Taylor Canfield and team us one triumph, earn fourth crimson blazer
Monday, April 23, 2018 10:30 AM
LONG BEACH, CALIF 22 APRIL 2018 - - Taylor Canfield and Team US One have won the 2018 Congressional Cup after an intense five-day battle with nine other of the world’s top match racing talent; and fierce finals with Dean Barker and Team American Magic, who finished second. Sam Gilmour (AUS) defeated Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in the petit-finals, for third place in this prestigious World Sailing Grade One regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.
The final matches of this legendary match racing event came down to a USA sail-off.
Not since Ed Baird’s win in 2004, has Old Glory flown from the backstay of a winning boat. Although both Canfield and Barker are past Congressional Cup champions, at the time Canfield (2014, 2015, 2016) was sailing for the US Virgin Islands; and Barker (2000, 2005) under the Southern Cross, withTeam New Zealand.
For the final day of Congressional Cup, despite a full docket, light breeze held off racing nearly an hour. Once they began, Canfield straightforwardly eliminated Berntsson, in the shifty 6 to 8 knot breeze. Barker and Gilmour battled intensely, with finishes seconds apart. Going into race four, it was match point: Barker 2, Gilmour 1.
Shortly after rounding the top mark on the second downwind leg, Gilmour’s spinnaker halyard popped. Despite a lightening fast recovery, Barker took the advantage and won that match, advancing to the finals.
Both Barker and Canfield have championship DNA: Barker, victorious in the America’s Cup; and Canfield, a Match Racing World Champion.
But Barker had beat Canfield in both matches in the Round Robins; and held an impressive record, with 16 wins – leaving Canfield the underdog, as he entered the finals.
In scintillating matches, as the wind built to 14 knots, Canfield took the first race, while Barker won the second. When the third bout went to Canfield, it all came down to race four.
By this point in the regatta the sailors were in tune with their boats; in the better breeze they accelerated, and excelled. After a thrilling start, on the first upwind leg Barker tacked too aggressively, according to the judges, earning a penalty. The closely matched teams dueled around the course. But when Barker elected to take his penalty turn at the top mark, Canfield surged ahead, and never succumbed, taking the win and the series. Joining Canfield on his return to the Congressional Cup podium is Mike Buckley, Ian Coleman, Victor Diaz de Leon, Dan Morrs, George Pete, and Erik Shampain.