The world’s top match racing skippers will return to Long Beach, Calif. April 18 to 22, 2023 for the 58th Congressional Cup regatta – presented by Long Beach Yacht Club, and a founding event on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour.
Reigning 2022 Congressional Cup Champion Ian Williams (GBR) will return to defend his title and clinch the crown as the winningest skipper in Congressional Cup history.
But it won’t be without challenge! Rivals include the world’s number-one ranked match racing skipper Eric Monnin (SUI): back after a 2022 ‘babymoon’ hiatus. A perennial Congressional Cup favourite, in 2021 Monnin captured his first podium finish, and is poised to continue his ascent.
Eric Monnin (SUI) and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) – Congressional Cup – photo © Sharon Green
Also climbing the Congressional Cup ladder is Chris Poole (USA). Poole finished second in the 2022 WMRT championship, after a third-place finish in the Spring 2022 Congressional Cup – edging out past champion (2009) Johnie Berntsson (SWE), who is still eager to add another Crimson Blazer to his wardrobe.
Congressional Cup 2022 – photo © Ian Roman / WMRT
The list goes on! The roster includes Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) who was recently crowned 2022 World Sailing Match Racing World Champion and is ranked number three in the world; plus Harry Price (AUS), Jeppe Borch (DEN) and hometown favorite David Hood (USA) – all veterans of Congressional Cup racing.
Congressional Cup © Betsy Senescu
Rounding out the Congressional Cup lineup will be the top two finishers in the April 13 to 15 Ficker Cup regatta. A Grade Two WMRT event in its own right, the Ficker Cup also serves as a qualifier for the Congressional Cup. The 2023 field is fiery, and competition promises to be thrilling when racing begins April 18.
Congressional Cup is recognized as the ‘grandfather’ of modern world-class match racing. Founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965, the event set the standard for top-level match racing worldwide, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring in a spectator-friendly venue.
After a practice day April 17, 2023, racing will commence April 18 off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier at roughly 11:30 am each day. Five days of racing will see the sailors compete in a double-round robin format that gives competitors twice the chance to familiarize with the boats and conditions, and sharpen their skills. Famed for turning the leader board upside down, the 10-boat double-round robin format promises spirited contests as teams pair off and battle round the course: a delight to racers and spectators alike.
Matches are held directly off the pier where spectators can enjoy live commentary and camaraderie from roughly 11:30am to 5:00pm. After three days of round-robins the leaders will advance into semi-finals and petit finals, culminating with the final matches Saturday April 22, where the winner of the Congressional Cup will receive the coveted Crimson Blazer. The Crimson Blazer is yacht racing’s equivalent to the Masters Tournament Green Jacket: a symbol of victory in one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world, and a gateway to the America’s Cup.
Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com or @CongressionalCup on Facebook.
For complete information on the WMRT go to www.wmrt.com
by Betsy Senescu