 event will claim the open 10th berth in next week's Grade 1 48th Congressional Cup in the same Catalina 37s.
Friday's wind was off normal for Long Beach. The first of six flights was delayed for nearly an hour because, while the breeze was 7 knots, it came from an unreliable southeast direction, not the preferred southwest. But rather than wait any longer, principal race officer Pete Ives went with it.
Then the wind started to move right but just a bit at a time, requiring the race committee to keep moving the windward mark for almost every match as horns serenaded the racers with course change alerts. The wind eventually reached southwest but at only four or five knots, then settled back to south.
Standings (after of 11 of 14 flights)
1. Nevin Snow, San Diego YC, 9-2.
2. Dustin Durant, Long Beach YC, 9-2.
3. Peter Wickwire, Royal Canadian YC, 7-4.
4. Mike Quaglio, Oakcliff Sailing Center, N.Y., 6-5.
5. Nicholas Dugdale, San Francisco YC, 5-6.
6. Brad Funk, Lauderdale YC, Fla., 3-8.
7. Mike Komar, Oakcliff Sailing Center, N.Y., 3-8.
8. Nicole Breault, St. Francis YC, 2-9
Ficker Cup full results here
Racing Saturday off spectator-friendly Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.---conditions permitting, of course.
by Rich Roberts
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3:22 AM Sat 24 Mar 2012GMT
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