USA. 42nd Congressional Cup: Gavin Brady wins 16 of 17 races to take third Con Cup
Gavin Brady and Ian Williams give spectators on Belmont Pier a close look at their pre-start jousting in the championship finals: © Rich Roberts
Photo: Gavin Brady and Ian Williams give spectators on Belmont Pier a close look at their pre-start jousting in the championship finals: © Rich Roberts - click picture to enlarge
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Sunday, 16 April 2006
Rich Roberts:

Gavin Brady, a native of New Zealand but a resident of Annapolis, Md. for 14 of his 32 years, felt right at home in Long Beach Saturday when he won his third Crimson Blazer in the Long Beach Yacht Club's 42nd Congressional Cup presented by Acura.

"This yacht club gave me a break when I was young, so this is a really special event for me," he said.

It was just a while in coming. Brady's first two wins were in 1996 and '97, and since then he had been in the semifinals six times and the finals four times before this victory that put him one behind Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg, who have won four Congressional Cups each.

Once Brady got on a roll this week he was next to invincible. He won 16 of his last 17 races, including the last 13 in a row and all four Saturday when he swept local hope Scott Dickson in the semis and Great Britain's Ian Williams in the finals, 2-0 each.

"It was just a matter of getting into a rhythm," Brady said, but Williams said the difference between them was how deadly Brady was at the starting line. "He got am exceptional line shot at the starts both times that gave him that little jump," Williams said. "He just got it right every time. We never got the timing we needed."

One of Brady's trimmers, Tony Rey agreed. "Gavin won the regatta for us on the starting line," Rey said. "If it was an even start, we were controlling soon after."

Brady returned the kudos. "You start well when you have confidence in your guys," he said. "We had no penalties and we gave no penalties. The theme of the week was 'fleet racing.' "

He meant that when the 18 round robin races have five matches occurring simultaneously on a windward-leeward course only a half-mile long, staying clear of traffic is paramount.

Brady represented the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club but his crew was mostly American. Like himself, tactician Chris Larson and pitman Ian Gordon live in Annapolis and Rey is from Newport, R.I. Bowman Jeff Brock and main trimmer Skip Baxter are Kiwis. They'll all share the $10,000 first-place prize.

Williams, ranked No. 7 in the world, said he was not disappointed in second place and $5,700.

"We were just discussing how our crew has sailed in three Congressional Cups [among them] and Gavin's team has what---40?" Williams said.

Or, as Williams' tactician, Bill Hardesty of San Diego, said, "There are eight teams here who would like to trade [places] with us, so we can't complain."

Saturday's sailing conditions were the best of the five days of competition: 10 to 12 knots of pure, cool Long Beach sea breeze from the southwest slot between Santa Catalina Island and the Point Fermin peninsula up the coast.

Brady's wins over Dickson and Williams were virtually uncontested, ranging from 13 to 21 seconds---not routs but totally in control.

The new consolation fleet race for a $1,000 prize was won by New Zealand Simon Minoprio, followed by countryman Cameron Appleton, Brian Angel of Redondo Beach, Peter Wibroe of Denmark and Johnie Berntsson of Sweden. Finland's Staffan Lindberg did not compete.

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

Semifinals :

Mathieu Richard, France, d. Ian Williams, Great Britain, 10 seconds; Williams d. Richard, 0:08; Williams d. Richard, 0:30 (Williams wins, 2-1).

Gavin Brady, New Zealand, d. Scott Dickson, Long Beach, 0:13; Brady d. Dickson, 0:13 (Brady wins, 2-0).

Championship finals: Brady d. Williams, 0:21; Brady d. Williams, 0:17 (Brady 2, $10,000, Williams 1, $5,700.)

Third place: Dickson d. Richard, 0:04; Richard d. Dickson, 0:23; Richard d. Dickson, 0:16 (Richard 2, $4,800, Dickson 1, $4,400.)

Final Round Robin standings (18 rounds):

1. Brady, 15-3 (2-0 vs. Williams); 2. Williams, 15-3; 3. Richard, 13-5; 4. Dickson, 8-10 (wins 3-way tiebreaker); 5. Minoprio, 8-10 (wins 2-way tiebreaker), $3,800; 6. Berntsson, 8-10, $3,000; 7. Appleton, 7-11 (wins tiebreaker), $2,700; 8. Lindberg, 7-11, $2,300; 9. Angel, 6-12, $1,900; 10. Wibroe, 3-15, $1,500.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 April 2006 )
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