Chris Dickson took his first and only loss at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach yesterday so remains atop the leader board

Chris Dickson took his first and only loss at the Congressional Cup in Long Beach yesterday so remains atop the leader board after the first round robin.

Russell Coutts, making a move expected of a three-time America’s Cup winner, won his first two races before losing to former Team New Zealand understudy and opponent Dean Barker by three seconds – half a boat length.

“The last time I raced against Dean,” Coutts said, “he couldn’t keep his boat afloat” (a reference to TNZ’s near-sinking when Barker was defending against Coutts’ Alinghi team in the 5-0 trashing at Auckland in 2003). “This time it didn’t sink.”

Barker, seated alongside, responded, “[Today’s win] was pretty easy. We were trying to keep it close by slowing down.”

Behind the laughter, the standings showed Dickson at 7-1, following his only loss by 16 seconds to Finland’s Staffan Lindberg. Barker, England’s Chris Law and France’s Mathieu Richard are tied at 6-3, with Coutts at 5-3.

Coutts and Dickson are a race shy because their ninth-round match was called off after Dickson’s Catalina 37 had a broken traveller car that required overnight repair. Whether it will be sailed later may depend on if it matters in the final round robin standings as the event winds down to the last days Friday and Saturday into the championship sail-offs.

Wednesday’s racing was delayed an hour because of light winds and fog, then conditions settled into Long Beach’s celebrated south-westerlies building from 8 to 15 knots through the afternoon.


ROUND 6- Russell Coutts, Aarhus Sejlklub, Denmark, def. Chris Larson, Annapolis YC, 8 seconds; Philippe Presti, Union Nationale pour la Course au Large, France, def. Scott Dickson, Long Beach YC, 18 seconds; Mathieu Richard, APCC-Voile Sportive, France, def. Chris Law, Royal Cape YC, South Africa, 13 seconds; Staffan Lindberg, Aaland Islands YC, Finland, def. Chris Dickson, Golden Gate YC, San Francisco, 16 seconds; Lars Nordbjerg, Skovshoved Sejlklub, Denmark, def. Dean Barker, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, 7 seconds.

ROUND 7- Law d. Larson, 0:07; Lindberg d. S. Dickson, 0:4; Barker d. Presti, 0:10; Coutts d. Richard, 0:18; C. Dickson d. Nordbjerg, 0:19.

ROUND 8- Barker d. Coutts, 0:03; Lindberg d. Richard, 0:06; C. Dickson d. Law, no time; Nordberg d. S. Dickson, 0:22; Presti d. Larson, DNF.

ROUND 9- Nordbjerg d. Larson, 0:17; Richard d. Presti, 0:01; Barker d. Lindberg, 0:11; Law d. S. Dickson, 0:15. (Coutts vs. C. Dickson postponed, because of boat breakdown.)

Standings1. C. Dickson, 7-1; 2. tie among Barker, Law and Richard, 6-3; 5. Coutts, 5-3; 6. Lindberg, 5-4; 7. Nordbjerg, 4-5; 8. Presti, 3-5; 9. S. Dickson, 2-7; 10. Larson, 0-9.