Harken Derm

Predicting the Future

Published on April 13th, 2016

The most prominent match racing event in the USA is the Congressional Cup. For 52 years, this California classic has defined the international match racing game and has set the standard for shore-side support. But as commercial influences increase the prize purses, and the move from monohulls to multihulls changes the game, where will that leave the Congressional Cup?

It obviously has a long history, but the sport continues to evolve. The Congressional Cup prize money has climbed, but not at the pace of other events. Quality sailors help define the event, but some of the teams must be bleeding money to attend. Does Congressional Cup need to change to remain relevant?

2016 winner Taylor Canfield responds…


I’m sure I can speak on behalf of most sailors that have been to the Congressional Cup when I say it is a world class event. The racing is great in evenly matched boats, and the hospitality and environment of host Long Beach Yacht Club makes this event a blast for the sailors – win or lose.

Yes, times are definitely changing and I have heard there is still debate on whether the Congressional Cup should switch to multihulls or stay in the Catalina 37s that they have been using since 1990. But the Congressional Cup has long history of attracting the top sailors and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

The prize money is not great compared to many other events, especially since each team has a crew of six sailors. However, I definitely think that being a part of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) has allowed for sailors to look past the small prize purse so as to still get to sail at the top level.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if competitors continue to attend the Congressional Cup regardless of prize money, WMRT status, and boats sailed. It’s just that good.

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