Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Brady wins the 2008 Congressional Cup

Brady sweeps the sail-offs for 4th Crimson Blazer

by Rich Roberts (photo above shows a key incident in which Johnie Berntsson (l.) contacts Gavin Brady's bow just before start of the first race of the finals)

LONG BEACH, Calif.---Gavin Brady joined a small, elite club of match racing sailors with a common problem Saturday: what to do with all of those Crimson Blazers in their closets.

Only Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg also own four of the traditional winner's wardrobe in Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup presented by Acura, now counting 44 years of consecutive competitions among the best in the world at their specialty.

After winning 15 of his 18 round robin contests, Brady drove through the sailoffs with a steady and steely determination in sweeping local pride Scott Dickson and Sweden's Johnie Berntsson, who was coming off seven consecutive wins, in two straight races each in the semifinals and finals, respectively.

Berntsson had swept France's Philippe Presti, 2-0, in the other semifinal, and Presti took the measure of Dickson in the consolation final.

Brady, a New Zealand native who has lived in Annapolis, Md., since the mid-90s, won his first two Congressional Cups in 1996 and '97 when he was only 22 and 23, then his third in 2006 after building a professional sailing career of America's Cups and various ocean races.

"We were competitive in a boat sailing fast and we didn't have to take any risks," Brady said.

As a southwest breeze built to 13 knots, the clincher against Berntsson was especially a show of total control. Brady had Berntsson pinned to leeward and slightly ahead of the starting line and didn't tack until reaching the port layline for the windward mark. Downwind, he blocked the Swede's every move while jibing only twice, and on the next two legs he needed only two tacks and one jibe - a total of three tacks and jibes for the race he won by 14 seconds.

"They were just better," Berntsson said. "They did a better start. If we had tacked [on the first leg] he would have gained too much on us."

Berntsson plain got off on the wrong foot. Seconds before the horn for their first race, Brady stalked him up to the line, where he gained a slight overlap, bow to stern, and Berntsson tagged him as he turned away. Chris Larson, Brady's tactician, waved a protest flag and the on-water umpires hoisted a blue flag - foul on Berntsson.

But the killer came another few seconds later when the umpires talked it over and ruled that Berntsson caused the contact deliberately and imposed a second penalty.

Berntsson said later, "I made a big mistake at the start."

But he didn't agree with the second flag, which forced him to do a penalty turn immediately, and calmly questioned chief umpire Jan Stage about it before the awards ceremonies.

The winners with the Cup: Gavin Brady, in crimson blazer, is third from the right

Brady's other crew, besides the veteran Larson, were Jim Swartz, Rodney Daniel, John Ziskind and Kazuhiko Sofuku, all America's Cup veterans, 13 in all, except Swartz, the Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur who has hired these guys to sail on his new STP 65, Moneypenny, starting this summer on the East Coast.

"But I'll drive Moneypenny," Swartz said with a smile after his first-ever match racing experience. "This was a training mission for me. I learned a lot."

Ziskind said, "This was the most fun I've had in an event here. It's a brand new team and the start of a great season. It's not often you get put in this position, and it's a blast."

Brady collected $10,000 of the $41,000 prize pot. Simon Minoprio won $1,000 for winning the fleet race for those who didn't reach the sailoffs.

Simon Minoprio and Philippe Presti fighting it out

Gavin Brady versus Scott Dickson in the semi-finals

Kiwis finished 1st, 4th and 5th at the Congressional Cup this year; Gavin Brady, Scott Dickson and Simon Minoprio.

The 10 six-man crews sailed Catalina 37s owned by the Long Beach Yacht Club Sailing Foundation, rotating boats daily.

Event sponsors were the Port of Long Beach, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Catalina Adventure Tours, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, West Marine, Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Union Bank of California, Newmeyer & Dillion attorneys at Law, Mount Gay Rum and Gladstone’s Restaurant of Long Beach.



(18 rounds)

1. Gavin Brady, New Zealand, 15-3 (14.5 points*)

2. Johnie Berntsson, Sweden, 13-5.

3. Scott Dickson, U.S., 12-6.

4. Philippe Presti, France, 10-8 (wins tiebreaker with Simon Minoprio).

5. Simon Minoprio, New Zealand, 10-8, $3,800.

6. Damien Iehl, France, 8-10, $3,000.

7. Dave Perry, U.S., 8-10, $2,700.

8. Andrew Arbuzov, Russia, 6-12, $2,300.

9. Pierre-Antoine Morvan, France, 6-12, $1,900.

10. Chris VanTol, U.S., 2-16 (.75 points*), $1,500.

*---Deduction for causing excess damage.


