Stacked field for 2021 Congressional Cup
Published on May 27th, 2021
After being postponed since May 2021 due to the pandemic, Congressional Cup racing will return this year to Long Beach Yacht Club on September 15 to 19 when the world’s leading match racing skippers compete for this venerated trophy and the prized Crimson Blazer.
The 56th edition of the Congressional Cup joins the World Match Racing Tour in which the 2021 world championship season hosts a 17-event schedule across 11 countries.
“Our lineup is set, with all six World Match Racing Tour Card holders and two wild cards!” exclaimed 2021 Congressional Cup Chair Chris Macy. “That’s a testament to the regatta and the prestige that comes with winning the Congressional Cup: the sailing is competitive and hospitality unmatched! That all six Tour Card holders made it a priority to come here illustrates what a marquis event we have been putting on, for 56 years.”
This year’s Congressional Cup roster includes: defending champion Ian Williams (GBR), Eric Monnin (SUI), Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), Maxime Mesnil (FRA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Taylor Canfield (USA), Phil Robertson (NZL), and Scott Dickson (USA). Two final skippers will advance from LBYC’s Ficker Cup qualifying event, slated for September 10 to 12.
The Congressional Cup was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, making 2019 champion Williams the longest reigning title-holder in history. But the six-time World Champion is also a quadruple winner of the Crimson Blazer – 2011, 2012, 2017, and 2019 – and tied with Taylor Canfield, Gavin Brady, Rod Davis, and Peter Holmberg with four wins each.
If Williams can clinch victory in 2021, he’ll also become the winningest skipper in the 56-year history of this prestigious event.
Canfield – with Congressional Cup victories in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 – also has his eye on the title, as he vies with formidable competition to unseat Williams. Monnin is the world’s top-ranked match racing skipper; Egnot-Johnson is ranked number three; and Mesnil number four.
Robertson, a two-time World Champion, took second in the 2015 Congressional Cup, and wild card pick Berntsson was the 2009 champion and a three-time runner up. A second wild card selection – based on past Congressional Cup performance – is LBYC member Dickson. A steadfast contender, he’s podiumed twice including second place in 2019, and his expertise with the platform and venue are not to be underestimated.
“Every one of these competitors has been here before and made it clear they want to return: we must be doing something right,” Macy added. “I’m thrilled to see Phil Robertson return after four years: he’s both a fantastic competitor and personality. And Johnie Berntsson is not only a great sailor, but a favorite among our club members. Plus there’s the fiery rivalry between Taylor Canfield and Ian Williams … it is stacking up to be an extraordinary event!”
Racing commences September 15 with grand prix dueling in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. The race format includes a Double Round Robin followed by semi-finals and petite finals, with finals on September 19.
The Congressional Cup is a World Championship Event in the 2021 World Match Racing Tour, but is best known as the ‘grandfather of match racing.’ Founded in 1965 by Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), organizers revolutionized the game of match racing with on-the-water umpiring, and by providing a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops to ensure the competition is a test of skill and strategy.
For further information: www.thecongressionalcup.com
WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR
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 WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion.
Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR).
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