Brits to defend Congressional Cup title
Published on January 28th, 2020
Reigning Congressional Cup champion Ian Williams (GBR) will return to the course to defend his title, when Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) hosts the 56th Congressional Cup regatta April 28 to May 3, 2020.
The Congressional Cup will be the kick-off event for the 2020 World Match Racing Tour with its fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops racing off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier where spectators can view this world class competition for free each day.
A quadruple winner of the Crimson Blazer (2011, 2012, 2017, and 2019), Williams is tied with Gavin Brady, Taylor Canfield, Rod Davis, and Peter Holmberg with four wins each. If Williams can pull off victory in 2020, it will make him the winningest skipper in this prestigious event.
But competition is expected to be fierce as he squares off against nine of the leading match racing skippers in the world, including past Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and last year’s runner-up, Scott Dickson (USA).
Also returning to the field are Eric Monnin (SUI), Harry Price (AUS), Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), plus Torvar Mirsky (AUS) with his second Congressional Cup appearance after a hiatus of nearly 10 years.
Making his Congressional Cup debut is Jordan Stevenson (NZL), who earned his spot in the lineup as victor of the 2019 USA Grand Slam Series; accruing the most points in that four-part circuit made up of the Chicago Match Cup, Detroit Cup, Oakcliff International, and Thompson Cup.
Two final berths will be filled by the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup regatta held at LBYC on April 24 to 26.
Missing from the field is the LBYC America’s Cup team, Stars+Stripes USA, led by Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield, which finished third in 2019. While the duo has yet to reveal a boat or crew, the America’s Cup rules require all teams to compete in the America’s Cup World Series with the first event to be April 23-26 in Cagliari, Sardinia.
“We are happy to welcome the World Match Racing Tour as part of Congressional Cup again,” said Chair Cheri Busch, who has been involved as an event volunteer for nearly a decade. She will be joined this year by husband John Busch who will be serving as the Principal Race Officer.
The format will include a Double Round Robin followed by semi-finals, petite finals, and the finals.
Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The World Tour represents a series of independently organized and officially sanctioned match racing events. Teams accumulate points from each of the events towards an overall WMRT global ranking, the top twelve teams from which compete in the WMRT Championship Finals at the end of the season.
2020 World Match Racing Tour Schedule
1. April 24-26 – Ficker Cup, Long Beach CA, USA
2. April 29–May 3 – Congressional Cup® Regatta, Long Beach, California, USA*
3. May 8-10 – Porto Montenegro Match Race, Montenegro
4. May 11-16 – Argo Gold Cup, Bermuda*
5. May 14-17 – Slovenia Match Race Cup, Portorož, Slovenija
6. May 22-24 – NJK Open Spring Cup, Finland
7. May 27-June 1 – Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany
8. June 18-21 – Świnoujście Match Race – Polish Match Tour, Poland
9. July 1-5 – GKSS Match Cup Sweden*
10. July 23-26 – Internationaux de France de Match Racing, France
11. July 29-August 1 – Baltic Match Race, Estonia
12. Aug 8-11 – AIRCALIN Match Race, Noumea, New Caledonia
13. Aug 14-16 – Chicago Grand Slam, Chicago, USA
14. Aug 19-23 – International Match Race for the Detroit Cup, USA
15. Aug 27-31 – Oakcliff International, Oyster Bay, USA
16. Sept 2-5 – Thompson Cup, Oyster Bay, USA
17. Sept 17-20 – DBS Marina Bay Cup, Singapore
18. WMRT FINAL – TBA Nov/Dec
* WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Event
The WMRT takes place in identically supplied racing yachts which change for each event and has been awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing. The winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous Champions include Bertrand Pace (FRA), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jesper Radich (DEN), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Ian Williams (GBR), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Torvar Mirsky (AUS).
Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com
Source: Congressional Cup, WMRT