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15 April 2006, 03:42 pm
DICKSON Reaches Semi-Finals The Hard Way
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Congressional Cup 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

Good Friday was wet and gloomy in Long Beach, USA, but there was one bright spot: hometown sailing favourite Scott DICKSON (USA) qualified for today's semi-final of the 42nd ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup presented by Acura.
He did it the hard way.

DICKSON will meet first place Gavin BRADY (NZL) in a best of three match while Britain's number seven in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Ian WILLIAMS races France's World number eight, Mathieu RICHARD. The local favourite started the last day of the double round robin in a three way tie with New Zealand's Simon MINOPRIO and Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON, with Finland's Staffan LINDBERG and Brian ANGEL (USA) of nearby Redondo Beach a step behind and three rounds to go.

APPLETON Plays Key Role

Between showers, winds were light to moderate from the south, and DICKSON immediately put himself into position for an impossible comeback by losing to RICHARD and New Zealand's Cameron APPLETON, who was out of contention but had appointed himself as chief spoiler for the day.

'We had pretty much counted ourselves out of the semis,' he said.

But APPLETON also KO'd MINOPRIO and ANGEL, while BERNTSSON lost to LINDBERG, and when DICKSON beat ANGEL in the last race it was a three way tie again.

DICKSON, MINOPRIO and BERNTSSON each had won two races among themselves in the first tiebreaker point, and DICKSON won on the second tiebreaker with his win over the event's leader - BRADY - way back on opening day Tuesday.

And he wasn't making any apologies for reaching the semis with an 8-10 record.

'Stunned And Amazed'

'We are stunned and amazed and very excited for the team,' he said. 'My team put in a huge effort this week.'

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In a battle between contenders
for the semi-finals, Simon
MINOPRIO leads Johnie
BERNTSSON downwind
© Rich ROBERTS

BRADY won all three of his races Friday to finish with a 15-3 record and wins in his last nine races and twelve of his last 13. WILLIAMS matched his 15-3 but lost both of his matches against BRADY.

That left one issue to resolve: Who would BRADY pick to meet in the semis?

'I sincerely hope he picks me,' DICKSON said. He was not disappointed.

BRADY announced at the evening's press conference, 'I think we'll just go on statistics and take on the local team.'

Old Friends

BRADY and DICKSON are no strangers. They were teammates and roommates on New Zealand's Tag Heuer America's Cup team led by DICKSON's older brother Chris DICKSON (NZL) in 1995 at San Diego, USA, BRADY as tactician and Scott as skipper of the trial boat.

Instead of returning to his New Zealand home, Scott DICKSON soon became a Long Beach resident, a member of the Long Beach Yacht Club and a ten-time competitor in the club's Congressional Cup - usually by winning his way in through the Ficker Cup qualifying event, as ANGEL did this year.

His best finish has been second place in 1998.

BRADY has felt his own frustration here. Now one of the world's top match racers, he was comparatively unknown when he won back to back titles in 1996 and 1997. Since then he has reached the semis six times and the final four times without winning another - including three years ago when he won all 18 of his round robin matches.

'We've been in this situation before and finished in second place,' he said, 'So we have a lot of work to do.'

Whoever wins will collect $10,000 of the $41,000 purse and the Congressional Cup's traditional Crimson Blazer.

For the first time the six non qualifiers will sail their own show Saturday: a ten mile fleet race on a longer course beyond the match racing venue that will include a reach along the beach to the finish at Belmont Pier. The winner will receive $1,000.

Competition is scheduled to start at 1200 local time, conditions permitting. The course is set adjacent to the Belmont Pier, which has accommodations for spectators with expert race commentary at no charge.

There are live radio broadcasts on the local radio loop 810 AM and nightly video highlights at about 2100 Pacific Daylight Time - both accessible through the event website - www.lbyc.org/concup.

Acura, the luxury division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., has signed on for three more years as the presenting sponsor.

Congressional Cup Results

Round Robin

1. Gavin BRADY (NZL), Beau Geste Racing, 15-3
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Team Musto, 15-3
3. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), APCC Voile Sportive, 13-4
4. Scott DICKSON (USA), Dickson Racing, 8-10
5. Simon MINOPRIO (NZL), 8-10
6. Johnie BERNTSSON (SWE), Semcon, 8-10
7. Cameron APPLETON (NZL), AREVA Challenge, 7-11
8. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 7-11
9. Brian ANGEL (USA), King Harbor Yacht Club, 6-12
10. Peter WIBROE (DEN), 3-15

For all the news on the Congressional Cup CLICK HERE.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Scott DICKSON and crew driving upwind in their desperate and successful bid for the Congressional Cup semi-finals:© Rich ROBERTS
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