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Congressional Cup Concludes

April 26 - Long Beach

The 40th Congressional Cup had run out of time and Terry Hutchinson had run out of wind when Ed Baird came from behind on the last leg to win a sudden-death championship race by 1 minute 41 seconds Saturday. Baird, at 46 the oldest competitor in the fleet, was the only semifinalist among Hutchinson, New Zealand's Gavin Brady and Australia's Peter Gilmour who
hadn't won the event's traditional Crimson Blazer.

Terry Hutchinson waves the protest flag in pre-start incident against Peter Gilmour in semifinals.

Baird, from St. Petersburg, FL, took the weakest round-robin record into the semifinals (11-7), but eliminated Brady (12-6), a two-time winner, 2-1. Meanwhile, Gilmour (16-2) chose Hutchinson (12-6) as his semifinal opponent after the Annapolis sailor had warned, "I wouldn't pick us." Sure enough, Gilmour was stunned, 2-1, downgrading the anticipated title showdown between himself and Brady to a sailoff for third place, won by Brady by 1 minute 15 seconds.

Ed Baird got away with two poor starts against Gavin Brady, including this one, to win their semifinal, 2-1.

The scheduled best-of-three final was reduced to a single race because of the time. Hutchinson gained on a favorable wind shift immediately after the start and was able to tack on Baird's nose and hold the lead around three marks before sailing into the fateful leg. With half a mile to go for the title, he did a simple bear-away spinnaker set that took him left and into the lee of one of the oil islands in the Long Beach outer harbor.

Baird, seeing no profit in pursuing his opponent, did a jibe set and went to the right - and into whatever breeze remained on the course. It was the smartest move he made all week. Soon, down in the shadow of the island, Hutchinson's sails were sagging and his boat was dead in the water as Baird glided on a steady course to the finish. For complete standings and more, see www.lbyc.org and www.swedishmatchtour.com.

Ed Baird, wearing his new Crimson Blazer, poses with his crew around the Congressional Cup. Clockwise from bottom left are Rob Myles, Eric Doyle, Jon Ziskind, Baird, Brett Jones and Andy Horton.
Photos & Report Rich Roberts

Opening Day on the Bay

April 26 - Tiburon

Yesterday's Opening Day was one of the best in recent memory with sunny, warm, gorgeous weather throughout the Bay Area. Hundreds of boats took to the water to enjoy the warmth, though it came without much breeze. We spent the day at the Corinthian Yacht Club, which puts on a great show for members and guests. The boats and club were decorated in style, and nearby Sam's was as busy as ever. In the morning, the fleet was blessed as they cruised by the Coast Guard cutter Sockeye with a priest, a minister, a cantor and an admiral on board. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the sun with great music and friends while the kids frolicked in the harbor.

A Coast Guard inflatable ferried VIPs between the club and the USCG cutter.

These kids cooled off in the harbor courtesy of a DeWitt dinghy and a sailboard.
Photos Latitude/John Arndt

Antigua Race Week Gets off to a Rainy Start

April 26 - Antigua

While the Bay Area enjoyed a heat wave, it was raining in Antigua. Rain, clouds and light winds greeted the 200-plus boats in 16 classes for Antigua Sailing Week. But as the heavy hitters in Racing Big Boat I crossed the line an hour and fifteen minutes after the first warning gun for division A, the sun had started to shine and the wind had picked up for the race from English Harbour to Dickenson Bay and the Dickenson Bay Beach Bash.

Mari-Cha IV
Photo Alastair Abrehart

Not surprisingly, Robert Miller's Mari-Cha IV crossed the line first in two hours and 33 minutes, correcting out to fourth in Racing Big Boat A with Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory taking the win. Pyewacket was seconds behind her after nip and tuck racing all the way up the coast. If you look closely on Mari-Cha IV for the next couple of days and you'll see Pindar skipper Emma Richards on mizzen traveler.

Last year's class and overall winner Frank Savage saw himself in a unpleasant fourth place at the end of today in Racing III. Roger Sturgeon's Santa Cruz-based Transpac 52 Rosebud is at the top of the pile despite being over on the start line this morning.

For more, see www.sailingweek.com.

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