Berntsson d. Presti, 52 seconds.
Berntsson d. Presti, 0:41 (Berntsson wins, 2-0).

Brady d. Dickson, 0:16.
Brady d. Dickson, 0:24 (Brady wins, 2-0).


Brady d. Berntsson, 0:56.
Brady d. Berntsson, 0:14 (Brady wins, 2-0).


Presti d. Dickson, 0:08.
Presti d. Dickson, 0:34 (Presti wins, 2-0).

Congressional Cup 2008

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Pickel and Borkowski are Germany's Olympic Star reps. in 2008

by Anne Hinton (Image above shows Pickel and Borkowski competing at the 2008 Star Worlds, copyright FRIED ELLIOTT/

Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski are Germany's 2008 Olympic Star boat representatives. Their story is one in which talent and hard work are matched by persistency and determination to win. A good example for all sportsmen and sailors, in New Zealand and elsewhere.

Arguably the best Star boat team in Germany in the lead up to the 2004 Olympics, for which Pickel and Borkowski qualified their country, they missed out on selection for Athens. The lawyers decided, in May 2004, that a written agreement between the teams who were competing for the German Star boat slot should decide the Olympic representatives for Athens, which meant that Alexander Hagan and Jochen Wolfram got the nod. This left Pickel and Borkowski with some unfinished business...

Pickel, from Kiel, is full time, professionally, in the sailing industry, but Borkowski has taken leave of absence from work as a civil servant to concentrate on his sailing. Back in 2000, Borkowski was bowman on the Soling with Jochen Schuemann, and long-time friend, Gunnar Bahr; they took the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics. At that time, Borkowski was taking legal exams alongside the sailing, and Bahr was finishing his degree. In the Soling, they achieved many victories and podium positions in fleet and match racing at European and World Championships. They trained against Stig Westergaard (Denmark), finishing second to Westergaard's first place at the 1999 Worlds in Melbourne. Jesper Bank was tenth in Melbourne, but went on to earn the Danish Soling nomination and win Gold in Sydney.

Schuemann and Westergaard competing in the 1999 Infanta Cristina Trophy, Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Melbourne

Borkowski is quietly spoken and not one to seek the limelight, but still waters run deep with him (a New Zealand comparison could be Dean Barker). Formerly from Potsdam, he was crewing Solings in DDR times, sailing against Schuemann, before joining Schuemann's crew, as reserve for 1996 and then as bowman for the 2000 Olympic Soling campaign. After Sydney, when Schuemann joined Alinghi for the America's Cup, Borkowski took to the Star with Pickel for another shot at the Olympics.

Pickel enjoys every aspect of sailing, has a very positive attitude, and is usually to be found with a big smile on his face. He is a boat builder by profession, and has built a Star boat for the 2008 campaign. Like Borkowski, Pickel sailed on the ILC40 'Astro', to victory in the 1994 Sardinia Cup, and also as crew to a win in the Dragon Gold Cup in 1996. He has sailed Star boats, with different crews, for many years, achieving podium positions, and notable victories, from the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes event to the European Championships in 2000. The Star campaign with Borkowski has Pinta sponsorship, which comes with the motto "desire to win". Their training partners, the USA pairing of John Dane and Austin Sperry, are also China-bound.

Gaining weight for the Star meant that Borkowski has not sailed so much with Bahr, but they joined forces, with Bahr helming, to win the Spring Match Race on the Wannsee, Berlin, in 2003. They were also reunited, briefly, in an H-boat (in which class Borkowski won the 1995 World Championships), helmed by Jochen Schuemann, for Match Race Berlin in 2003, and with Stefan Meister subsequently. Not making the finals, in 2003, Borkowski switched boats, sailing with Markus Wieser and Ebse Magg (subsequently Technical Director of United Internet Team Germany) to win Match Race Berlin when Wieser's middleman, Matti Paschen, had to rush home to Hamburg for the birth of his first child.

