Anyone who felt sorry for young Taylor Canfield after his winless opening day in the 47th Congressional Cup should get their sympathy refunded.
The 23-year-old match racing waif from the U.S. Virgin Islands followed his 0-7 West Coast debut with a 4-1 record on Wednesday. His second day score sheet was better than anyone else could manage, except overall leader and defending champion Francesco Bruni (ITA), who stands alone at 10-1 as the competition advances into the second round robin leading to the weekend's sailoffs.
"I think our whole team was more comfortable in the boat,"
said Canfield, who is not only new to the boats but the territory. "It's our first time on the [Catalina 37s] and our first time out here."
Canfield opened with a stunning one-second photo finish against the veteran Dave Perry (USA) and followed with a win over Ficker Cup winner Simone Ferrarese (ITA). His only loss cane against Finland's Staffan Lindberg but followed that up with a win against Ian Williams (GBR) and Johnie Berntsson (SWE).
Canfield beat Williams while he was carrying a foul for letting his spinnaker halyard catch the starting flag on the race committee boat. But as the race proceeded, Williams missed one of the many mark change signals on a shifty afternoon and sailed to the wrong windward mark.
Williams said, "We had to do two jibes coming into the [leeward] mark and everybody was busy."
Then Canfield beat Berntsson when he responded to go with a 50-degree wind shift before his opponent did.
Certainly, Canfield's day was brighter than the weather that deteriorated from bright sun and light, shifty wind to overcast, a light drizzle and even lighter wind, none of which diminished the show.
Bruni (10-1) broke away from a three-way tie at the top as Williams and France's Mathieu Richard, both 3-2 for the day, remained on his heels at 9-2.
In fact, they are the only three with winning records, raising speculation on who will sail the fourth boat into the semifinals. At the moment it's wide open.
The most spectacular finish was Lindberg's victory over Evgeny Neugodnikov (RUS). They were side by side as the Finn, on the inside, carried the Russian past the outside end of the line to gain leverage for a quick left turn back up to the line that his foe could only follow.
What Lindberg didn't realise was that as he wheeled the boat around to go back up to finish, his tactician, Nils Bjerkas, had slipped overboard as he went forward to help douse the spinnaker. He managed to hang on and re-board before the finish.
"It came as a surprise to me to learn later that we had a guy in the water,"
said Lindberg, who is in a four-way tie for fifth place at 4-7, a step behind Dave Perry at 5-6.
Lindberg's other good news was that he was tagged for only one of the 19 penalties.
"What did we have [Tuesday]?"
he said. "Ten? Eleven? I hope we can keep this momentum going."
After 11 of 18 flights
1. Francesco Bruni
2. Ian Williams
(GBR) and Mathieu Richard
4. Dave Perry
5. Johnie Berntsson
(SWE), Staffan Lindberg
(FIN), Simone Ferrarese
(ITA) and Taylor Canfield
(U.S. Virgin Islands) 4-7.
9. Eugeniy Neugodnikov
(RUS) and Philip Robertson