LONG BEACH, CA (#1208) – Ian Williams (GBR) and his GAC Pindar Team took the 55th edition of the Congressional Cup, the world's most prestigious invitational match racing championship, with three straight wins over host Long Beach Yacht Club's team led by skipper Scotty Dickson (NZL/USA). The finals, and petit-final (consolation match) were held off the Belmont Pier Sunday afternoon. Defending (and four time) ConCup champ Taylor Canfield (USA) also made short work of the petit-final, besting Sweden's Johnie Berntsson 2-0, giving Canfield third overall.
Other than a questionable umpire non-call at the start of the second race of the finals that could have resulted in a penalty to Mr Williams, the six-time World Match Racing champion, there was never much question as to the ultimate outcome – notwithstanding a large, mostly local crowd of Long Beach YC members who, along with the webcast commentators, were heartily cheering until the end for Mr Dickson, a longtime and popular LBYC member.
A regular Long Beach YC member has not won the club's signature event in four decades. The last to do so was Rod Davis, who sailed for LBYC and won in 1981. Mr Davis won it three more times, sailing for a different club each time – Newport Harbor YC in 1985, Royal New Zealand YS in 1989, and the Royal Akarana YC in 1993.
Nonetheless, "Bravo Zulu" to Mr Dickson and his largely Corinthian crew who arguably punched above their weight this week and took the fight all the way to the Finals.
Mr Williams joins an esteemed list of four-time winners. In addition to Mr Davis and Mr Canfield, the others to win four "Crimson Blazers" – awarded to the winning skipper in a tradition akin to the Green Jacket of Augusta's Masters Golf Championship – are Gavin Brady (NZL) and Peter Holmberg (USA).
Next year's 56th Congressional Cup is sure to feature Messers Williams and Canfield to see if one of them can become the first five-time winner. Why not also bring back Brady, Davis and Holmberg – in the words of play-by-play commentator Tucker Thompson (USA, Annapolis), that would be an epic ConCup, folks!
Ian Williams & Co. were calmly in control for most of their first-to-win-three Congressional Cup finals again LBYC's Scotty Dickson (NZL/USA), winning 3-0. Taylor Canfield (USA) took the petit-final 2-0 over Johnie Berntsson (SWE). Screen-grab above from the LBYC webcast with Mr Williams leading into the final windward mark by a very comfortable five boat lengths.