Two days of windy competition has sorted out the bare-knuckle sailors from the polite crowd in the 27th Congressional Cup match-racing event at Long Beach.
The top three in the standings are all from New Zealand--defending champion Chris Dickson and Russell Coutts at 6-0, and three-time winner Rod Davis, an American expatriate, at 5-1.
As the top-seeded sailors, they will compete among themselves today, with sailoffs to determine the champion Saturday.
It has been an education for Jim Brady, the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year from Annapolis, Md., who admitted he was short on match-racing experience coming in.
Still winless after five races Thursday, he was controlling Davis in the sixth when Davis outcharged him into the last downwind mark, claiming he was clear ahead with rights to round first.
Brady thought the nose of his boat was about five feet ahead of Davis’ stern, giving him rights with an inside overlap and he told Davis so.
“We’re used to fleet sailing in maybe a little more gentlemanly sport where, when somebody says he has an overlap, you don’t do it,” Brady said.
Davis said, “I told him he didn’t have an overlap, and if he tried to go in there we’d protest him.”
So at the last moment, Brady turned sharply to go behind Davis and round in second place--in effect, giving up the race. His tactician, Kevin Mahaney, waved a protest flag but the on-the-water judges waved it off, and Davis won by 32 seconds.
Brady said Mahaney was telling him to go for it.
“Had we just gone ahead and rounded the mark, the jury would have green-flagged us and said it was fine. I gave ‘em the easy way out because I was a wimp.”