It’s anyone’s game at Congressional Cup

Published on May 13th, 2015

Long Beach, CA (May 13, 2015) – If anyone thought this year’s Congressional Cup racing might be predictable: guess again! Today’s opener, Day One of the 51st annual Congressional Cup, and the start of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour, was anybody’s game.

Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams tumbled to Chris Steele, who just Sunday qualified for the Congressional Cup, by winning the Ficker Cup. Young Joachim Aschenbrenner ran top-five ranked Eric Monnin up and over the line early, to take the start (and race); while defending champion and ISAF no. 2 ranked skipper Taylor Canfield bowed to New Zealand’s Reuben Corbett. At the end of the day, Taylor Canfield sits in first place with 6 wins. Ian Williams follows close behind in second with 5 wins.

As commentator Steve Steiner announced, “It’s wild to see Taylor in the back: that’s not something you’re used to!” But it was leaderboard limbo, with nearly everyone getting a piece of the action, on this first of five days of racing in the breezy outer harbour Long Beach, CA.

The results were particularly exciting as the field includes several Congressional Cup virgins, a position often perceived to be a disadvantage: racing a new venue, on unfamiliar boats. “It’s obviously hard to come and race in boats we’ve never sailed in before,” said Bjorn Hansen, of Sweden.

“We’re looking forward to increasing our level during the week and squeezing through to the semi-finals. And if we are able to do that; anything can happen in a semi-finals series. On the other hand I know its 12 really good teams here, so it is going to be tough”, Hansen added. Hansen and Aschenbrenner are competing in their first Congressional Cup, while Steele races for the first time as a skipper.

The Congressional Cup is hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and is the season opener for the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour. A total of 12 teams, from nine nations, are vying for the trophy and the iconic Crimson Blazer.

Conditions today were moderate, with breeze in the 6-10 knot range, and partly cloudy skies. The Congressional Cup regatta runs through May 17, 2015 with ideal spectator viewing, and live commentary, from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing on-the-water umpiring in the 1988 regatta. The event is renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique volunteer force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.

The winning skipper of the Congressional Cup is awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer , an honor bestowed to the top names in sailing over the years, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.

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Report by Event Media

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