Australia’s Cole Tapper, sailing with his CYCA Youth Sailing Academy team from Sydney Australia, today secured a crucial spot in the quarter-finals of the 59th Congressional Cup, the opening stage of the 2024 World Match Racing Tour. Joining Tapper in the quarters-finals are USA’s Chris Poole/ Riptide Racing, New Zealand’s Nick Egnot-Johnson/ KNOTS Racing, and Switzerland’s Eric Monnin/ Capvis Swiss Match Racing Team.

21 yr-old Tapper’s participation in the regatta, sailing with a predominantly youth crew, including local sailor Charlotte Carmichael, 15 years old, underscores their notable accomplishment of making it into the quarter-finals, after qualifying into the event from last week’s Ficker Cup.

“We came off the water yesterday and felt like we left a lot of points out there,” comments Tapper. “So to go out there today and put some points on the board when it really mattered was really nice feeling. Our goal has always been to get through to the next stage, and we’ve done that. So now, it’s just to get through this next one.”

This year’s addition of the ‘repechage format’ has injected a fresh energy into the regatta, giving teams a second shot at making their mark. Finishing ninth and tenth in the opening round robin, Monnin and Tapper would not have qualified for quarters. But the clean slate of the repechage stage offered them a chance for redemption, and both teams were determined to maximize the opportunity.

Defending 2023 Congressional Cup champion, USA’s Chris Poole/ Riptide Racing also had an impressive day on the course with six wins and just one loss in the repechage, reminding spectators why his team won the title last year.  With a confirmed position in the top eight, Poole’s Congressional Cup defense is still very much in sight.

“Last year was truly special, but every year the conditions are different,” comments Poole. “We were happy with how we sailed the round-robin, we didn’t look at the repechage stage as a bad thing – we were happy to get seven more races in.”

Today’s forecast called for a building breeze out of the southwest, which is exactly what it did with a fresh 15 knots and gusts in the mid-twenties. Adapting to the changing conditions was key as teams transitioned from genoas to jibs to accommodate the building breeze, which brought a different angle to boat handling and strategy off the line.

Streamed live online, viewers were not disappointed either, as teams fought tooth and nail for their places to advance to the quarter-finals. Close-up onboard camera action and overhead drone footage provided all the excitement and a front-row seat into the action.

Tomorrow’s day four of the regatta will feature the quarter-finalists pairings.

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