Brady on a blinder

After day one of Congressional Cup

Wednesday April 9th 2003, Author: Shawn McBride, Location: United States
Two-time Congressional Cup winner (1996, 1997) and 2002 runner-up Gavin Brady and his Team Beau Geste recorded five wins on the opening day of the Swedish Match Tour’s Congressional Cup to take the early lead in round robin racing.

Brady and his Kiwi mates wasted little time in serving notice that he is seriously bidding for his third “Crimson Blazer” – the ceremonial jacket awarded to the winner of the Congressional Cup.

“Sean Clarkson and I usually work together calling tactics but this week we have Chris Larson aboard as tactician, so I’m able to focus on driving the boat as fast as I physically can,” said Brady.

Brady also cited the importance of recognizing some of the subtleties of racing in Long Beach, “Prestarts at the Congressional Cup are all about the first shift off the line and not always about winning the right side like at some other regattas.”

Additionally, umpiring, as key a component to match racing as any sport, must be taken into consideration according to the pace-setting Kiwi. “Umpires at the Congressional Cup are very concerned about people not getting hurt and not damaging the equipment; they’ll penalize you even if you don’t make contact here, unlike at events in Europe.

“We know the umpires well enough on the Swedish Match Tour, and they know us, so they can approach us and communicate how it’s going to be called each week, at each event. Some people see the lack of consistency as a negative, but the open communication is really a positive because everyone’s competing evenly.”

One point behind Brady are Italy’s Paolo Cian of the Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team and Australian James Spithill, former helmsman of the OneWorld Challenge, with records of 4-1.

“All the races were pretty close, we were really comfortable and confident out there today,” said Spithill. “We’re looking forward to tomorrow, as I’m sure everyone else is.

At three wins is former Swedish Match Tour champion Magnus Holmberg of Sweden, and three skippers, including current Swedish Match Tour leader Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Victory Lane from Denmark, finished the day with two wins.

“It was fun out there today, but it took a little time to get used to talking English again,” said Gram-Hansen alluding to his two local crew members, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Flam. “We had good boat handling and good boat speed today and it very easily could have been a four win day.”

Great Britain’s Chris Law and “The Outlaws” are tied with Ken Read of the Saucony Racing Team and France’s Luc Pillot at one win at the bottom of the leaderboard. One wouldn’t know it from hearing Law at this evening’s press conference, however.

“It was a great day’s sailing, the racing was fun, the lines were square. We lost to some very good teams. There are six America’s Cup teams here this week, plus the top two teams from the Swedish Match Tour, local guy Scott Dickson and us. I’m not sure why but we feel OK, but we’re definitely looking forward to tomorrow.”

After a one-hour delay to the start of racing, the 2003 Congressional Cup completed five flights on a long opening day of the 39th edition of the Long Beach Yacht Club-hosted match racing classic.

Round robin action resumes at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

Skipper Wins Losses Points
1.Gavin Brady, NZ/Team Beau Geste 5 0 5
2.James Spithill, AUS/Team Spithill 4 1 4
Paolo Cian, ITA/Riviera di Rimini Sailing Team 4 1 4
4.Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team Holmberg 3 2 3
5.Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Victory Lane 2 3 2
Jesper Radich, DEN/Team Radich 2 3 2
Scott Dickson, USA/Dickson Racing Team 2 3 2
8.Ken Read, USA/Saucony Racing Team 1 4 1
Chris Law, GBR/ “The Outlaws” 1 4 1
Luc Pillot, FRA/Team Luc Pillot 1 4 1

Round Robin Racing
Flight 1
Brady def. Pillot
Gram-Hansen def. Law
Cian def. Read
Spithill def. Radich
Holmberg def. Dickson

Flight 2
Gram-Hansen def. Read
Spithill def. Cian
Radich def. Pillot – DNF
Brady def. Dickson – DNF
Holmberg def. Law

Flight 3
Cian def. Pillot
Dickson def. Radich
Brady def. Law
Holmberg def. Gram-Hansen
Read def. Spithill

Flight 4
Law def. Radich
Brady def. Holmberg
Spithill def. Gram-Hansen
Pillot def. Read
Cian def. Dickson

Flight 5
Brady def. Gram-Hansen
Spithill def. Pillot
Dickson def. Read
Cian def. Law
Radich def. Holmberg

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