Canada-USA racing: Match Race Experience and Tactics Win the 26th Canada’s Cup

Canada's Cup 2022

Sept 8, 2022

by Allan Megarry

Defiant once again shut out the Americans   All photos by Sharon Green, Ultimate Sailing

US Team Zing’s increased boat speed and improved crew work were no match for the extraordinary crew work of Team Defiant and the 40 years of match race experience Terry McLaughlin has gained through racing the America’s Cup, Knickerbocker Cup, Congressional Cup, Bermuda Gold Cup and three previous Canada’s Cups.  For Zing, match race tactics were prevalent in the pre-start with a more conservative approach for the balance of the racecourse. 

The 26th Canada’s Cup finished on Saturday, September 3rd after three days of racing hosted by Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC).  Team Defiant, skippered by Terry McLaughlin was victorious once again, winning the Canada’s Cup with seven straight race wins.

With the Canadian win, the score stands at 13 wins a piece for each country after 126 years of (mostly) friendly competition.  The win for McLaughlin is his 4th Canada’s Cup win (2001, 2003, 2021, 2022) and sets an impressive skipper record that will be difficult to beat. 

2022 Canadas Cup 2 400Zing, skipped by Commodore Adam Burns of the Youngtown Yacht Club (YYC), showed flashes of brilliance winning three of seven race starts and leading (or even) in five of the seven races.  The time Zing spent training in Florida last winter paid off as the boat speed differential from 2022 to 2021 was essentially negligible for this years’ match. 

Defiant skipper Terry McLaughlin showed his match racing know-how

In this writer’s humble opinion, Team Commodore Adam Burns, while an experienced and accomplished fleet racer, missed a few tactical match racing opportunities that could have positively impacted Zing’s race results. Also, Defiant’s confidence in its boat and sail handling stood out.  Its two spinnaker hoists in prestart with both boats OCS turned two bad starts into winners.

The 2022 format included the best of 13 races, which was an increase over the best of 11 races in 2021.  In addition, the course legs were shorter with a 40-minute target time frame for each race.  As a result, the races were tight with time differences less than 50 seconds (or 100 meters) per race.  The six legs (.5 to .75 nautical miles), put an emphasis on crew work so both teams would be more evenly matched.

Congratulations to Team Defiant; Paul L’Heureux, Sandy Andrews, Lance Fraser, Ingrid Merry, Andrew McTavish, John Millen, Chantal Hearst, Andrew Kenny and Scott Collinson (Skipper Terry McLaughlin).

2022 Canadas CupZing showed some flashes of brilliance

Thank you to Team Zing; Robert Hesse, Chris Doyle, Scott Walter, John Goller, Shannon Brown, Bridget DeDario, Dominic Pacillo and Charles Kegler (Skipper Commodore Adam Burns)

Warrior Sailing Cup

The Canada’s Cup and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club were very proud to share the spotlight with the inaugural Warrior Sailing Cup, which hosted six teams from the Netherlands, Australia, USA (2 teams), and Canada (2 teams).  The event involved one day of practice, two days of racing in Sonars and a day of spectating the last two races of the Canada’s Cup.  The event gave all 18 veterans who participated, an opportunity for great competition and front row seat to the IC37s.

2022 Canadas Cup

The timing for the next Canada’s Cup competition is uncertain. Plans are underway for the next event which will involve consultation with event organizers, sponsors and interested competitors.  As this unique and historical match racing event is now evenly matched at a tie between Canada and the USA (13-13), it is anyone’s guess as to who will be the next challenger or winner of the 27th Canada’s Cup!

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