On this day 24 years ago, Wally Henry ’82 helped win the Congressional Cup, a yearly yacht race held in Long Beach, CA since 1965. Here is the recap of the event from Rich Roberts of the Los Angeles Times.
Last-Minute Crew on Time in British Captain’s Upset Win
A month ago, Britain’s Chris Law didn’t have an invitation to the 30th Congressional Cup. A couple of weeks ago, he didn’t have a crew.
But with the help of a few colonials, Brittania ruled the waves of Long Beach this weekend as Law won 14 of his 18 races to finish two ahead of Rod Davis, the defending champion and four-time winner.
Somehow, while Davis and Marc Pajot brought cores of their America’s Cup teams from Australia and France, respectively, Law collected a crew of four Americans–Wally Henry, John Hufnagel, Rich Matzinger, and Steve Flam–and Gavin Brady of New Zealand.
“I’m sorry to throw it all together and come in and win,” Law said, “but it’s good for the sport. If the America’s Cup can be about that rather than all money and technology, it will be better, too.”
Henry, the bowman who with Hufnagel was on the America3 that won the America’s Cup in 1992, said, “Considering that three of us had never met, this was the best pickup crew I’ve ever been on. The chemistry couldn’t have been any better.”
Davis, an American expatriate ranked second on the Omega World Match Racing circuit, had special praise for Flam, the Long Beach sailor who was Law’s tactician after sailing the circuit with Roy Heiner of the Netherlands for a year and a half.
“Steve Flam gets the man of the series award,” Davis said, intending no slight of Law. “We’ve sailed against Chris a lot, and Chris is stronger with Steve Flam than we’ve seen him before.”
Law entered his last three races Sunday with a one-race lead over San Diego’s Peter Isler and two over Davis and Kevin Mahaney of Bangor, ME. But in the winds fading from 10 to eight knots through the afternoon, all of his rivals sailed themselves out of contention before any showdowns developed.