2024 World Match Racing Tour season kicks off in Long Beach

Long Beach, CA (17 April, 2024) – The 2024 World Match Racing Tour kicks off this week in Long Beach, California with 17 teams and over 100 of the world’s top match racing sailors competing across back-to-back events The Ficker Cup Regatta (18-21 April) followed by the 59th edition of The Congressional Cup. Both events are hosted by the prestigious Long Beach Yacht Club, this year celebrating its 95th Anniversary.

Starting Friday 19 April, eight teams from five countries will compete at the 3-day Ficker Cup Regatta finishing Sunday 21 April. The Ficker Cup line-up includes three female skippers, Nicole Breault (USA, Vela Racing), Megan Thomson (NZL, 2.0 Racing) and Celia Willison (NZL, Edge Women’s Match). Joining the entries is also Australia’s Cole Tapper representing the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy from Sydney. Tapper finished second at the 2023 Youth Match Racing World Championship, hosted by his club in Sydney.

The top three placed teams from the Ficker Cup, a World Tour level event of the World Match Racing, will qualify to compete in The 59th Congressional Cup from 24-28 April.

The oldest continuously-held sailing match race regatta in the world, The Congressional Cup is a founding world championship level event of the World Match Racing Tour which features some of sailing’s most esteemed names as past champions and recipients of the famous Crimson Blazer including Dennis Conner (USA), Ted Turner (USA), Harold Cudmore (GBR), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Chris Dickson (NZL), Terry Hutchinson (USA), Chris Law (GBR), Gavin Brady (NZL), Dean Barker (NZL), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Ken Read (USA), Ed Baird (USA).

This year’s Congressional Cup Regatta will feature an increased field of twelve teams, following an unprecedented demand by match racing teams round the world. The 2024 roster includes defending champion Chris Poole, USA (Riptide Racing), five-time Congressional Cup winner Ian Williams (GBR, Team Gladstone’s Long Beach), 2009 Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE, Berntsson Sailing Team), Eric Monnin (SUI, Capvis Swiss Match Racing), Jeppe Borch (DEN, Borch Racing), Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL, Knots Racing), Rocco Attili (ITA, RBYS) and Dave Hood (USA,DH3 Racing).

Returning to the event after 12-years is also four-time Congressional Cup winner Gavin Brady, USA (True Blue Racing). Returning to the World Match Racing Tour last year, Brady narrowly missed out on the 2023 Match Racing World Championship title in Shenzhen, China after being defeated by GBR’s Ian Williams in the final.

“It will be a very special week for me being back at the Long Beach Yacht Club and racing in the Congressional Cup” said Brady. “My match racing started in 1996 at the Ficker Cup and Congressional Cup, I won my first Congressional Cup before one of my crew was even born!”

“We are delighted to have been able to increase the number of teams for this year’s Congressional Cup,” added 2024 Congressional Cup Chairman Tony Mansour. “Sailing, and specifically match racing, has enjoyed tremendous growth post-COVID and we have a unique opportunity to expand our line-up for 2024. Long Beach Yacht Club members and the entire world are in for some incredible racing amongst the greatest sailors of our time.”

With the top three skippers from eight teams at the Ficker Cup assured of their place at the Congressional Cup, competition will be fierce to make the cut. As an advantage, the qualifying teams will have valuable time on the Catalina 37 race boats before joining the Congressional Cup.

Five spirited days of Congressional Cup racing will commence 24 April, with nightly press conferences and social events at host LBYC. Competition takes place off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier where spectators can enjoy live commentary for free. The event also will be live streamed starting Friday April 26.

For more information visit thecongressionalcup.com. For news updates from World Match Racing Tour, visit wmrt.com 

WATCH Live coverage of the Congressional Cup from Friday 26th April to Sunday 28th April via thecongressionalcup.com

2024 Ficker Cup Skippers:

  1. Scotty Dickson, USA
  2. Dave Hood, USA
  3. Megan Thompson, NZL
  4. Cole Tapper, AUS
  5. Nicole Breault, USA
  6. Peter Wickwire, CAN
  7. Celia Willison, NZL
  8. Aurelien Pierroz, FRA

2024 Congressional Cup Skippers:

  1. Chris Poole (35, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) / Riptide RacingWorld No. 1 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Joachim Aschenbrenner, Bernardo Freitas, Mal Parker, Luke Payne, Harry West
  2. Johnie Berntsson (51, Stenungsund, Sweden)/ Berntsson Sailing TeamWorld No. 3 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Filip Karlsson, Herman Andersson, Fredrik Laangström, Erik Malmberg, Jespre Stålheim
  3. Eric Monnin (48, Immensee, Switzerland)/ Capvis Swiss Match RacingWorld No. 2 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Simon Brügger, Marc Monnin, Julien Falxa, Ute Monnin-Wagner, Mathieü Renault
  4. Jeppe Borch (26, Copenhagen, Denmark)/ Borch RacingWorld No. 4 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Thor Malthe Andersen, Mathias Rossing, Gustav Wantzin, August de la Cour, Sebastien Pieters
  5. Nick Egnot-Johnson (25, Auckland, New Zealand)/ KNOTS RacingWorld No. 8 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Sam Barnett, Zak Merton, Alastair Gifford, Taylor Balogh
  6. Ian Williams (46, Lymington, England)/ Gladstone’s Long BeachWorld No. 11 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Richard Sydenham, Gerry Mitchell, Ricky McGarvie, Ted Hackney, Oisin Mclelland
  7. Gavin Brady (50, Auckland, New Zealand)/ True Blue Racing USAWorld No. 13 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Chris Cowan, Harry Hall, Ryan Houston, Chris Larson, Joshua Wijohn
  8. Rocco Attili (27, Rome, Italy)/ RBYSWorld No. 7 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Alberto Corneli, Andres Guerra, Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti, Luc Camilli Meletani, Gianluca Perasole, Ludovico Mori
  9. Dave Hood (Long Beach, USA)/ DH3 RacingWorld No. 37 Open Match Race Rankings
    Crew: Nick Blackman, Chris Main, Chris Steele, Steve Natvig, Will Tiller
    Plus the top three skippers from the 2024 Ficker Cup, 19-21 April

ABOUT LONG BEACH YACHT CLUB 
Established in 1929, Long Beach Yacht Club is recognized as a leading organization in the international yachting community for its commitment to excellence in yacht racing and innovation in race management. In addition to hosting the Congressional Cup and numerous other local, national and international yachting events, the Club’s member families enjoy a year-round calendar of social, yachting and junior activities at its beautiful clubhouse on the shore of Alamitos Bay.
 

ABOUT 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. Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD24million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com

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