LONG BEACH, CA APRIL 16, 2022 – – Jeppe Borch (DEN) and Team Borch Racing have won the Ficker Cup regatta, in a big upset over defending champion Emil Kjaer (DEN) Blue Sails Racing in the final. Peter Holz’s (USA) Windy City Racing took third place and Dave Perry (USA) fourth, in this Grade 2 World Match Racing Tour WS qualifying event organized by Long Beach Yacht Club.
Both Borch and Kjaer will advance to the Congress Cup regatta next week, joining a group of top-tier international foes in the battle for the prestigious Congress Cup trophy and Crimson Blazer.
Kjaer had dominated the Ficker Cup round-robin series, with only one loss, to Borch, in the final match. But Borch had also come out on top and finished the round robin 10-4.
Danish duelists are no strangers: Borch hails from the Roskilde Sailing Club and Kjaer from the Royal Danish Yacht Club in Copenhagen, less than an hour apart. The teams have been friendly training partners for years and were frequently seen huddled around the same breakfast table at LBYC this week.
Kjaer had won the 2021 Ficker Cup and qualified for the Congress Cup, finishing mid-fleet. But for Borch it remained elusive. “The Congressional Cup has been one of our all-time goals, for many years, and if Ficker is how we get there, then we’re here to do that.”
Borch admitted that the competition was formidable. “This is the first time I’ve been here for myself and the guys on the ship. So we were expecting a steep learning curve, compared to some of the other teams who have been here a few times and have a lot more hours driving the boat. But our team has been together for some time and we know each other very well. That helps when we get on a new boat and figure out how to get good boat speed.”
Paired against Perry in the semis, he noted: “Dave Perry is fast, especially in light wind, and we haven’t found the speed in light wind yet: so we needed to keep him downwind at the start and stay on it.” on top of him for the entire race.”
But the light air would not be a problem today. Although rain threatened early Saturday morning, skies cleared and the wind picked up.
Chief Race Official Randy Beers and his Race Committee had started the semi-finals on Friday afternoon; with Borch beating Perry and Kjaer beating Holz. But rising winds in the late afternoon called off the remaining semi-final races until today; when Kjaer and Borch quickly dispatched their rivals.
By the Petit Finals stage, for third and fourth place, a solid breeze had come in from the southwest. Perry favored the right side of the field and extended on Holz to win the opener. But it was Holz who went right on the second flight, after a spirited start with racing master Perry. Once again, getting it right paid off, this time to the benefit of Holz, who crossed the finish line with Perry just two boatlengths behind. It all came down to one last sudden death match. Problems at the downwind gate left Perry behind, and Holz extended his lead to win the match and take third place in the 2022 Ficker Cup.
Meanwhile, Kjaer and Borch had traded places in the final: Kjaer took the first match with flying colors, after Borch stalled at the top mark; and Borch rebounding to take the second game.
The teams seemed smart and well matched, identical Danish flags fluttering from their backstays in a stiff breeze. The trophy would go to the first team to score three points, so the race continued as the wind picked up and scored further to the right. In the third match, a tactical error put Kjaer at the wrong windward mark and he abandoned that race.
PRO Beers asked the teams to change the jibs. A full-blast west wind swept through the Congressional Cup racetrack; the flat water now strewn with chop and whitecaps. After another exciting pre-start, the teams moved down the track, Kjaer covering Borch at every turn. Borch was only two boatlengths astern at the top mark, when Kjaer rounded and lost a sheet. Borch took his chance to escape, to win the final match and Ficker Cup honours.
At the awards show at LBYC, the late Bill Ficker’s daughter, Deon Macdonald, presented the esteemed Ficker Cup trophy to the team, while Congressional Cup President Lisa Meier handed out invitations to both Borch and Kjaer. .
Receiving the accolades for his third place finish, Holz thanked Perry, who has coached his team and several of the other national teams, and his team. In addition to the third prize, Holz has a prize waiting for him in Chicago: next week he will marry his girlfriend Kelsey.
The Congress Cup is scheduled for April 19-23. Borch and Kjaer will join an all-star lineup that includes five-time winner and defending champion Taylor Canfield (USA); Ian Williams (GBR) four times winner; the 2009 champion, Johnnie Berntsson; (Sweden) Harry Price (Australia); Chris Poole (USA); Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL);
Pearson Potts (USA); and Dave Hood (United States).
The Congress Cup is one of the most important regatta events in the world. A select Grade 1 event, it is also a flagship of the World Match Racing Tour and is organized by LBYC.
Races are held at the Congressional Cup Stadium, a designated racetrack next to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Spectators are invited to watch the action at 11:30 am daily. For complete details on the Congressional Cup, visit www.thecongressionalcup.com
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LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB
Established in 1929, the Long Beach Yacht Club is recognized as a leading club in the international yachting community for its commitment to racing excellence and innovation in race management. The Congressional Cup, the club’s flagship event, now in its 57th year, is the premier racing regatta in the United States and is considered the Gateway to the Copa América. In addition to hosting numerous local, national and international yachting events, Club member families enjoy a year-round calendar of social, yachting and youth activities at their beautiful clubhouse on the shores of Alamitos Bay.
WORLD RACING TOUR
Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of racing around the world and is the longest-running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is given ‘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 more than $23 million in prize money to sailors, helping to contribute to the career paths of many of today’s professional sailors. wmrt.com