Turbulent Weather Makes for a Dramatic Day Two of the 51st Congressional Cup


Photo courtesy of Long Beach Yacht Club

Thursday’s turbulent weather made for a dramatic second day of racing at the Long Beach Yacht Club’s 51st Congressional Cup regatta, the season opener for the 2015-16 World Match Racing Tour. The matches were postponed after two flights of racing when the rain and clouds whited out the course.

When the races resumed, the wind had shifted to the right, creating a strong waft from the northwest until “spinnakers were drooping,” a released issued Friday said. Three flights were completed and saw Chris Steele’s streak of wins come to an end when the crew rounded the wrong top mark, giving the win to Joachim Aschenbrenner. Number one-ranked Ian Williams bowed to Switzerland’s Eric Monnin in a close contest, and Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield mistimed a start, giving the match to Poland’s Przemyslaw ‘Tara’ Tarnacki.

“We are happy with the two points we got today; the first one we’ve won with Taylor Canfield,” Tarnacki said in a statement. “”It’s good to have a win, after yesterday. I wasn’t devastated, but a win is good for your head; it takes the edge off.”

The Polish team went 0-6 during yesterday’s races. However, after an eight-year hiatus, the team said they were determined to “keep learning and push very hard.”

Phil Robertson of New Zealand’s WAKA Racing team, now tied for second place with Williams, said he was “actually quite surprised” with how well his team was doing this year.

“I’ve come second-to-last [at the Congressional Cup] twice, and the boys are joking that we’ve won more races in the first day than we’ve won in the last two regattas put together!” said Robertson in a statement. “We’ve outdone our expectations already.”

Friday’s matches are sure to produce more uncharacteristic results, especially with this onslaught of much-needed Southern California rainfall. And while these are less-than-ideal conditions for a regatta, at least the teams seem to be having a good time.

In a release, Robertson attributed his recent results to the fact that he’s having “a lot of fun.” The skipper celebrated his 29th birthday at Wednesday night’s press conference and said, “That’s a big part of it, you’ve got to enjoy yourself.”

Head down to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier on Saturday to watch the double round robins and on Sunday to see a bout of spirited duels during the semi-finals and finals.

These 12 teams from nine nations will be vying for the Congressional Cup trophy and the iconic Crimson Blazer. For more information about the cup and for live results, click here.

The 51st Congressional Cup, the season opener of the World Match Racing Tour, is taking place in Long Beach through Sunday, May 17 and can be watched from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. The first day of racing began on Wednesday at 11:30AM.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.