"I hope he picks us," said Williams, who matched Canfield's 13-5 record but lost the last race to him and with it the tiebreaker. "We're definitely ready to bring our A-game."
But Canfield picked Australia's Keith Swinton, who reached the final four with a harder earned tiebreaker against defending champion Simone Ferrarese of Italy and 2007 winner, Mathieu Richard (FRA) each with 10-8 records. Francesco Bruni of Italy, the 2010 winner, clinched the other spot with a solid 12-6 record.
How tough was it?
Dealing with the first whitecaps of the week built by a more normal southwest Long Beach breeze up to 14 knots, there were six owners of the traditional Crimson Blazers among the 10 skippers from seven nations, but only two, Williams and Bruni, advanced to the sailoffs, along with Canfield and Swinton, who had almost counted himself out after losing his last race to Sweden's Johnie Berntsson, the 2009 winner.
Williams, the winner in 2011 and 2012, and Bruni (2010) were 3-1 on the day, Canfield and Swinton a humbling 2-2, as was Richard. Dave Perry (1983 and 1984) was eighth at 5-13.
Bruni said, "We are very happy we are through [to the sailoffs]. We have new positions on the team and it's still training for us." The new personnel included tactician Adam Minoprio from New Zealand, formerly a skipper. "The Congressional Cup is always a tough competition but it's now very high. A lot of people have the same faces but more skills."
Total prize money is $75,000, with $17,500 to the winner.
Racing is scheduled to start at 11:30, conditions permitting.