Congressional Cup to race on Duffy Boats
Published on April 1st, 2015
The Long Beach Yacht Club, with its long history of setting match racing trends, will be now be using Duffy electric boats in the 51st running of the Congressional Cup.
Early Congressional Cup regattas were raced in member owned and loaned Cal-40s. These were followed for a short period by Columbia-50s, Ericson-39s and Catalina-38s. In 1990 Catalina Yachts provided 11 identical Catalina-37s specifically designed for match racing.
But the Catalina-37s are tired, and people are tired of sailing them. Rumors of a new racing platform for this year’s regatta have been circulating for months, with the decision to go with Duffy boats made out of logic.
“With the America’s Cup switching to boats that have no relatable value, interest in sailing actual sailboats has dropped significantly,” explained Congressional Cup chairman Bill Durant. “But the only way we can fund a new fleet is user fees, and the Duffy boats are comfortable and practical. The status of these boats as picnic boats or floating cocktail parties fits well with our membership.”
The performance of the Duffy will also work well for the Congressional Cup. “The Duffy’s battery pack will go for only 3.5 hours, averaging just above 5 mph,” said Camille Daniels, event vice chair. “This will reduce the number of umpires we need, which is critical since there is a shortage of qualified volunteers.”
Current champion Ian Williams is supportive of the switch from sailing to motoring. “The America’s Cup has shown us that anything goes as long as it is commercially justifiable. As long as I can make money, I don’t care if we are racing duck boats.”
Shoreside chairman Eric Dickinson explained that the Congressional Cup venue will now move from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier to Alamitos Bay so that spectators can view from the Clubhouse. “This models other sports where the spectators have bar service.”