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14 April 2006, 09:42 am
Five Shooting For Last Semi-Final Slot
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Congressional Cup 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

There is not much room left at the top of the 42nd ISAF Grade 1 Congressional Cup presented by Acura. New Zealand's Gavin BRADY, Great Britain's Ian WILLIAMS and France's Mathieu RICHARD are in, whilst five other skippers will be jousting today for the lone remaining semi-finals slot.
WILLIAMS, standing in first place alongside BRADY, on a 12-3 record said, 'It shows the quality of the field when we get to this stage and five other guys have a chance to reach the semi-finals.'

The five: Long Beach's New Zealand transplant, Scott DICKSON; New Zealand's Simon MINOPRIO and Sweden's Johnie BERNTSSON at 7-8 and Finland's Staffan LINDBERG and Redondo Beach's Brian ANGEL at 6-9.

With three races remaining in the double round robin today, New Zealand's Cameron APPLETON on 4-11, and Denmark's young Peter WIBROE on 3-12, are left to compete for the traditional consolation prize: a copy of Arthur KNAPP's book Race Your Boat Right.

BRADY On A Roll

While RICHARD cooled off with four losses in his last five races after a 10-0 start, BRADY has become the hot sailor with ten wins in his last eleven races, including six in a row. So, with his position in the semis secured, how will he sail Friday?

'We'll just try to keep the rhythm going,' he said.

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Mathieu RICHARD (left) and
Johnie BERNTSSON mix it up
in a wild spinnaker luffing duel
© Rich ROBERTS
After two days of painfully light winds, Thursday produced the best sailing of the week with temperatures in the 70s and southwest winds, the first real sea breeze, opening at ten knots and building to 15 with gusts to 20 at its peak. But RICHARD, who said earlier that he liked the light winds, did not think that was his problem.

'I don't know if it was too much wind, but we got too many penalties,' he said.

ANGEL Fights Back

He started the day with a loss to BRADY, as ANGEL was launching his climb into contention with a five second win over LINDBERG, who was winless on the day but hangs on to a semi-final hope by his toenails.

ANGEL's day was made when he followed MINOPRIO across the finish line but the Kiwi drew a penalty for not allowing ANGEL proper room at the pin end of the line - victory to ANGEL.

Although chief umpire Gerard BOSSE of France said only five penalties were imposed all day, BRADY and WILLIAMS both drew umpire sanctions for sailing the wrong course when BRADY won their match by 13 seconds. A course change was signalled at the preceding leeward mark but neither noticed it while wrestling their spinnakers down to turn upwind. WILLIAMS later followed BRADY around the old orange inflatable windward mark instead of the new yellow one set about 40 yards away.

At the end of the day there was the prospect of them retailing the race, until the judges let them both off the hook with a decision that the course change had not been given properly.

Three Key Matches

As for the sailors on the bubble, there will be three key head to head matches in the last three rounds today: BERNTSSON vs. MINOPRIO, LINDBERG vs. BERNTSSON and a grand finale of the day between ANGEL and DICKSON.

Rain and thunder remained in the forecast, but principal race officer Bobby FRAZIER did not see that as a problem.

'I can call the line from down below [on the committee boat],' he said with a straight face.

With a $41,000 purse at stake, competition is scheduled to start at 1200 local time each day, 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 Standings

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

For all the news on the Congressional Cup CLICK HERE.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Bowman Jeff BROCK does his thing for skipper Gavin BRADY as his boat crosses Ian WILLIAMS at the windward mark:© Rich ROBERTS
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