Together again, but this time on an H-boat: Schuemann sails with his former Soling crew, although Gunnar Bahr is now on bow and Ingo Borkowski is middleman at Match Race Berlin 2003

Markus Wieser, Eberhard Magg and Ingo Borkowski (standing in for Matti Paschen): winners of Match Race Berlin 2003

The hats worn by Gunnar Bahr (aka Blondie) and Ingo Borkowski, purchased by Ingo's mother some years ago, are as much a feature of Match Race Berlin as the excellent gluehwein, produced in quantity by the Berliner Yacht Club, the fickle lake breezes and the warm hospitality of hosts, the Verein Seglerclub am Wannsee.

Ingo Borkowski, sailing in Match Race Germany 2003, with Matti Paschen (left) and Markus Wieser (right)

In the Star, Pickel and Borkowski gradually climbed the rankings, and have helped to lift the standard of other Star boat sailors in Germany too. Their fifth place at the 2008 World Championships, in tricky conditions, bodes well for a top placing in Qingdao this August.

Pinta Elements Star boat team

New Zealand's Team for 2008 ISAF Youth Worlds

by Jodie Bakewell-White

Yachting New Zealand is pleased to announce the 2008 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team. This team of ten sailors will travel to Arhus, Denmark in July, to represent New Zealand at the ISAF Youth World Championships.

The 2008 ISAF Youth World Championships, sponsored by Volvo, is set to be one of the biggest ever with 59 nations and 250 sailors already signed up to compete in Denmark from 10-19 July.

The New Zealand team includes:

Laser Boys: Sam Meech (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club)
Laser Radial Girls: Cushla Hume-Merry (Evans Bay Yacht & Motorboat Club)
RS:X Windsurfing Boys: Josh Nixon (Takapuna Boating Club/Royal Akarana Yacht Club)
RS:X Windsurfing Girls: Jazmine Lynch (Takapuna Boating Club)
29er Boys: Paul Snow-Hansen (Wakatere Boating Club) & Ben Goodwin (Napier Sailing Club)
29er Girls: Alexandra Maloney (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) & Bianca Barbarich-Bacher (Murrays Bay Sailing Cub)
Multihull: Francisco Lardies (Glendowie Boating Club) & David Hazard (Sandspit Yacht Club)

This is a team of extremely talented young sailors, four of whom have the experience of having been in the team in previous years.

Not only will the New Zealand sailors be looking for medals in their respective classes, they will also be looking for a good performance in the Volvo Trophy presented to the best performing nation. In 2007 the New Zealand team was the third nation behind Australia and Denmark.

Paul Snow-Hansen helmed the double-handed 29er to a silver medal performance in 2007 at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Weymouth and is back this year with Ben Goodwin of Napier as his crew. Goodwin was also a team member in 2007 competing then in the Hobie 16 and finishing 6th overall.

For Wellington Laser Radial sailor, Cushla Hume-Merry, this will be her third year in the national youth team having represented New Zealand in both 2006 and 2007. A recent highlight for Hume-Merry was her performance at the Laser Radial Class Youth World Championship sailed here in Auckland in March of this year. She won silver, narrowly missing the girls title after a close fought battle with Australia’s Gabrielle King in which they finished level on points.

Josh Nixon is the fourth member of the 2008 team that has Youth Worlds experience under his belt. Nixon, who is a training partner of Olympian Tom Ashley, was in Kingston, Canada in 2007 for the Youth Worlds where he finished 7th overall.

The girls 29er pairing is one to watch. Helm, Alexandra Maloney was top female at the 2007 Optimist World Championships finishing third overall in the enormous 250 boat fleet. Now sailing with Bianca Barbarich-Bacher as crew, who has some solid international campaigning in her sailing career, the pair has edged out talented Wellington sisters Sarah and Emma Berry for the girls double-handed spot this year.

Sam Meech won out in the selection race for the Laser spot after a tight battle with Andy Maloney and Jason Saunders in the trial events. For Meech, from Tauranga, this will be his first ISAF Youth World Championships.

Francisco Lardies and David Hazard will represent New Zealand in the multihull fleet in Arhus, Denmark. This year the boat being used is the Sirena SL16 and not the Hobie 16 as more commonly chosen by previous host nations of this event.

The NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team sponsors include:
NZL Yachting Trust
New Zealand Academy of Sport
Line 7

ISAF Youth Worlds