Jan 27 2020 LONG BEACH, CA – Reigning Congressional Cup champion Ian Williams (GBR) will return to the course to defend his title, when Long Beach Yacht Club hosts the 56th Congressional Cup regatta April 28 to May 3 2020.
A quadruple winner of the Crimson Blazer (2011, 2012, 2017 and 2019) Williams is tied with Gavin Brady, Taylor Canfield, Rod Davis and Peter Holmberg with four wins each. If Williams can pull off victory in 2020, it will make him the winningest skipper in the 56-year history of this prestigious event.
But competition is expected to be fierce as he squares off against nine of the leading match racing skippers in the world, including past Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and last year’s runner-up, Scott Dickson (USA).
Also returning to the field are Eric Monnin (SUI), Harry Price (AUS], Nicklas Dackhammar (SWE), plus Torvar Mirsky (AUS) with his second Congressional Cup appearance after a hiatus of nearly 10 years.
Making his Congressional Cup debut is Jordan Stevenson (NZL), who earned his spot in the lineup as victor of the USA Grand Slam series; accruing the most points in that four-part circuit made up of the Chicago Match Cup, Detroit Cup, the Oakcliff International, and Thompson Cup. Two final berths will be filled by the top two finishers in the Ficker Cup regatta April 24 to 26.
The Congressional Cup will be the kick-off event for the 2020 World Match Racing Tour but is best known as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing. Founded in 1965 by Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC), Congressional Cup organizers revolutionized the game of match racing with on-the-water umpiring, maintaining a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops to guarantee an even platform and exciting competition – and a thrill for spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Racing is held directly off the pier at 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. where spectators can view this world class competition for free, beginning around 11AM each day.
“We are looking forward to another great Congressional Cup with top-notch competitors and race action,” announced Chair Cheri Busch, “and are happy to welcome the World Match Racing Tour as part of Congressional Cup again.” Busch has been involved as a volunteer in the Congressional Cup organization for nearly a decade and is part of a dynamic duo leading the event this year; with husband John Busch serving as the Principal Race Officer (PRO). “It’s exciting to be involved in such a prestigious, world-renowned regatta, and something the members of Long Beach Yacht Club, look forward to each year.”
Racing will commence Wednesday April 29 and run through Sunday May 3: format will include a Double Round Robin followed by semi-finals, petite finals, and the finals on Sunday. In between, racers will be fêted and fed at LBYC. A unique aspect of Congressional Cup is that it is hosted by LBYC members, 300-strong, who volunteer in every aspect of race management, organization and hospitality. It is like no other premier yachting event in the world, and a favorite of competitors.
For news updates on WMRT, follow at wmrt.com and on Facebook (@worldmatchracingtour), Instagram (@worldmatchracingtour) and Twitter (@worldmrt)
2020 World Match Racing Tour Schedule
- The Ficker Cup, Long Beach CA, USA, 24-26 April
- THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP® REGATTA*, Long Beach, California, USA 29 April – 3 May
- Porto Montenegro Match Race, Montenegro, 8-10 May
- ARGO GOLD CUP*, Bermuda 11-16 May
- Slovenia Match Race Cup, Portorož, Slovenija, 14-17 May
- NJK Open Spring Cup, Finland, 22-24 May
- Match Race Germany, Langenargen, Germany 27 May – 1 June
- Świnoujście Match Race – Polish Match Tour, Poland, 18-21 June
- GKSS MATCH CUP SWEDEN*, 1-5 July
- Internationaux de France de Match Racing, France, 23-26 July
- Baltic Match Race, Estonia, 29 July – 1 August
- AIRCALIN Match Race, Noumea, New Caledonia, 8-11 Aug
- Chicago Grand Slam, Chicago, USA 14-16 Aug
- International Match Race for the Detroit Cup, USA, 19-23 Aug
- Oakcliff International, Oyster Bay, USA, 27-31 Aug
- Thompson Cup, Oyster Bay, USA, 2-5 Sept
- DBS Marina Bay Cup, Singapore, 17-20 Sept
- WMRT FINAL* – TBA Nov/Dec
*WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS
About Long Beach Yacht Club
Established in 1929, Long Beach Yacht Club is recognized as a leading club in the international yachting community for its commitment to excellence in yacht racing and innovation in race management. Congressional Cup, the club’s signature event, now in its 56th year, is the preeminent match racing regatta in the United States and considered the Gateway to the America’s Cup. In December 2018, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron accepted Long Beach Yacht Club’s challenge for the 36th America’s Cup, to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021, where the Club will be represented by Stars + Stripes Team USA. In addition to hosting numerous 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 the 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 World Tour represents a series of independently organised and officially sanctioned match racing events. Teams accumulate points from each of the events towards an overall WMRT global ranking, the top twelve teams from which compete in the WMRT Championship Finals at the end of the season.
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. Previous Champions include Bertrand Pace (FRA), Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Jesper Radich (DEN), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Ian Williams (GBR), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS).
The WMRT is a match racing competition with racing taking place in identically supplied racing yachts which change for each event and which place a firm focus on teamwork, strategy and skill. Racing takes place close to shore to create stadium-style viewing for spectators.
Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors. www.wmrt.com