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Taylor Canfield wins 50th Congressional Cup, Ian Williams second

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Congressional Cup] Krrunch! The sound was heard by the spectators all the way up on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and over the lower part of the race course for the 50th Congressional Cup on the Long Beach outer harbor Sunday. It was startling for all and heartbreaking for others, like those rooting for Ian Williams of the UK to win his third traditional Crimson Blazer in four years.

Instead, the fortunes of fate swung to Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the last minute of the pre-start choreography. First he noticed the six-inch chunk missing from the transom behind his feet, then he reached for the protest flag and moments later saw the on-water umpires affirm his protest with a blue flag, matching Williams’ ID for that race.

Although there remained a decisive race twice around the half-mile windward-leeward course in 10 knots of chilly breeze, with Williams behind and owing a penalty turn, it seemed over before the start. Canfield, 25, said he knew it wasn’t.

“We knew it was going to be tough all the way through the race,” he said—and Williams made it so with tacking duels upwind and jibing his spinnaker to steal Canfield’s air downwind.

But Canfield and his crew sailed an unforgiving and mistake-free defense to win the championship sailoff with two wins to Williams’ one and collect the booty: the traditional Crimson Blazer and $17,500 of the $75,000 total purse.

That’s match racing, and the pair performed as their current No. 1 and No. 2 world rankings promised in a contest featuring contestants from seven nations.

Canfield’s crew consisted of Rod Dawson, spinnaker trim and tactics; Goodrick Hayden, bow; Mike Rehe and Dan Morris, sail trim, and Garrett Brown, main sail and pit.

Williams said, “It’s not a good way to lose, but Taylor sailed great. When I look back at it, the first race hurt us more. We had contact in that pre-start, too, but the umpires didn’t make the call.”

Funny thing about those flags. There were about a dozen protests upheld by the umpires Sunday and all were against the boats flying identifying blue flags, not the yellow flags of their rivals.

Williams said, smiling slightly, “With all those blue flags, the umpires must have lost the yellow flags.”

Williams did win the second race . . . after Canfield, then the blue-flag boat, committed a pre-start foul he was never able to resolve with a penalty turn.

Earlier, Canfield dispatched Keith Swinton of Australia in the semifinals, 2-0, while Williams defeated Francesco Bruni of Australia, 2-1. Bruni then defeated Swinton, 2-1, in the petite sailoff.

Phil Robertson’s New Zealand team won the fleet race around the harbor for the six competitors who didn’t reach the sailoffs.

Final standings

1. Taylor Canfield, USVI
2. Ian Williams, UK
3. Francesco Bruni, Italy
4. Keith Swinton, Australia
5. Simone Ferrarese, Italy
6. Mathieu Richard, France
7. Johnie Berntsson, Sweden
8. Dave Perry, U.S.
9. Phil Robertson, New Zealand
10. Scott Dickson, U.S.
11. Dustin Durant, U.S.
12. Chris Poole, U.S.

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Keith Swinton and Ian Williams tied at Stage Two of the Congressional Cup

Posted on 10 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Congressional Cup] There were no perfect days as Stage Two of the Congressional Cup got under way Wednesday. Taylor Canfield, speaking for all said afterward, “We’re still dusting a little rust off. We haven’t sailed together with our crews in five months.”

That might partly explain why the top-ranked match racer in the world is in a three-way tie for third place with three wins in his first five matches, behind early leaders Ian Williams of the UK and Australia’s Keith Swinton, each at four – one following opening tests of the first round-robin.

Thirteen more flights remain on the Long Beach outer harbor over the next three days to determine the four semifinalists who will mix it up Sunday. Total prize money is $75,000, with $17,500 to the winner through $2,000 for last place.

Their last Grade one event was the Monsoon Cup windup of the Alpari World Match Racing series in late November, won by New Zealand’s Phil Robertson, who is hanging on alone at two – three, ahead of the misplaced classy company of past winners Johnie Berntsson of Sweden and Simone Ferrarese of Italy at one – four, alongside local hopeful Scott Dickson.

