The stage is set for the kick-off of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour, with the start of the 51st Congressional Cup regatta May 13, in the waters of Long Beach, CA.
Twelve skippers from nine nations have converged on Long Beach Yacht Club, all with the same goal: to win the prestigious 51-year-old Congressional Cup, and set the pace for the season ahead.
Current ISAF Match Racing World Champion and two-time Congressional Cup winner Ian Williams, GBR (ranked no. 1) is back, eager to topple defending champion Taylor Canfield, ISV (no. 2). Returning skippers include Eric Monnin, SUI (no. 4); Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN (no. 9); Keith Swinton, AUS (no. 10), Phil Robertson, NZL (no. 13), Przemeyslaw ‘Tara’ Tarnaki, POL (no. 26), Dustin Durant USA (no. 84) and Scott Dickson, LBYC (no. 167). Making their Congressional Cup debuts, as skippers, are Bjorn Hansen, SWE (no. 5), Chris Steele, NZ (no. 11) and Reuben Corbett, NZL (no. 12).
The teams will compete in five days of match racing, a form of yachting competition that entails a series of one-on-one races, sailed in identically equipped boats: crews have a weight limit, to guarantee the playing field is absolutely level. And then, the action begins. The competition is close, and aggressive. Collisions are not rare, and on-the-water umpires serve up ‘instant justice’ with the wave of a flag.
The Congressional Cup promises plenty of thrilling action, sure to escalate as the week wears on and nerves wear thin, in their quest for victory. The winning skipper will be awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer, an honor and tradition bestowed to the top names in sailing over the decades, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.
LBYC introduced the Congressional Cup in 1965 and it is recognized throughout the world for its excellence in race organization, venue and hospitality. Congressional Cup is a Grade WC event, the highest level of sailboat racing, and joins the esteemed 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour as the season-opener.
Racing will be held May 13 to 17 off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, in the dependable breezes of Long Beach’ outer harbor, beginning at approximately 11:30am daily. First-rate viewing, complimentary seating, live commentary, plus food and beverage vendors guarantee a lively outing for all.