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Congressional Cup: Day Two, And a 50/50 Day For AmericaOne

Long Beach, CA, March 10, 1999-- It is the granddaddy of all modern match racing events -- the place where it all started. Top America's Cup crews and match racers going head-to-head in purpose-built matched Catalina 37s supplied by the host club. Long Beach Yacht Club has a 35-year tradition of outstanding hospitality and excellent racing. With three former winners, three America's Cup skippers, the current U.S. male and female Rolex Award winners and competitors from six countries, this is perhaps the strongest field ever. Paul Cayard reports on the latest sailing action from Belmont Harbor:

Daily Report, March 10, 1999

Day Two of the Congressional Cup was a 50/50 day for AmericaOne . . . we won two and lost two. We are currently in second place, tied with three other teams with a five win and two loss record.

The day was very light, under seven knots all day, which made for shifty winds and tough tactical decisions. The committee did manage to get in four races despite the conditions, leaving 11 races for the next three days.

In our first race of the day we got the side of the start we wanted against the German Marcus Weiser but soon found out that his side had a bit more pressure and then a fairly large wind shift also went his way. From there on Marcus sailed very smart, taking the favored side and not worrying about us as much. This allowed him to extend and win fairly comfortably.

Our second race was against Peter Holmberg of St. Thomas, the new helmsman of Dennis Conner's America's Cup program. We won the start fairly convincingly and stretched our lead from there to win comfortably.

In the third race we lost to Neville Whittey of Australia, again getting the left side of the course only to find a major wind shift to the right which gave Neville the lead. We were very close to him on the first run but lost a bit just coming into the leeward mark. Neville managed the race well from the lead, although we closed to within a boat length at the finish.

For the fourth race, in very light wind, under five knots, we competed against Scott Dickson, the younger brother of Chris Dickson, Scott finished second in last year's Congressional Cup. Against Scott we managed to win the start very convincingly and the race was over then and there.

So an up-and-down day which left us with many regrets but a score that keeps us in the running. You can't help but wish you could replay the ones you lost because you are sure you would never make the same mistakes twice. But that is not reality. So we have to look forward and try to win the races left to be sailed, starting tomorrow morning with Francesco de Angelis, skipper of the Italian America's Cup team sponsored by Prada.

After the sailing and the press conference, our team went down to Costa Mesa and visited out new America's Cup boat, USA-49. She is really coming along fast and looks great. It is always impressive to see a boat of that size, upside down, in construction. It actually looks bigger than when it is in the water. We had a meeting with the builders and got back to our beds by 22:00. These days are pretty long so we are sleeping very well.

Paul Cayard

For more about the Congressional Cup, go to the Long Beach YC web site. For more about AmericaOne at Congressional Cup, visit our Grand Prix Sailing News page.


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