Kiwi mash

Rich Roberts reports on the action at the Congressional Cup match racing in Long Beach, CA

Wednesday April 21st 2004, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
The sound of crunching fibreglass was a sour note in Gavin Brady's otherwise brilliant day Wednesday when he extended his win streak to eight by winning all four of his races and took over first place in the Long Beach Yacht Club's 40th Congressional Cup, the fourth event on the Swedish Match Tour.

A Kiwi vs. Kiwi windward mark collision with fellow countryman Cameron Appleton in the last round of the day was ruled a foul on Appleton because Brady was on starboard tack at the mark, while Appleton was on port (see photos below). But after crossing the finish line 57 seconds in front Brady was informed by umpire John Standley that because, in the umpires' view, he didn't try to avoid the incident a half-point would be deducted from his score.

That left Brady, 30, a two-time winner of the event in 1996 and '97, with an 8-1 record halfway through the double round-robin but only 7.5 points, a half-point ahead of first-day leader Peter Gilmour of Australia. The '88 winner lost to Brady and Long Beach's Scott Dickson on a 2-2 day and stands 7-2. There is a four-way tie for third at 5-4. "It's ludicrous," an angry Brady said at the dock. "Cameron never did anything to keep clear."

Standley, an Australian, agreed - but noted Rule C8.6 of the event's Sailing Instructions: "When the match umpires...decide that a boat has broken [Racing Rules of Sailing] 14 and damage results, they may, without a hearing, impose a penalty of half of one point."
Rule 14 requires even a right-of-way boat to avoid a collision if one seems imminent.

Appleton, 26, informed that Brady was upset about the ruling, said, "He should be - and rightly so. He caused the incident that didn't need to be caused."

Standley said, "If we had seen [Brady] let the mainsail go to bear away or try in any other way to keep clear, he wouldn't have been penalised. But he tried to do nothing. He did not try to keep clear."

Brady said that to let Appleton pass in front would have, in Brady's mind, handed his opponent the lead because at the moment of decision he didn't know Appleton was about to receive a penalty.

Later, by chance, they were assigned adjacent seats on the dais at the press conference. Appleton, appearing subdued, said little other than "it was an interesting day," and Brady didn't comment further on the incident.

The bow of Brady's boat showed a three-inch nick where it put a superficial dent in Appleton's starboard gunwale 10 feet forward of the stern. Costs for repairs, if necessary, will come out one or both of their $2,500 damage deposits for use of the Long Beach Sailing Foundation's Catalina 37s.

Chief umpire Jack Lloyd of New Zealand said Brady could have requested a hearing but decided to let the matter rest.

Aside from the incident, the event had a New Zealand North flavour for the day. No Kiwi except struggling Allen Coutts (0-9) did worse than break even. After Brady's 4-0, Kelvin Harrap was 3-1 and Appleton and Dickson, a New Zealand native, were 2-2.

Brady's brightest moment was his win over Gilmour by 24 seconds after starting with a penalty that he did not dispute. "We were in a compromising position when we dialed up [in the pre-start sequence]," Brady said. "We had to give way and we were slow to do so, and we got a justly deserved penalty."

At the windward mark he schemed to erase the infraction "when we got [Gilmour] trapped." Dialing up again, this time with Brady in the advantaged leeward position, Gilmour couldn't hold his bow into the wind, and as he bore away his jib touched Brady's boat---foul on Gilmour. From there it became an even sailboat race.

Gilmour said, "The tolerances are very fine if you make a mistake. We're very lucky to get away with a 2-2 score."

After 45 protests and 16 penalties in five races Tuesday, the pace of aggression accelerated with 40 protests and 15 penalties, plus Brady's half-point deduction, in only four races Wednesday.

The sea breeze built quickly from 8 knots to 14 through the afternoon, but principal race officer Bobby Frazier called off racing after four rounds because of a severe wind shift to the right, foretelling a possible Santa Ana condition of desert winds for the next day or two. "The wind went from 220 to 280, and looking [west] toward Wilmington we could see it was coming out of the northeast," Frazier said.

That was fine with Coutts' crew. "Our boys were commenting on the way in that we'd had a better day today," Coutts said. "I said, 'How do you figure that?' 'Well, we had five losses yesterday and only four today.' "

Racing continues into Saturday, starting at noon daily, conditions permitting. There is $25,000 in prize money, with $6,000 to the winning team.

Live radio commentary of the racing may be heard worldwide on or at 810 AM within a four-mile radius of the Belmont Pier spectator site. Video highlights of each day's racing may be replayed each evening on the club's Web site,

Wednesday's results:

Round 6
Scott Dickson, Long Beach, Calif., def. Terry Hutchinson, Annapolis, Md., 4 seconds.
Gavin Brady, New Zealand, d. Kelvin Harrap, New Zealand, 0:15.
Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark, d. Cameron Appleton, New Zealand, 0:15.
Peter Gilmour, Australia, d. Ed Baird, St. Petersburg, Fla., 0:24.
Mattias Rahm, Sweden, d. Allan Coutts, New Zealand, 0:45.

Round 7
Baird d. Gram-Hansen, 0:02.
Hutchinson d. Rahm, 0:23.
Harrap d. Coutts, 0:06.
Appleton d. Dickson, 0:18.
Brady d. Gilmour, 0:24.

Round 8
Harrap d. Hutchinson, 0:21.
Appleton d. Coutts, 0:39.
Dickson d. Gilmour 0:21.
Rahm d. Gram-Hansen, 0:18.
Brady d. Baird, 0:15.

Round 9
Hutchinson d. Coutts, 0:18.
Harrap d. Dickson, 0:31.
Brady d. Appleton, 0:57.
Gilmour d. Gram-Hansen, 0:14.
Baird d. Rahm, 0:18.

Standings (after 9 of 18 rounds): 1. Brady, 8-1 (7.5 points); 2. Gilmour, 7-2; 3. tie among Hutchinson, Baird, Gram-Hansen and Harrap, 5-4; 7. Appleton, 4-5; 8. tie between Rahm and Dickson, 3-6; 10. Coutts, 0-9.

Below: Gavin Brady's tactician, John Kostecki (left), waves a protest flag as Cameron Appleton attempts to cross on port tack at the windward mark.

Below: After Brady crashes into Appleton, umpire John Standley (right in red suit) confers with his partner on the incident as Brady (center) follows Appleton around the windward mark.

Below: The boats are still bumping as Brady (right) appeals to the umpires for a foul call against Appleton, which soon followed.

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