Field forming for 2019 Congressional Cup
Published on January 31st, 2019
The 55th edition of the Congressional Cup continues its tradition for premier-level match racing worldwide as the field forms for this Grade 1 competition on April 3 to 7 in Long Beach, CA. Six skippers have been named so far for Long Beach Yacht Club’s five-day event which culminates with the winner receiving the coveted Crimson Blazer.
Three-time Congressional Cup victor Ian Williams (GBR) will return with a bid to recapture the title he last won in 2017. Ranked No. 1 in the world of match racing, Williams is a six-time World Champion and formidable opponent.
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) also comes back with the hopes of repeating his Congressional Cup victory of 2009. Last year he nearly did: scrapping his way through the Ficker Cup qualifier, and making it all the way into the Congressional Cup semi-finals.
Making his Congressional Cup debut is Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) who received a personal invitation from Chair Arleen Tolle and Commodore Camille Daniels at the conclusion of the Grand Slam Series in September, when the 20-year old aced that four-part program of Grade 2 events.
Also new, from the land down under, is Will Boulden of Perth; winner of the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship and ranked No. 9 in the world.
Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), another Congressional Cup greenhorn, is ranked No. 8, and recently captured the World Match Racing Tour’s Regata de Portugal Trophy.
Rounding out the lineup is Scott Dickson (USA), a member and Director at LBYC. Dickson is no stranger to the podium, and is a 13-time winner of the Ficker Cup; a Grade 2 match racing event founded in 1980 to honor legendary America’s Cup yachtsman Bill Ficker. This year marks Dickson’s 19th representing LBYC in Congressional Cup, as he hopes to improve on his personal best of 2nd place, in 1998.
Two more skippers will be named, and joined by two final contestants who will earn their berths in the 2019 Ficker Cup qualifier on March 29-31. All ten teams will compete in a fleet of equally matched Catalina 37 keelboats.
“This my 35th year of participation, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of changes, but one thing that never changes is the dedication and commitment of the members of Long Beach Yacht Club,” said Tolle. “Congressional Cup could not and would not exist if we didn’t have this amazing group of volunteers who enthusiastically support this world-class event.”
Over 300 volunteers contribute to the event, with the Race Committee to be guided by Principal Race Officer Mike Van Dyke, a previous Congressional Cup chair and past commodore of LBYC.
Spectators can enjoy live race action from a vantage point on Long Beach’ Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, with expert commentary and camaraderie, free of charge, April 3 through 7. Matches are held directly off the pier between the hours of 11:30AM and 5:00PM daily.
Live-streaming coverage introduced by LBYC last year will return, with plans for expanded coverage of racing and special features.
UPDATE: Reigning Congressional Cup Champion Taylor Canfield (USA) has announced he will be defending his title in 2019. A four-time victor, Canfield is tied with Gavin Brady and Peter Holmberg for the most titles in the 55-year tradition of the event. Also committing is France’s Maxime Mesnil, who has earned his No. 5 ranking by triumphing in a host of Grade 2, 3 and 4 match racing events. He makes his Congressional Cup debut after competing in Ficker Cup last year. The final two skippers in the Congressional Cup roster will be the winner and runner-up of the Ficker Cup.
Source: Betsy Crowfoot