ConCup: High Drama off the Belmont Pier, as Dickson (NZL/USA) topples top-seed Berntsson (SWE) in th
LONG BEACH, CA (#1207) – Can Scotty Dickson's Cinderella story continue today in the finals of the 55th Congressional Cup? Mr Dickson has skippered a team in ConCup on and off for 20 years. In 1998 he made it to the finals, but came up short finishing second. He has not been to the finals since.
Dickson is a long-time and popular Long Beach YC member who serves on their Board of Directors. Today he can become the host club's first regular member to win ConCup – the "grand-daddy" of all invitational match racing events – in nearly four decades.
As the No. 1 seed going into Saturday's semi-finals, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) had the choice of which of the other three skippers to choose as his opponent. He picked, logically, Dickson who was No. 4 coming out of the round-robin stage.
"When we picked Scotty, we hoped he wouldn’t be at his best level, because he’s really hard to beat,” Berntsson said.
On paper Dickson was a better choice than three-time ConCup winner Ian Williams (GBR – 2011, 2012, 2017) who started the week a bit off the pace but managed to win his last six round-robin matches to advance to the other semi-final against four-time winner Taylor Canfield (USA).
Canfield is also a local favorite, as co-founder and skipper of LBYC's newly-minted albeit struggling (to raise funds) America's Cup challenger Stars+Stripes Team USA. No doubt Mr Canfield and his tactician Mike Buckley (USA), who with Canfield is the other co-founder of Stars+Stripes Team USA (and a week ago was promoted to serve as the team's CEO), have a lot more on their minds these days than just winning ConCup.
Williams rolled over Canfield, Buckley & Co. 2-0 in that semi-final, also raced on Saturday, dashing Canfield's hope of becoming the first five-time winner of the "Crimson Blazer" awarded by LBYC to the ConCup victor. But there's always next year!
Can Dickson end Long Beach YC's decades of disappointment with a win today in the finals against Mr Williams?
“Scotty’s the fastest one here, he has been all week," Williams said Saturday night. "But we’ve hit our stride: there’s a battle ahead.”
For Dickson's part, he feels a home court, and home club, advantage.
“We have the same team as last year, we’re good mates and have great communication,” Dickson said, adding, “It felt like we had a team of 1,000 people on the boat,” – noting the roaring LBYC fans on the pier during Saturday's semis. “It’s going to be a great match tomorrow [Sunday]. We hope to provide a great spectacle for everyone.”
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1130 Pacific time (1830 UTC), and will be live-streamed on the Congressional Cup Facebook page.
(One hears that for today's webcast Tucker Thompson's (USA) rhapsodic play-by-play may be augmented by color commentary from eliminated ConCup skippers, sidelining rising match racing star Jeffrey Petersen (USA, Balboa YC) who the past couple days has done an amazingly good job as the "guest analyst" – not to mention he's only 17 years old, and brings a fresh voice with the latest match racing buzzwords.)