LONG BEACH – Taylor Canfield, the 26-year-old from U.S. Virgin Islands, successfully defended his Congressional Cup title, during the five-day challenge hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. Going into the Challenge, Canfield was ranked number two in the open ISAF rankings. Canfield and his U.S. One team has made their presence known in the U.S. Match Race Circuit and the international match races around the world. In 2010 he was ranked 17th overall, 19th overall in 2011 and seventh overall in 2012. By 2014-15 he had climbed his way up to second overall.
The Log spoke with Canfield a day before the race:
How is the stress level knowing you’re the defending Congressional Cup champ?
We just go into every regatta the same way. This is my fifth Congressional Cup and it’s been ramping up ever since last year’s win we’ve been looking forward to coming back and defending our title but obviously it won’t be an easy task as it is every year because there are a lot of great competitor here. We will fight till the end but we take one race at a time.
Who is on your crew?
Hayden Goodrick on bow; Brian Janney in the pit’; Mike Rehe on trim; Garth Ellingham trimming the main and joiing us new this year is Morgan Trubovich.
Who is your biggest competitor?
Most people would say Ian Williams. We’ve been duking it out of the last couple of years for the number one spot, He is number one in the world right now. We ranked number two and he is number one. In 2013 we won the World Match Racing Tour and in 2014 he won the title so he’s our biggest competitor. There are also new faces at this year’s Congressional Cup so we are looking forward to racing against the younger guys.
At this level no race will be easy.
Do you have a specific strategy?
No specific strategy. We have had a couple months off from match racing so we expect to be a little rusty at first but building throughout the event and take practice days very seriously and get the most out of our one day on the water. Not having sailed Catalina 37s in a full year will be very challenging but we take a lot of good notes from previous years and go back and watch video from the previous year so hopefully we will be able to hop on the boat on practice days and already have a good idea of all of our roles on the boat and the way that we did things last year to make us successful in the competition.
When we win we are happy and while we are winning we are respecting our competitors the whole way through knowing that they can easily be in our position the next day. We like to respect competitors as equals and let the best guy win in that moment in that day.
What advice would you give to sailors hoping to break into the sport?
It’s all about having a good time and working hard. If you want something bad enough then you can always work hard to get to that point and find the right surrounding team. I have a great group of guys I’ve been sailing with for awhile and I can attribute all our success to the whole team. We enjoy sailing with each other and also spending time off the water together.
It’s important thing to find a great group of guys who you can have fun with and have good chemistry with on the boat.
For more information on the Congressional Cup, visit thecongressionalcup.com