As a southwest breeze built from a feeble 3 1/2 knots to 10, Williams, the winner in 2011 and 2012 and still ranked No. two, opened with four victories over Bruni, Swinton, Berntsson and Ferrarese until running into—almost literally—Richard in Wednesday’s final flight. The Frenchman, the 2007 winner now ranked No. five, forced Williams behind the race committee boat in the final minute, and by the time the Brit recovered Richard had a 16-second jump off the line.

“For sure, we have to work on our starting,” Williams said.

Richard lost his first two matches to the veteran Dave Perry, coming off a strong effort in the preceding Stage One event, and Dickson—the latter’s only win. Then he beat Bruni and Berntsson before blitzing Williams to jump back into early contention.

And if Swinton seems like the only frontrunner besides Canfield who hasn’t won the Congressional Cup, he’s working on it.

Since placing eighth in the Monsoon Cup he has rebuilt his team by changing two of his five crew members for an all-Aussie outfit, except for pitman Tudur Owen of Wales.

He also has taken on a new tactician, Ben Lamb, who said, “I really haven’t done that but we came from behind twice to win today.”

Still, Swinton dismissed a suggestion that this week was a bit like training camp. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “We were good off the (start) line in most of the races and usually came from behind when we had to.”

Racing is scheduled to start daily at 11:30 a.m., conditions permitting. Spectators may enjoy incomparable viewing of the races from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Admission is free, with paid parking at the base of the pier. Seating, free public shuttles along the pier, concessions and comfort stations are available.

Standings after five of eighteen flights:

1. Tie between Ian Williams, UK, and Keith Swinton, Australia, 4-1
3. Tie among Mathieu Richard, France; Dave Perry, U.S., Francesco Bruni, Italy, and Taylor Canfield, USVI, 3-2
7. Phil Robertson, New Zealand, 2-3;
8. tie among Simone Ferrarese, Italy; Johnie Berntsson, Sweden, and Scott Dickson, U.S., 1-4

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Luna Rossa participates in the 50th edition of the Congressional Cup

Posted on 09 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Luna Rossa] Today at 11 AM local time (8 PM in Italy) will be the kick-off of the 50th edition of the Congressional Cup, the oldest and most prestigious match race event, second only to America’s Cup, where participation is by invitation only.

This year the event organizers invited Luna Rossa who decided to include the competition in the team’s preparation program for the 35th America’s Cup.

Francesco Bruni, winner of the Congressional Cup in 2010, will be the helmsman and will compete against nine crews counting some of the biggest names in the international match racing scene: Taylor Canfield, the skipper from the U.S. Virgin Islands currently number one in the international match race ranking list, British Ian Williams (second), New Zealander Phil Robertson (fourth), Australian Keith Swinton (fifth) and Frenchman Mathieu Richard (sixth). The team of Simone Ferrarese, defending champion and eighth in the world ranking list, is also participating in the event.

The Luna Rossa team consists of Francesco Bruni (helmsman), Adam Minoprio (tactician), Xabier Fernandez (mainsail trimmer), Simeon Tienpont (pitman), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Max Sirena (bowman)

“The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious and challenging match race events in the international sailing scene,” said Max Sirena, skipper of Luna Rossa. “The match race will be the focal point of our preparation for the 35th America’s Cup and, given the high level of the crews, this event will be an important test after the winter break.”

The Congressional Cup, organized by the Long Beach Yacht Club, will run from Wednesday the 9th to Sunday the 13th of April. The crews sail with the Catalina 37 one-design monohulls that, following an initial draw, will be rotated on a daily base among the teams. The event format is a Round Robin, followed by semi-finals and final.

The Luna Rossa team consists of Francesco Bruni (helmsman), Adam Minoprio (tactician), Xabier Fernandez (mainsail trimmer), Simeon Tienpont (pitman), Pierluigi de Felice (trimmer), Max Sirena (bowman).

