Press Release April 7, 2016

52nd Annual Congressional Cupn hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club

APRIL 7, 2016 LONG BEACH, CALIF - - Dismal conditions on the race course here forced lengthy postponements, and ultimately curtailed racing, on the second day of qualifying Round Robins at the 52nd Congressional Cup regatta, the second stage of the 2016 World Match Racing Tour.

Despite rain and light, shifty breeze, PRO Randy Smith was able to sneak in two flights before winds deteriorated to null.

And they were eventful races. Phil Robertson (NZL) tacked on two more wins to his tally, climbing to the top of the leaderboard. Meanwhile a tenacious Chris Steele (NZL) evened the score between his 36 Below Racing team, and Nicolai Sehested (DEN) in a match that saw boat speeds, at best, top three knots; and damp spinnakers hang limp
Following the first postponement – with the course flopped in an attempt to make the best of an uncharacteristic offshore breeze – Ian Williams (GBR) won his first match of the event, over Eric Monnin (SUI); and Sam Gilmour (AUS) beat Johnie Berntsson (SWE) – by one second, “It was very close, we thought the race was over, but at the top mark the wind came up and gave us an opportunity, and it went our way,” said Gilmour. At the last minute they spun their penalty turn, and crossed the line six inches ahead of Berntsson’s Team FLUX. “We were stoked to get the win.”Sehested had entered the day undefeated; but “not invincible,” he implored.

The 26-year-old Dane, ranked 12th in the world, had triumphed over past winners of the CongressionalCup, including World Champion Williams and defender Taylor Canfield (ISV). His 5-0 day was no small feat for someone unfamiliar with the custom built Catalina 37s, and Long Beach conditions, but he credited his success to, “a strong team, who knows how to set up the boat well.”
“B ut sailing at the top level like this, things can go up and down rapidly,” he added. “We don’t feel confident at all.”

On the first leg of his match against Steele, Sehested rounded the top mark eight boat lengths ahead ... but in the fallow breeze, that eight boat lengths equated to 42 seconds. And by the time Sehested was on his second lap, that advantage had grown to nearly eight minutes.
But as Steele rounded the mark astern, he found a lane with a tickle of breeze. That puff carried him to the finish, as Sehested foundered further offshore. Steele, Sehested, and Taylor Canfield (ISV) each finished the day 5-1; after Canfield defeated Bjorn Hansen (SWE), admitting, “we drifted a little faster than them.”

As the zephyrs waned and drizzle fell, PRO Smith called the races, and sailors retreated to the warmth and comfort of the host, Long Beach Yacht Club. Racing will continue through Sunday April 10, in the waters off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, in Long Beach; beginning at roughly 1130AM each day.

With unsettled weather ahead, PRO Smith announced that at the conclusion of the Round Robins, a modified six-team repechage will be raced. If they are unable to pull off more than three flights, the repechage may be eliminated.
Robertson NZL 6
Steele NZL 5
Sehested DEN 5
Canfield ISV 5
Monnin SUI 4
Hansen SWE 4
Berntsson SWE 3
Gilmour AUS 3
Dickson USA 2
Swinton AUS 1
Williams GRB 1
Barkow USA 1
The Congressional Cup features five days of yacht racing at its finest, with the world’s top ranked skippers vying for the esteemed Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to sailing icons like Dennis Conner, Dean Barker, Ken Read, Ted Turner, Taylor Canfield and more. Founded in 1965 and pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring, The Congressional Cup is regarded as the ‘granddaddy of match racing’ and is presently part of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT). This intense round-the-world circuit kicked off last month in Fremantle, Australia, and concludes in July in Marstrand, Sweden; where one lucky sailor will earn a sizeable purse and bragging rights – as the number one skipper at the pinnacle of the sailing game.

The Congressional Cup was initiated by Long Beach Yacht Club, one of the premier boating institutions in the United States, since 1929. Renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, it utilizes the talents and energy of more than 300 member volunteers to host this world renowned event each year. Racing is held in a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina keelboats, designed and maintained specifically for this event.

View Congressional Cup racing at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, located at 15 39th Place in Long Beach, CA. Parking and facilitates are available.

Follow the action online at; via Twitter @LBYCConCup;; and Instagram #concup. For more information on WMRT please visit

Gold Level Sponsor
Porsche Cars North America, Circle Porsche Long Beach
Spinnaker Sponsors
Farmers & Merchants Bank, Union Bank, Stella Artois Beer, Friedmans Appliance Kitchen Bath & Beds, KitchenAid, JennAir, Thermadore, Bosch, Fisher & Paykel, DCS, Port of Long Beach, Newmeyer and Dillion Attorneys at Law, Team Campbell Logistics, LBYC Jr Sailing Program, Time Warner Cable, Gladstones Restaurant
General Sponsors
Gaylord Sportswear, PCS Group, Primary Color, Seven Angels Winery, Gelson's Markets, Mt Gay Rum, Café La Strada, Citywide Escrow, Club 100, World's Finest Chocolate, Catalina Yachts, OluKai Footwear, Travel host Magazine, Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sea Bags
Betsy Crowfoot
Congressional Cup 2016 Press Officer

Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
Email: or
Christine Delabre
Congressional Cup Comms Co-Chair
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
mobile 562-754-0999
Email or
Rick Roberts
Waterfront Director

Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
Office 562-598-9401
Mobile 310-367-9079