LONG BEACH, CALIF 29 March 2017 - - Grab your lawn chair and cooler and come on down to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier today through Sunday April 2, for the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta!
Storms that dumped record rains on California damaged the pier, initially threatening to deter the hundreds of spectators who come to experience this world-class match racing extravaganza, each year. But the pier is safe and open to pedestrians, announced Chairman Joe Seibert, and set to provide ‘old style’ viewing of Congressional Cup 2017.
Congressional Cup is one of the longest-running match race regattas in North America, and the second stop on the World Match Racing Tour. Twelve of the world’s top ranked teams race, two at a time, in a series of spirited round robins; with the top point winners advancing to semi-finals and finals.
Since 1994 the races have been held inside the Long Beach breakwater, adjacent the Belmont Pier. From this vantage point spectators easily observed from the pier or vessels anchored nearby. It wasn’t unusual for fans to gather at pier’s end to cheer on the racers, tossing teddy bears and other good luck tokens to their favorite teams. Over time LBYC expanded the pier platform to include bleachers, pop-up tents and sponsor booths, commentators, VIP announcers and more. This carnival-like atmosphere has lured an audience of thousands: hard-core racers wanting to learn more about the thrilling art of match racing; plus novices and landlubbers eager for an entertaining day out.
This year, the City’s temporary ban on event permits has limited the yacht club’s plans – but not the racing, nor the determination of fans. An undaunted army of Do-It-Yourself spectators is expected to watch the races ‘old style’ – bringing lawn chairs, umbrellas, sodas and sandwiches. The outer wings are open to the public, while the central patio in front of Buoy’s café is restricted to LBYC members and guests. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and there will be live commentary on the pier, plus a scoreboard for keeping track of the action. Races will be held through Sunday April 2 beginning at 11:30AM daily.
The Belmont Pier opened in 1967, replacing the original wooden pier built in 1915, and renovated in 1951. Over 1600 feet long, it has easy access for the disabled, restrooms, lighting and convenient parking.
For more information on Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com; go to www.wmrt.com for details on the Tour.