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Black Swan Racing to compete as Team Alpari FX on the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour

Posted on 04 April 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari] This unique collaboration with Troy marked the launch of the new 2014 Team Alpari FX line-up: Australian skipper Keith Swinton, bowman Ricky McGarvie (Aus), trimmer Ted Hackney (Aus), tactician Ben Lamb (Aus) and pitman Tudur Owen (GB), who previously raced under the name Black Swan Racing.

The newly-appointed Team Alpari FX will be competing in the 2014 season of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) – also sponsored by their title partner Alpari. The AWMRT is a prestigious global sailing series with six events worldwide, across Asia, Europe and North America. Running from June through to November, the AWMRT sees some of the world’s finest match racers battle it out for the biggest prize purse in competitive match racing – $1.4 million.

Speaking after the stunt skipper Keith Swinton remarked: “Flying straight in from Australia with no idea of what today’s launch event would entail had us all guessing. Meeting Troy was fantastic and we still can’t get our heads around how the boom went straight through him. If only we could master it, it would certainly save us some on-board injuries! Today has been a great way to start our sponsorship with Alpari; hopefully we can pull some of our own tricks out of the bag this season!”

The brand new Team Alpari FX is skipper Keith Swinton (Aus), bowman Ricky McGarvie (Aus), trimmer Ted Hackney (Aus), tactician Ben Lamb (Aus) and pitman Tudur Owen (GB)

Magician Troy said: “I’ve always wanted to perform magic with a yacht – so when they called me about this, I was 100% there. The guys in Team Alpari FX were great to spend time with and I look forward to seeing them turn their own magic tricks on water this season.”

Elizabeth Bacon, Sponsorship and Events Manager at Alpari UK added: “Providing the extraordinary is an ethos we live by at Alpari, from the service we offer our clients to the sports we partner with. Having had strong ties to sailing since 2012, we’re proud to support professional sailors who show extraordinary passion and talent. Today was a great way to welcome the new crew and show them a little magic of our own.”

The stunt was filmed at the Queen Mary Sailing Club, Middlesex (UK) using J80 match racing yachts provided by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, London (UK).

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Alpari World Match Racing Tour Announces 2014 Championship Skippers

Posted on 11 March 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] The Alpari World Match Racing Tour has today announced the eight Tour Card skippers for the 2014 World Championship series. Defending Tour Champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) leads the line up of the world’s top match racers alongside four-time Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR), Keith Swinton (AUS), Bjorn Hansen (SWE), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Phil Robertson (NZL).

Joining the race for the 2014 title is also one of the challenging teams for the 35th America’s Cup, Luna Rossa (ITA).

Francesco Bruni will represent Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli’s long term America’s Cup challenger Luna Rossa. Bruni, a former Laser, 49er and Star class Olympic sailor, was tactician aboard the Italian team’s AC72 catamaran in San Francisco during the 34th America’s Cup last year. He has now stepped into the driving seat for their match race training. Bruni competed at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda in 2013, when he triumphed over Sir Ben Ainslie in the final.

“The participation in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is part of team Luna Rossa’s preparation program for the 35th America’s Cup,” confirms Bruni. “The Tour is one of the most selective competitions at international level and is the best field to measure ourselves in a real race.”

Completing the Tour Card skipper line up for 2014 is Australian David Gilmour, following in the footsteps of his famous father, Peter Gilmour, four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion and America’s Cup veteran.

The 22yr old match racer is no stranger to the Alpari World Match Racing Tour after competing at the Monsoon Cup in 2012 and 2013, and the Korea Match Cup 2013. He was also winner of the ISAF Nations Cup 2013 and is a two-time winner of the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth.

“I am really proud to be racing on the 2014 Tour as a first time card holder,” commented Gilmour. “It has been a major goal of ours to win the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and it’s a tough field this year, but I believe I have the right team with me that can really challenge for the world title.”

Gilmour has recently joined Team Australia representing the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup. He will be dividing his time during 2014 between competing on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour and training with Team Australia.

All eight Tour Card Skippers are automatically guaranteed a berth at the six Tour Championship events for 2014. At least an additional four skippers are selected by each event to make up the final team tally.

But the man to beat in 2014 will be defending champion, US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield. His USone Sailing Team won the Chicago Match Cup in 2013 and a third place at the Monsoon Cup was enough to secure the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour overall and the World Championship title.

“USone is extremely happy with our 2013 performance as a first time Alpari Tour card holder. We have a special and talented team, which will remain the same for 2014. However, with new teams and new events, it’s a clean slate and the standards are high. We will be competing with the same enthusiasm and drive to retain our title.”

Wanting to claim Canfield’s title more than anyone this season will be British match racing legend Ian Williams. The GAC Pindar skipper has won the Alpari World Match Racing Tour four times (2007-8 and 2011-12). Victory this year would see Williams better Australian Peter Gilmour’s record and enter the record books as the person to have the most Match Racing World Championships in the history of the sport.

Williams comments: “Team GAC Pindar are very much looking forward to the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season. It is great to see new Events coming onto the Tour and I am especially looking forward to going back to Poland for the first time since we won the Sopot Match Race in 2005.”

A familiar foe of Williams, who has been awarded a Tour Card this season, is France’s Mathieu Richard, back for an impressive 11th year on the Tour. Richard won Korea Match Cup last year, when his GEFCO Match Racing Team concluded the season seventh overall.

For Sweden’s Bjorn Hansen’s this will be his eighth year on the Tour. His eWork Sailing Team finished just off the podium in fourth place last year, following their second place in 2012.

Back for his seventh consecutive year competing at Alpari World Match Racing Tour events, and his third year as Tour Card Skipper, is Australian Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team. Swinton finished sixth on the Tour last year, down two places from their 2012 position – their best to date.

Phil Robertson will be once again representing New Zealand with his Waka Racing Team. This will be his sixth year on the Tour having finished third last year and in 2012.

As AWMRT Executive Director James Pleasance commented “We have a fantastic line up on the Tour this year, testament to the level of professionalism the World Championship has now reached. We are also delighted to welcome Luna Rossa to the 2014 Tour as part of their training for the 35th America’s Cup. While the America’s Cup has moved to foiling catamarans, there is no better place for the teams to hone their match racing skills than the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.”

Alpari World Match Racing Tour – 2014 Tour Card Holders
Taylor Canfield (ISV) USone Sailing Team
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Luna Rossa
David Gilmour (AUS) Team Gilmour

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Alpari World Match Racing Tour Announces 2014 World Championship Schedule

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Alpari World Match Racing Tour] The Alpari World Match Racing Tour has today announced the schedule of events for the 2014 ISAF Match Racing World Championship. The 2014 Tour will feature six stages across three continents spanning Europe, Asia and North America – with additional events expected in Europe and Oceania in the coming months.

Over 30 match racing teams will go head to head during the season in their bid to be crowned Alpari World Match Racing Tour and ISAF World Match Racing Champion, together with a share in over US$1.4million prize money.

Sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation as one of only four ‘ISAF Special Events’, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour is one of the most challenging and hard fought world championships in sailing. Former Tour Champions include equal four time Champions Peter Gilmour (AUS) and Ian Williams (GBR), America’s Cup and four time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, and last year’s newly crowned Champion, 25-year-old US Virgin Islander Taylor Canfield.

Executive Director, James Pleasance commented: ”Now in its 14th year, and third for title sponsor Alpari, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour continues to set the standards in world championship sailing. The new event in Poland is a fantastic addition for 2014 as we continue to grow the World Championship to new markets.”

The 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour will kick off over 5-9 June with Match Race Germany, held on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany.

The teams will then head for the Stena Match Cup Sweden held off the picture postcard island of Marstrand on the west coast of Sweden. This hugely popular spectator event celebrates its 20th year.

A new event on the Alpari Tour for 2014, Sopot Match Race, will take place off the city of Sopot on the east coast of Poland in July. Located on the Baltic Sea between Gdansk and Gdynia, the racing takes place metres from the shore in front of Europe’s longest Molo pier (550m) attracting tens of thousands of visitors daily during the summer.

