Peter Holmberg has dished out defeat more than any other crew here at Long Beach to win the Congressional Cup to win his third crimson blazer in four years

The announcement last week that Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing America’s Cup syndicate will challenge through the Golden Gate Yacht Club seems to have given Peter Holmberg a massive boost. With rumours of Oracle’s splits and departures now fading in club bars the world over, Holmberg has delivered optimism to the Oracle Racing camp, just 60 miles north of Los Angeles, in Ventura.

Holmberg, 40, opted to face Kenny Read in the semifinal of this 37th Congressional Cup, leaving four-time winner Rod Davies facing the might of Bertrand Pacé’s Team New Zealand. Holmberg had sailed with Read as tactician onboard Stars & Stripes, knew his style well and beat him twice to face Pacé, who also won twice, in the final.

In 15kn, the Catalina 37s leapt into life and it was Pacé who struck first in a nail-biting race to win by two seconds. Holmberg got back on terms in the second race, winning by a comparatively comfortable eight seconds and setting up a deciding race.

The start was a joust as both boats galloped towards each other and circled but in the intensity of the action, Pacé misjudged his separation and spun his stern into Holmberg’s boat. The judges ruled against him and Holmberg won the start. His lead was never clear-cut as Pacé tried to harry him into error but Holmberg sailed cleanly to the finish ahead of Pacé, yet to complete his penalty turn.