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17 May 2007, 11:06 am
BERNTSSON's Eight-Race Streak Takes Con Cup Lead
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Congressional Cup 2007
Long Beach, California, USA

Sailors from four different nations - including the first potential winners from Sweden or France - hold the top four spots in the Long Beach Yacht Club's 43rd ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup, presented by Acura, just past the halfway mark of the double round robin. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE) leaped to the top of the leaderboard on Wednesday by winning all five of his matches, extending his win streak to eight in a row.
BERNTSSON, ranked #14 in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, leads on a 9-1 record. He beat second-place Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) in his first match and third-place Simon MINOPRIO (NZL), the first-day leader, in his second race and never looked back.

'We had some aggressive starts but only when it was the right thing to do,' BERNTSSON said - like when he forced RICHARD over the line and into a foul that settled that outcome right away.

RICHARD, the world #2, said, 'Johnie made a good start and I made a mistake, but in the other matches we sailed very well.'

BERNTSSON said, 'On the track there were some really tight matches. We have some more work to do on our speed.'

Local Hope Going Well

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Scott DICKSON leads into the
windward mark on a 4-1 day
© Rich Roberts

Scott DICKSON (USA), the local hope who rolled into fourth place at 6-4, took note of BERNTSSON's big day. He will sail the same boat on Thursday. The Catalina 37s are generally rated equal, but DICKSON said, 'We're pretty happy to be behind Johnie in the boat rotation.'

Winds started at 6 knots from south building to 12 from southwest as an early marine layer surrendered to sunshine on a typical Long Beach spring day.

MINOPRIO's odd score reflects the quarter-point deduction he took Tuesday for an equipment use infraction in his win over DICKSON. It may not have seemed like much at first, but now it is the difference between third place and a share of second. Is he concerned?

'It is what it is,' he said with a shrug. He was 3-2 on Tuesday, losing to BERNTSSON when he had to re-start after an unforced early start and later to RICHARD, who blocked his way to the starting line with a solid luff. 'Whenever we got off the line we sailed smart and fast,' MINOPRIO said.

Racing continues on Thursday at 11:30, conditions permitting.

About The Event

The total purse will be $41,000, including $10,000 to the winner.

Spectators have free seating for the racing on Belmont Pier, site of the start and finish lines. Food and beverages are available in a new patio setting. Veteran local sailor Steve STEINER, a former Con Cup competitor, offers expert commentary. Video highlights produced by t2p.tv are available nightly on the event website www.lbyc.org/concup/.

The event is managed by about 300 LBYC volunteers, including hostess teams for each crew. The competitors, six to a crew, rotate 10 Catalina 37s. Each team will race every other team twice. The six that fail to reach Saturday's semi-finals will sail a 10-mile fleet race on the final championship day.

Acura, the luxury division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the presenting sponsor of the Congressional Cup.

For all the news on the Congressional Cup CLICK HERE.

Rich Roberts (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON leads Con Cup with a 9-1 record:© Rich Roberts
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