In September, the Tour crosses the Atlantic to the heart of America’s Windy City, Chicago. Staged off the end of the City’s impressive Navy Pier, Chicago Match Cup will see the teams compete in nimble Tom 28 boats providing close action for spectators.

Next up is the Argo Group Gold Cup, held in Bermuda in October, on the mid-Atlantic island’s historic Hamilton Harbour. Here the teams will compete for the world’s oldest match racing trophy for one-design boats, the King Edward VII Gold Cup.

The 2014 Tour season finale, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia, will be held in late November featuring the highest prize purse on the Tour at US$450,000.

Absent from the 2014 schedule is the Korea Match Cup, which will return to the Tour in 2015.

Once again central to the teams competing on the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour will be the eight ‘Tour Card Holder’ skippers. One team guaranteed a Tour card slot for 2014 and eager to defend its 2013 Championship Title is the USone Match Racing Team, skippered by Taylor Canfield.

Taylor Canfield commented, “US One is extremely happy with our 2013 performance as a first time Alpari Tour card holder. We have a special and talented team, which will remain the same for 2014 as we start the season as current World Champions. However, with new teams and new events, it’s a clean slate and the standards are high. We will be competing with the same enthusiasm and drive to retain our title.”

The full list of 2014 Tour Card teams will be announced when they have been finalised at the beginning of March.

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Ian Williams and GAC Pindar confirm bid for record breaking fifth ALPARI World Match Racing Tour title

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: GAC Pindar] Williams, a two-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee, finished runner-up on the Tour last year following a dramatic conclusion to the series and is keen to put everything behind regaining his crown: “I was so close to winning a fifth title in Malaysia and I want to put that disappointment behind me and focus one hundred percent on going one better in 2014. I know it will be tough competition, everyone is improving year on year, but we have good form and confidence, having won four of the six round robins last year. We are currently reviewing last season and in the planning stages so that we are fully prepared for the first event in May.”

The AWMRT is the world’s leading professional sailing series featuring world-class Championship events across the globe. Every match race is a duel between two identically matched boats, creating close, aggressive competition, thrilling viewing and some of the most exciting action in world sport.

Commenting on the announcement, GAC Pindar Principal, Andrew Pindar says, “Everyone at GAC Pindar is delighted that Ian will again be leading our World Match Racing challenge and we are fully behind his bid to secure an unprecedented fifth title. The 2014 tour is highly anticipated following the nail biting drama of the final event last year and we have every faith that Ian will be back on top of the podium to celebrate his 8th year with GAC Pindar.”

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Taylor Canfield retains top spot at ISAF Match Racing rankings

Posted on 12 December 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ISAF] Taylor Canfield (ISV) showed why he is World #1 in the Open Rankings after taking the ISAF Match Racing World Championship title at the Monsoon Cup, the final event of the 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

Having been knocked out at the semi-final stage Canfield was nervously waiting on shore as Ian Williams (GBR) faced Phil Robertson (NZL) in the final. A victory in the final for the Briton would have won him a record fifth title but Robertson swept Williams aside and victory for Canfield was assured.

Canfield finished the Monsoon Cup in third place overall, solidifying his World #1 position whilst a second in Malaysia for Williams keeps him at World #2.

Robertson’s victory sees the Kiwi climb up to World #4, equalling the personal best he achieved in July 2012 and April 2013.

Don Wilson (USA) overcame Dave Perry (USA) 2-1 in the Carlos Aguilar Match Race in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The ISAF Grade 2 regatta featured several top competitors but it was Wilson that came out on top.

Taking maximum points from the event Wilson moves from World #24 to World #21, a personal best.

Perry counts five regattas in his points total and as runner up he moves up ten places to World #123, someway off his best ranking position of World #26.

Mathieu Richard (FRA) held his nerve in the 21st Berlin Match Race overcoming Eric Monnin (SUI) in the final of the ISAF Grade 2 event.

Richard, a former World #1, held firm against Monnin, winning 3-1 before he finished fourth at the Monsoon Cup. With two strong results behind him Richard moves up to World #5 from World #7.

Monnin’s impressive climb up the rankings continues and hits World #10 for the first time.

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