Congressional Cup returns to its roots
Published on January 24th, 2018
The Congressional Cup, recognized as the ‘granddaddy’ of modern world-class match racing, will present the 54th edition on April 18-22 in Long Beach, CA. Breaking away from the World Match Racing Tour, the 2018 event returns to the exciting 10-boat format favored by spectators and competitors alike.
Founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965, it has set the standard for top-level match racing worldwide, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring, in a spectator-friendly venue.
Five of the world’s top 10 ranked match racing skippers will compete this year, including three-time Congressional Cup winner Taylor Canfield (ISV), Harry Price (AUS), Sam Gilmour (AUS) and Chris Steele (NZL). Swiss sailor Eric Monnin will also return, plus Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) and hometown favorite Scott Dickson.
Reigning Congressional Cup champion Ian Williams (GBR) will be back, to defend his 2017 title. In last year’s edition, Williams went from rags to riches: scrapping his way to victory after a shocking last-place finish in 2016.
The 10-boat, double round-robin format will give competitors twice the chance to familiarize with the boats and conditions and sharpen their skills, making for more rousing competition, which delights racers and fans alike.
The LBYC 2018 Congressional Cup is raising the bar yet again, with the introduction of multiple channel worldwide live streaming coverage on the major Social Media platforms and broadcast television. Improved media coverage is expected to benefit the teams, sponsors and virtual spectators, as the eyes of the world turn to Long Beach this spring.
Racing will commence Wednesday April 18 off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier immediately after the Ficker Cup regatta – which determines the final two contestants in Congressional Cup.
With matches held directly off the pier, spectators can enjoy live commentary and camaraderie every day from 11:30 to 5:00. Roughly three days of double round-robins will be followed by semi-finals and petit finals, culminating with the final matches Sunday April 22: where the winner of the Congressional Cup will receive the coveted Crimson Blazer.
“What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing,” explained Congressional Cup Chairman Eric Dickinson. “The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world and a gateway to the America’s Cup; and the members of Long Beach Yacht Club are proud to present this premier event for the 54th year.”
The Congressional Cup is hosted by LBYC, renowned for its outstanding hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of more than 300 member volunteers to host this Grade WC competition. Since 1965 the world’s top ranked skippers have come here to vie for the esteemed Congressional Cup and the Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to sailing icons like Dennis Conner, Dean Barker, Ken Read, Ted Turner, Taylor Canfield and more. Races are sailed in a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina monohulls designed specifically for the event, which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.