Long Beach’s Scott Dickson falls in Congressional Cup finals to Great Britain’s Ian Williams
LONG BEACH — The nearly four-decade long wait for a local winner at the Congressional Cup will have to last at least another year longer.
Long Beach’s Scott Dickson fell on Sunday in the finals of North America’s longest-running match-race sailing event to Great Britain’s Ian Williams. It is Williams’ fourth time winning the Congressional Cup and the scarlet blazer that goes to the victor.
Williams is the fifth person ever to win four Congressional Cups.
“We felt under extreme pressure today and that’s just a credit to Scotty and his team,” Williams said after accepting the $20,000 grand prize. “Speaking of pressure, my guys just did an awesome job when they came under pressure and they got the job done.”
Dickson nearly didn’t make it to the championship match. He entered the fourth day of the competition on the outside looking in at the semifinals. A win over New Zealand’s Nick Egnot-Johnson, though, earned Dickson his spot in the semis.
Once in the semifinals, Dickson upset Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson, sending the Long Beach Yacht Club director to the Congressional Cup finals for just the second time in his 19 times entering the race.
But Dickson’s luck ran out on Sunday against Williams, ranked No. 1 in the world and a six-time world champion.
Williams took a quick lead in the best-of-five finals. In the first heat, the Brit went out ahead and never relented. Dickson’s crew struggled to keep its spinnaker out of the water when lowering it after turns, adding weight that prevented any kind of comeback.
In the second heat, Dickson stayed closer as the fans on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier cheered on the local captain. Dickson’s boat stayed within a ship’s length up until the final stretch, when Williams used a strong final push to take the commanding 2-0 lead.
Prior to the third heat, Dickson seemed to have positioned himself well to strike back and make it a competition. Despite the poor starting position, though, Williams finished out the day without dropping a heat, cruising to the 3-0 victory.
The fans cheered both for Williams’ accomplishment as he and his crew popped champagne bottles during the victory lap, and in appreciation of Dickson’s showing.
“I was a little bit surprised, it seemed like today was daylight savings and it was a little shorter than it should have been,” joked Dickson, who received the biggest round of applause at the trophy presentation. “If you told us at the beginning of the week we’d still be sailing on Sunday, we’d take that result any day.”
Dickson did take a moment during his speech to thank his father, Roy, who traveled from New Zealand to see his son compete.
“More than a legend and fantastic sailor, I’m proud to call my dad,” Scott Dickson said of his father, who won the first ever match-race sailing event.
There was a win for another American captain on Sunday, though.
In the petite final, a best-of-three competition for third place, four-time winner Taylor Canfield defeated Berntsson 2-0. Canfield cruised to victory without breaking much a sweat, his crew flexing to the fans on the pier during a victory lap.
“So glad we’re representing this great club,” Canfield said to the Long Beach Yacht Club audience. “So great to see Scotty Dickson on the podium. Long Beach Yacht Club, second and third, that’s obviously an amazing thing for the club.”