March 18, 2017 LONG BEACH, CA - -In 10 days, world class match racing comes to Long Beach, California, with the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta! This World Match Racing Tour championship event brings the top sailing talent from around the globe to the waters of Long Beach, Calif., March 28 to April 2, 2017.
Congressional Cup is the ‘granddaddy of match racing’ – an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, and pioneer in on-the-water umpiring since 1988. With a reputation for warm hospitality and hot action, an invitation to the Congressional Cup is one of the most sought-after in the world of sailing. And this year’s line-up is impressive: including defending champion Taylor Canfield, ISV (World Sailing ranked no. 1) – with a trio of back-to-back Congressional Cup wins; reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson, NZL (no. 9); past winners Ian Williams, GBR (no. 4), and Johnie Berntsson, SWE (no. 56); plus Nicolai Sehested, DEN (no. 37) – who nearly toppled Canfield in last year’s finals. Also Sam Gilmour, AUS (no. 2); Harry Price, AUS, (no. 3); Chris Steele, NZL (no. 6); Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN (no. 12); Eric Monnin, SUI (no. 13); and two yet-unnamed contestants, to be determined in next week’s Ficker Cup Grade Two qualifier.
BELMONT PIER OPEN!
A succession of winter storms partially closed Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and curtailed the elaborate and festive viewing platform which has been the standard for the last decade. However, Congressional Cup 2017 Chairman Joe Seibert announced, “The pier is open to spectators – providing the best viewing of the race course! So bring your chair, and come on down!”
Racing will be “business as usual” Seibert added, with a single round robin, knock-out round, and quarter finals racing commencing Wednesday March 29, and culminating with semi-finals, finals and a fleet race Sunday April 2. Races begin at roughly 1130AM daily, and can be viewed off the pier at 39th Place in Long Beach, or visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for live streaming action and commentary.
The Ficker Cup was established by Long Beach Yacht Club to honor Bill Ficker, who recently passed at the age of 89. An architect by trade, Ficker was a renowned yachtsman. He won the Star Class World Championship in 1958, and helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup. Four years later, he won the Congressional Cup.
This year Ficker Cup will be held March 24 through 26, also in the vicinity of Belmont Pier. A WMRT World Tour Grade Two event, it is considered the gateway to the Congressional Cup, as the top two finalists advance to that event.
LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB
The Congressional Cup is presented by Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 Appian Way; one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club boasts an active volunteer force of more than 300 members who host every aspect of this week-long event. LBYC and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event, which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.
The winning skipper of the Congressional Cup is awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to the top names in sailing over the years, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.
For more information on Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com; go to www.wmrt.com for details on the Tour.
2017 SKIPPER, NATION – WORLD SAILING RANKING
Taylor Canfield, ISV – 1
Sam Gilmour, AUS – 2
Harry Price, AUS – 3
Ian Williams, GBR – 4
Chris Steele, NZL – 6
Phil Robertso,n NZL – 9
Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN – 12
Eric Monnin, SUI – 13
Nicolai Sehested, DEN – 37
Johnie Berntsson, SWE – 56
Plus the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup