Brady Wins Congressional Cup

LONG BEACH, CaliforniaGavin Brady over the weekend joined a small, elite club of match racing sailors with a common problem: what to do with all of those Crimson Blazers in their closets. Only Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg also own four of the traditional winner's wardrobe in Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup presented by Acura, now counting 44 years of consecutive
Author:
Updated:
Original:

LONG BEACH, California

Gavin Brady over the weekend joined a small, elite club of match racing sailors with a common problem: what to do with all of those Crimson Blazers in their closets.

Only Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg also own four of the traditional winner's wardrobe in Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup presented by Acura, now counting 44 years of consecutive competitions among the best in the world at their specialty.

After winning 15 of his 18 round robin contests, Brady drove through the sailoffs with a steady and steely determination in sweeping local pride Scott Dickson and Sweden's Johnie Berntsson---who was coming off seven consecutive wins---in two straight races each in the semifinals and finals, respectively.

Berntsson had swept France's Philippe Presti, 2-0, in the other semifinal, and Presti took the measure of Dickson in the consolation final.

Brady, a New Zealand native who has lived in Annapolis, Md., since the mid-90s, won his first two Congressional Cups in 1996 and '97 when he was only 22 and 23, then his third in 2006 after building a professional sailing career of America's Cups and various ocean races.

"We were competitive in a boat sailing fast and we didn't have to take any risks," Brady said.

As a southwest breeze built to 13 knots, the clincher against Berntsson was especially a show of total control. Brady had Berntsson pinned to leeward and slightly ahead of the starting line and didn't tack until reaching the port layline for the windward mark. Downwind, he blocked the Swede's every move while jibing only twice, and on the next two legs he needed only two tacks and one jibe---a total of three tacks and jibes for the race he won by 14 seconds.

"They were just better," Berntsson said. "They did a better start. If we had tacked [on the first leg] he would have gained too much on us."

Berntsson plain got off on the wrong foot. Seconds before the horn for their first race, Brady stalked him up to the line, where he gained a slight overlap, bow to stern, and Berntsson tagged him as he turned away. Chris Larson, Brady's tactician, waved a protest flag and the on-water umpires hoisted a blue flag---foul on Berntsson.

But the killer came another few seconds later when the umpires talked it over and ruled that Berntsson caused the contact deliberately and imposed a second penalty.

Berntsson said later, "I made a big mistake at the start."

But he didn't agree with the second flag, which forced him to do a penalty turn immediately, and calmly questioned chief umpire Jan Stage about it before the awards ceremonies.

A side note: There would be no protest hearing because there haven't been any in match racing since 1988, when the standard on-water umpiring system was formally introduced to the world in this event.

Brady's other crew, besides the veteran Larson, were Jim Swartz, Rodney Daniel, John Ziskind and Kazuhiko Sofuku, all America's Cup veterans---13 in all---except Swartz, the Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur who has hired these guys to sail on his new STP 65, Moneypenny, starting this summer on the East Coast.

"But I'll drive Moneypenny," Swartz said with a smile after his first-ever match racing experience. "This was a training mission for me. I learned a lot."

Source: Long Beach Yacht Club, May 5, 2008

Related

VendeeRace

Vendée Globe Warmup Race Finishes

After the cancellation of many races that would have served as shakedowns and qualifiers for the 2020 Vendée Globe, The Vendée-Arctique les Sables d’Olonne Race was announced to help prospective racers get a few more miles under their keels before the fabled round-the-world ...read more

pupplank (1)

Defender Product Spotlight: PupPlank

The first rule to living around the water is to teach your children to be safe. Pet owners feel the same way. All pet owners harbor a fear of their favorite four-legged friends drowning, and teaching a pet how to get out of the water is no easy task. An animal must leverage ...read more

2048x

Know-How: Helm Stations

Walk around any boat show, and you’ll see a number of differences in the way designers and builders have decided to locate the steering stations aboard their cruising cats. Each position has its good points and bad, among them visibility, protection from the elements, ...read more

Jerome

Point of SAIL: Jerome Rand

In the first episode of Point of SAIL, the SAIL magazine podcast, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with circumnavigator Jerome Rand about his adventures, past and future. For more information, visit Jerome's YouTube channel July 2020 ...read more

01-NEW-shutterstock_727520281

Cruising: Belize on a Multihull

In my experience, every charter has a kind of a theme to it, often encapsulated in a single moment. For me, during a recent weeklong charter off the coast of Belize that moment came toward the end of our first day out. We’d left the Sunsail base (sunsail.com), located part way ...read more

01-LEAD-View-of-the-Bow

Know-How: Marlinspike Seamanship in the Arctic

I was crewing aboard a boat named Breskell, a 51ft cutter-rigged, cold-molded, mahogany sloop. We were voyaging from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Port Townsend, Washington, via the Northwest Passage. A few days before setting sail, the captain, Olivier Huin, asked me to secure ...read more

Prop-Coat-Barnacle-Barrier-Quart-No-Background

Gear: Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier

Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 is now available in a quart-size can and, as always, can be used on all underwater metals, including saildrives, shafts, strainers and folding and non-folding props. Two or three coats are recommended, after which the coating will purportedly ...read more