LONG BEACH, CA 12 SEPTEMBER 2021 – USA’s David Wood leads his Stars+Stripes development team to the semi-finals of the 2021 Ficker Cup in Long Beach, California after posting seven straight wins in the second qualifying round robin of the regatta. Joining Wood in the semis are fellow US match racers Jeffrey Petersen and Pearson Potts, and Danish skipper Emil Kjaer.
Tackling a midday wind shift from the prevailing southwesterly to a west-northwesterly direction, Wood impressed spectators watching from the Belmont Pier as he posted straight wins for the day. Jeffrey Petersen (USA) floundered but did not fail, with three losses – one to Wood – finishing second overall after the double round-robin.
Denmark’s Emil Kjaer logged four wins on his second day to secure his place in the semis, despite a notable loss to Peter Holz (USA). A Rule 15 violation [right of way boat shall give the other boat room to keep clear] earned Kjaer a flag in prestart, followed by a red flag as the Danish team had gained an advantage in the manoeuvre. Failing to do his penalty turn swiftly enough, Kjaer earned another penalty which he carried around the course, some of the fifteen flags conferred by officials in Saturday’s heated racing.
Person Potts, a two-time US Match Racing Champion, becomes the fourth semi-finalist after a tie break against Peter Holz. “Ficker Cup represents the next step of our team’s sailing career.” commented Potts. The road to the top of the sport goes through Long Beach, so we’ve got to master the Catalina 37 as we climb the ladder of match racing.”
Narrowly losing out to his place in the semi-finals, Peter Holz, a veteran of five Ficker Cup regattas, recognized Petersen, Wood and Kjaer, noting the importance of youth match racing clinics and programs. “I remember when we were in that spot seven or eight years ago,” said the Chicago native Holz. “There are just certain geographies in the US that do a better job in promoting the sport and youth match racing and the California circuit is awesome – which is why you’ve got great teams coming from this region.”
David Wood (USA) – STARS+STRIPES
Nicole Breault (USA), whose San Francisco team also missed the semi-finals,noted the level of competition was also “top shelf.” “I really respect that; I knew this was going to be intense, a real battle, and that every single race mattered — every single move mattered. I expected very few mistakes from any of these teams.”
Breault had just come off her fourth win in the US Women’s Match Racing Championship (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2021) adding, “We don’t spend a lot of time in the big boats. We have gained some perspective on what we’ve been doing, and how charmed the life we were leading was, when we got to go out match racing together again.”
Ideal conditions are expected to continue for the final day of racing Sunday Sept. 12, starting at 11:30am local time. As frontrunner in the double round robins, Wood will choose his opponent for the semi-finals. The winners of the two semi-final matches will advance to the Ficker Cup finals, guaranteeing each a valuable berth at the 2021 Congressional Cup next week. The petit-finals will determine third and fourth places, with the third placed skipper also advancing to the Congressional Cup.
For more information on WMRT, visit www.wmrt.com
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Media contact: Betsy (Crowfoot) Senescu
Congressional Cup 2021 Press Officer
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way, Long Beach,
CA 90803 USA
LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB
Established in 1929, Long Beach Yacht Club is recognized as a leading club in the international yachting community for its commitment to excellence in yacht racing and innovation in race management. Congressional Cup, the club’s signature event, now in its 56th year, is the preeminent match racing regatta in the United States and considered the Gateway to the America’s Cup. In addition to hosting numerous local, national, and international yachting events, the Club’s member families enjoy a year-round calendar of social, yachting, and junior activities at its beautiful clubhouse on the shore of Alamitos Bay.
WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR
Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com