Chris Steele and Dustin Durant have solidified two spots in the Ficker Cup semi-finals, but the balance are still up for grabs, after today’s stirring races.
One flight remains in the double-round robin series which will decide who advances to the semi-finals and finals, with a chance to win the prestigious Ficker Cup – and a berth in the Congressional Cup regatta.
“Third and fourth place is a crowded space,” said Ficker Cup co-chair Mary Voigt, as she watched the races from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Chicago’s Peter Holz has a slim advantage, with 7-6, over a trio tied for fourth: Christophe Killian, Charles Lalumiere, and Dave Hood – all with 6-7.
“We’re real excited to be in the position we’re in,” said Holz – exceptionally poised, at 22. “We had a great day and a lot of fun. It’s awesome to be here; we love Long Beach Yacht Club and the Ficker Cup. But we’re just like everyone else – we want to move on to the Congressional Cup. We’re confident and really excited about the semi-finals.”
This year not just one, but two top finishers of the Ficker Cup will advance to the Congressional Cup, “a nice carrot to have hanging out there,” said Hood, who is coincidentally LBYC Vice Commodore; and in contention for that final slot in the semis.
He’s up against Killian; and Maine’s Lalumiere, who remarked, “We feel like we put it all together today. Earlier he had admitted it was a steep learning curve (one crew member called it “straight up”) sailing in foreign waters and an unfamiliar boat. “‘Our practice the other day was a little tough, but we’re starting to figure it out.”
It was a volatile day, with the wind shifting as much as the standings, and several stunning upsets. In a veritable dogfight, Chris Poole, revealed the form that has earned him his number 25 ISAF ranking: beating Durant – who was slapped with a red flag penalty during that match.
“We all know how to sail, we know what we’re doing,” said Poole. But it was too little, too late. From the onset, he said, “things didn’t quite come together, and it just snowballed from one race to the next.” He finished the day 4-9.
Tomorrow’s final flight will determine which sailors move into the semi-finals, in the battle for the prestigious Ficker Cup – a 2015/16 World Match Race Tour event.
Races will continue Sunday at noon. The winner and runner-up will compete against 10 of the world’s top ranked match racing skippers, in the Congressional Cup, which runs from May 13 to 17.
Since 1929 LBYC has been one of the premier boating institutions in the United States. Founders of the Congressional Cup in 1965, the club pioneered on-the-water umpiring in 1988, and is renowned for its world-class race organization and hospitality. LBYC and the associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for match racing; which further guarantees an even racing platform, and thrilling competition.
Chris Steele, 11-2
Dustin Durant, 10-3
Peter Holz, 7-6
Dave Hood, 6-7
Christophe Killian, 6-7
Charles Lalumiere, 6-7
Chris Poole, 4-9
David Storrs, 2-11