The stage is set for the kick-off of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), with the start of the 51st Congressional Cup regatta on 13th May, in the waters off Long Beach, California.
Twelve skippers from nine nations have converged on Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), all with the same goal: to win the prestigious 51-year-old Congressional Cup, and set the pace for the season ahead.
Current ISAF Match Racing World Champion and two-time Congressional Cup winner Ian Williams, GBR (ISAF No.1 ranked) is back, eager to topple defending champion Taylor Canfield, ISV (ISAF No.2). Returning skippers include Eric Monnin, SUI (ISAF No.4); Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN (ISAF No.9); Keith Swinton, AUS (ISAF No.10), Phil Robertson, NZL (ISAF No.13), Przemeyslaw ‘Tara’ Tarnaki, POL (ISAF No.26), Dustin Durant USA (ISAF No.84) and Scott Dickson, LBYC (ISAF No.167). Making their Congressional Cup debuts, as skippers, are Bjorn Hansen, SWE (IAF No.5), Chris Steele, NZ (ISAF No.11) and Reuben Corbett, NZL (ISAF No.12).
The teams will compete in five days of match racing, a form of yachting competition that entails a series of one-on-one races, sailed in identically equipped boats: crews even have a weight limit, to guarantee the playing field is absolutely level. And then, the action begins. The competition is close, and aggressive. Collisions are not rare, and on-the-water umpires serve up ‘instant justice’ with the wave of a flag. The Congressional Cup promises plenty of thrilling action, sure to escalate as the week wears on and nerves wear thin, in their quest for victory. The winning skipper will be awarded the Crimson Blazer – an honour and tradition bestowed on the top names in sailing over the decades, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.
LBYC introduced the Congressional Cup in 1965 and it is recognised throughout the world for its excellence in race organisation, venue and hospitality. Congressional Cup is an ISAF Grade WC event – the highest level of sailboat racing – and joins the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour as the season-opener.
Racing will be held 13th – 17th May off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, in the dependable breezes of Long Beach’ outer harbour, beginning at approximately 11:30am daily. First-rate viewing, complimentary seating, live commentary, plus food and beverage vendors guarantee a lively outing for all.
2015/16 World Match Racing Tour
World Championship Event – Congressional Cup Entry List
1.Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar
2.Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team
3.Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing
4.Eric Monnin (SUI) Team SailBox
5.Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing
6.Reuben Corbett (NZL) Corbett Racing
7.Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing
8. Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing
9. Dustin Durrant (USA) Long Beach Match Racing
10.Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
11.Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
12.Przemeyslaw ‘Tara’ Tarnaki (POL) Energa Yacht Racing Team
– WMRT Media