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Eric Monnin earns Congressional Cup Wild Card at Oakcliff International 2017

Eleven teams from eight different countries gathered in Oyster Bay for the 2017 Oakcliff International Grade 2 Match Race Regatta. Among them was Women's Match Race World Champion, Anna Östling and her all-women’s team from Sweden. In addition to Oakcliff regulars like Pearson Potts and Peter Wickwire, there was a surge of European competitors. Marek Stanczyk from Poland and Eric Monnin from Switzerland both advanced to the semifinals against two American teams, Chris Poole and Peter Holz, but it was Monnin who came out on top, while Poole took second, Stanczyk third, and Holz fourth.

Many of the teams came to this event with little to no experience in the Swedish Match 40 so their strategy was to learn the boat as quickly as possible. "It's our absolute first time sailing the Match 40," said Stanczyk on day two, “We lost the first five races but now we are getting used to these boats and we won our last race." Stanczyk used to race professionally on the World Match Race Tour, culminating in 2014 at the Gold Cup in Bermuda, but now he races simply because "it adds value to [his] life."

Anna Östling and her all-women’s team was impressive. "We didn't really know what to expect," she said, "we haven't done these open Grade 2's before. We've been sailing mostly against girls recently." Östling finished the first Round Robin in fourth place and held that position through Round Robin 2, putting her in the quarterfinals against Peter Holz. "Our strategy was just to have fun and enjoy the event," said Annie Wennergren, Östling's bowperson, after tying it up 2-2 with Holz in the quarters. "We are just happy to be here,” she continued, "We came to Oakcliff three years ago for the WIM series so we knew we would be in good hands." Holz eventually defeated her in the fifth and final race in their first-to-three quarterfinal matchup. For someone who just came to have fun they sure made a big splash in the competition! Like many of the international teams, they will spend a few days enjoying Manhattan before heading home; in Östling’s case, they are headed back to Gothenburg for the Swedish Match Race Championships.

With rapidly changing conditions everyday, the competitors had to be responsive and efficient in managing the transitions between modes. "It's been all over the map. We've seen 17-18 knots and we've seen near drifter conditions," said Evan Petley-Jones, main trimmer and tactician on Canadian Peter Wickwire's boat, on day three.

Day four added one more thing: rain, and lot's of it! With shifty and dying winds, Race Committee struggled to move forward with semifinals until a 9-knot Westerly gusting 12 finally filled in. Stanczyk and Monnin had a fierce bout that ended with Monnin on top. Poole and Holz had a heated prestart battle that turned into a split start but it was Poole who advanced to the finals. “I had a pretty good bout with Peter in the sudden death winner-take-all semi-final,” Poole remarked, “He was leading and we were about even in boat speed but we were able to work a few shifts and get by him.”

Stanczyk won two-straight against Holz in the Petite Finals and Monnin won two-straight against Poole in the Finals. “Our teamwork and our maneuvers were really, really good,” said Monnin, “even when I made little mistakes at the prestart I knew we could come back and put the pressure on.”

This is the final stop in the Grand Slam Series, which consists of the Oakcliff Invitational, the Detroit Cup, the Chicago Grand Slam, and is a part of the Match Race Super League. Overall series winner, Harry Price, garnered an invitation to the Congressional Cup. Chairman Dickinson was on site at Oakcliff to congratulate the winners and all competitors. Additionally, he extended a wild card invitation to Eric Monnin for his performance this weekend. The Congressional Cup has been running at the Long Beach Yacht Club for 53 years and is considered the grandfather of modern match racing.

Oakcliff Sailing is an adult and youth training center for athletes who have progressed beyond traditional coaching methods and want to take the next step in their career. We offer trainees a proving ground to develop their skills in the three big veins of professional sailing: the America’s Cup, the Olympics, and around-the-world races. Our goal is to take American sailing back to the highest level world-wide.

Results Oakcliff International 2017:

Eric Monnin

Chris Poole

Marek Stanczyk

Peter Holz

Scott Dickson

Anna Ostling Kjellberg

Will Bouldin

Pearson Potts

Peter Wickwire

Andrey Nikolaev

Sylvain Escurat


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