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11 April 2014, 11:07 am
Williams Hangs On With A Crowd Stalking His Stern
Duelling Italians
Duelling Italians

Congressional Cup
Long Beach Yacht Club, USA

Ian Williams (GBR) leads 7-2 at the 50th Anniversary Congressional Cup followed closely by with Francesco Bruni (ITA), Mathieu Richard (FRA) and Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands tied on 6-3.
Williams' lead would be larger if Canfield (World #1) hadn't done to him precisely what Bruni did 24 hours earlier. Stalking his stern and using his right-of-way position to force him behind the committee boat right up to the starting horn, Canfield forced Williams (World #2) to do a downwind turnaround as he sailed away.

"Today we were starting a little better," said Canfield, who was 3-2 the previous day. "Communication on the team is better. We knew he was early, so we wanted to get him as far up in the box as possible."

The most interesting start was in the first flight of the day when Bruni and Swinton stalled dead in the water at the pin end of the line and Johnie Berntsson (SWE), scheduled for the next start, entered the box and put his boat between them, drawing a foul.

Meanwhile, Bruni was at 3-0 on the day and led fellow Simone Ferrarese (ITA) off the starting line and around the first of two laps until, he said, "We had an issue with a spinnaker takedown. The pole wasn't coming off, and the sheet caught somewhere on the hatch." Before they could straighten it out, Ferrarese was out of reach.

Bruni seems happy with his new tactician, 2009 World Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) who recently joined in Italy's Luna Rossa campaign for the America's Cup. Minoprio said, "It's good that while the Kiwis have such a big role in the sailing world that I have an opportunity."

Mathieu Richard launched his comeback by dealing Canfield his only defeat of the day, then lost to Australia's Keith Swinton (5-4) before beating Ferrarese (3-6) and New Zealand's Phil Robertson (3-6).

"We had some very poor starts today," Richard said, "but we got three points, anyway. I'm very proud of the crew."

Racing is scheduled to start daily at 11:30, conditions permitting.

Competition continues with the second round-robin Friday and Saturday, followed by the semifinals Sunday.

Rich Roberts
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