|WORTH THE WAIT: SOLID BREEZE FOLLOWS SO CAL STORM, PAVING WAY FOR CONGRESSIONAL CUP REPECHAGE
Canfield, Corbett, Robertson, Aschenbrenner, Hansen and Steele advance …
1900hrs May 15, 2015 LONG BEACH, CA - - It was worth the wait! Congressional Cup racing was postponed this morning as an unseasonable storm buffeted Southern California. But behind the tempest came clear skies and a steady breeze that climbed from 10 to 18 knots as several matches were smartly waged.
Earlier in the day, PRO Randy Smith had cancelled the second of the round robins, saying they were running out of time. Advancement would rely on their standings after solely the first round robin.
With the stakes high, the final three flights were fierce; and on the offensive, mistakes were made. Phil Robertson lost to Taylor Canfield; but shut the door on Przemeyslaw Tarnacki at their start, and went on to take that race. Eric Monnin earned a double flag penalty in the start sequence of his match with Swinton (Monnin lost); while Dickson and Aschenbrenner were both OCS for their start (Dickson won). It was ‘no more Mr. Nice Guy.’
After a tense wait, the results of a tie-breaker were announced: including a surprising penalty against top-ranked Ian Williams that bounced him out of the top six.
Advancing directly into the quarterfinals are (in order) Taylor Canfield, Reuben Corbett, Phil Robertson, Joachim Aschenbrenner, Bjorn Hansen and Chris Steele. The remainder – Ian Williams, Keith Swinton, Scott Dickson, Przemyslaw Tarnacki, Eric Monnin and Dustin Durant – began the first of five flights to determine which two will make the quarterfinals.
The battle to stay alive in the 51st Congressional Cup continues tomorrow, Saturday May 16, directly off Long Beach Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier – a thrilling vantage point to watch world-class match racing, right under your nose.
1200hrs May 15, 2015 LONG BEACH, CA - - Long Beach Yacht Club, organizers of the Congressional Cup regatta, announced today the cancellation of the second round robin in this prestigious Grade WC match race series, due to uncooperative and unseasonal weather here in Long Beach, Calif. USA.
Twelve teams from nine nations are competing for the Congressional Cup title, and the prestigious Crimson Blazer, in racing that began Wednesday May 13. The Congressional Cup is the opening event for the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour.
"Our original format was to have a double round robin, which is a ton of racing," said Randy Smith, who has been Principal Race Officer (PRO) for a half dozen years, and previously raced in the event. "The sailors like to get in as much sailing is as possible; some other venues around the world don’t have as many boats as we do; and half the competitors spend their time sitting out, while the other half are sailing.”
The Congressional Cup is sailed in identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event. LBYC’s Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintains the fleet of 11 boats to an exacting, identical standard in all performance areas: weight, equipment, rig tuning and sails. To ensure fairness, skippers rotate through 10 boats; the eleventh boat is on standby in the event of a collision or failure.
PRO Smith admitted his Race Committee’s goal to get in as much racing as possible was ambitious. "We knew it was an aggressive attempt, and we would need perfect weather to pull it off. We were ahead of the game first day, but yesterday was tough.”
An Arctic front brought unseasonable (some would say ‘shocking’) rain and fluctuating winds across Southern California – ironically, a region experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history. Afternoon races were abandoned.
“We had communications issues due to wet radios, and a lack of wind behind yesterday’s storm. Today’s system is moving down the coast; it’s slowed down and is much larger. Behind the storm is the worse part – the lightest winds – but once that goes by, we’re hoping for enough breeze to get off today’s races.”
At press time Smith was optimistically calling for a 1330 start, saying plans were to, "back into something as fair as possible for the competitors.”
That involves cancellation of the second round robin. Instead, following the hopeful completion of round robin number one, the top six finishers will advance to the quarterfinals.
"Finishers seven through 12 will compete in a repechage,* explained Smith, "another mini round robin: six boats, five flights, sailing each other. The top two out of that will be the final two entrants in the quarterfinals. The repechage will give the racers at the bottom a chance to work their way up."
The repechage is scheduled to commence immediately after the completion of round robin number and one makeup match. In the event it cannot be completed today, Smith said they will abandon that effort and revert to the top eight finishers in the round robin; and move directly to the quarterfinals tomorrow, Saturday May 16. Racing will conclude Sunday May 17.
For some, it was welcome news. "I think we’ve solidified our spot in the quarterfinals, regardless, and we’re happy to make it to the next stage," said Taylor Canfield, Congressional Cup defending champion, who currently sits at the top of the field with 8-2. “But we have one more important race, against Phil Robertson (6-3) that looks like it might be a ‘must win’ – to get that top spot, going into the quarters.”
For others, the stakes got suddenly higher. “It’s a bit game changing; and getting close, especially for us," said Eric Monnin, who – at 5-4 – is tied mid-fleet with Aschenbrenner, Corbett and Steele. That group sit astern Canfield, Ian Williams and Robertson on the leaderboard; with Bjorn Hansen nipping at their heels.
“This makes the two remaining matches even more important,” said Monnin, adding, “We’re still struggling on some points, but if we can be good in the pre-starts, we are comfortable: we are sailing the boat well.”
Congressional Cup racing is held off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, in Congressional Cup Stadium: a federally designated area of Long Beach’s outer harbor. The venue offers ideal spectator viewing – beneath newly tented bleachers – with live commentary and food and drink vendors.
ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP
The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing on-the-water umpiring in the 1988 regatta. The event is renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique volunteer force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.
For up-to-the-minute results go to www.thecongressionalcup.com / RESULTS.
* repechage: a trial heat in which first-round losers are given another chance to qualify for the semifinals
re•pe•chage \?re-p?-'shäzh, 're-p?-?\
Origin of REPECHAGE
French repêchage second chance, reexamination for a candidate who has failed, from repêcher to fish out, rescue, from re- + pêcher to fish, from Latin piscari — more at piscatory
First Known Use: 1928
|The Congressional Cup is hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and sponsored by …
Pier Sponsor: Friedmans Appliance Kitchen Bath & Beds
Official Beer Sponsor: Stella Artois Beer
Official Wine: Sponsor: Seven Angels Cellars
Race Committee Sponsor: Gelson's Markets
Spinnaker Sponsors: Creative Productions, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Gladstones, LBYC Jr Sailing Program, Newmeyer and Dillion Law Firm, Port of Long Beach, Team Campbell Logistics, Time Warner Cable, Union Bank.
General Sponsors: Ayres Hotel, Brainware, Catalina Yachts, Citywide Escrow, Club 100, Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gaylord Sportswear, Mount Gay, Primary Color, Queen Beach Printers, Sea Bags, Ullman Sails, Wide Angle Group, World’s Finest Chocolate
Photos available upon request. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org