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16 May 2007, 09:53 am
MINOPRIO Completes A Perfect Kiwi Day
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Congressional Cup 2007
Long Beach, California, USA

Kiwis ruled the world of match race sailing when Simon MINOPRIO (NZL) followed Emirates Team New Zealand's Louis Vuitton Semi Final victory over Spain at Valencia on Tuesday morning by running the table 5-0 on the first day of the Long Beach Yacht Club's 43rd ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup, presented by Acura.
MINOPRIO's perfect day was diluted slightly when rival Scott DICKSON (USA) red-flagged him during their late match for not having his foreguy block that controls the spinnaker attached to the spinnaker pole, a violation of the Sailing Instructions. But the race jury ruled that it had no effect on the outcome of the race, which MINOPRIO won by 16 seconds, so MINOPRIO had only a quarter-point deducted from his score, leaving him at 4.75-0, followed by top-seeded Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) and Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE) at 4-1, with 13 rounds remaining in the double round robin through to Friday before Saturday's championship sail-offs.

'We made too many mistakes in the pre-starts,' MINOPRIO said, 'but on the race course it was good to stand in the back of the boat and watch the guys sail a perfect day.' Tongue-in-check, he explained his infraction of the SIs as a misunderstanding of the language that 'was not really in Kiwi.'

He will be tested on Wednesday in his first matches against RICHARD and BERNTSSON to wrap up the first round.

French Fight Back

RICHARD, #2 in the latest release of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, opened with an upset loss to Russia's Andrew ARBUZOV when he drew a red flag penalty at the start, had to do his turn immediately and never recovered. But then he found his stride with four consecutive wins.

'It was a good first day,' RICHARD said. 'We hadn't sailed in two months and we knew the first day we would have to feel out the boat.'

Winds were 7 knots from the south that shifted southwest in mid-afternoon and built to 12. All teams sailed Catalina 37s on a short twice-around, windward-leeward course set off Belmont Pier on a smooth surface inside the outer harbour breakwater.

DICKSON and Brian ANGEL (USA) of nearby Redondo Beach each started with two wins before dropping their last three races. ANGEL said, 'I think I ran out of gas. Maybe tomorrow I won't get up so early to watch the America's Cup racing on TV.'

Competitors waved 54 protest flags in the 25 races; 42 were green-flagged (no penalty) by Jan STAGE's platoon of on-water umpires.

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 are available nightly on the event website

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, Simon MINOPRIO gets the jump on Russia's Andrew ARBUZOV:© Rich Roberts
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