LONG BEACH, CA 18 September 2021 – Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Eric Monnn (SUI) are safely through to the semi-finals of the 56th Congressional Cup in Long Beach, CA. The battle for the fourth place in the semis will be decided today as the qualifying rounds complete off the Belmont Pier in Long Beach.

Canfield and his Stars+Stripes team leads the line-up as the skipper continues to flaunt the form that earned him his second World Match Racing Champion title in 2020, and four Crimson blazers at the Congressional Cup.   The Crimson Blazer is yacht racing’s equivalent to the The Masters’ green jacket, a sign of joining the legion of celebrated skippers who have donned it before. Dennis Conner, Peter Holmberg, Dean Barker, Harold Cudmore, Chris Dickson, Ted Turner, Bill Ficker, Ken Read, Francesco Bruni … Long Beach Yacht Club members tease that when Simone Ferrarese won his Crimson Blazer in 2013, ‘He was like a little kid on Christmas morning, he was so smitten with winning it. We think he slept in it.’

Emil Kjaer (DEN) leads Eric Monnin (SUI). Photo Ian Roman/WMRT

In yesterday’s racing, in a light breeze that freshened up to 10 knots, penalty flags flew and collisions continued. Infringements of the strict rules of racing – determined by an expert team of on-the-water umpires – come at a hefty price, as a penalized boat is required to do a 360-degree penalty turn; while their opponent slips away.

But all collisions, Monnin pointed out, are not bad. The Swiss competitor, who has long sailed with his brother Marc on his team – along with Julien Falxa, Mathieu Renault, Lukas Gerig, Simon Brugger – has a new crew on traveler and main this year: his wife Ute Wagner. They met on the racecourse in Lake Constance, Austria when they were opposing teams in a match race.   The couple married last month and jokingly say they are honeymooning at the regatta. “I always wanted to come to Long Beach to the Congressional Cup as a honeymoon!” Ute commented.

Eric Monnin (SUI) sailing with his wife Ute Wagner as team member. Photo Ian Roman/WMRT

In truth, winning the Congressional Cup has been a long-standing dream of Monnin’s. He has competed in the event six times in the last decade, yearning to add the Crimson Blazer to his impressive list of accomplishments, which includes current top-ranked match racing skipper in the world. His team has never made the Congressional Cup podium, but poised to enter the semi-finals, Monnin’s chances have never been better.

“We didn’t have so much racing this year, so the challenge has been to get back to doing what we know we can do, as soon as we can, and improve day to day,” said Monnin.

His wins today came at the expense of Jeffrey Petersen (USA) and Emil Kjaer (DEN) who are among a tightly packed posse – which also includes Sam Gilmour (AUS), Chris Poole (USA) and David Wood (USA) – battling for the fourth and final semi-final.

For up-to-the-minute results visit: https://www.matchracingresults.com/2021/congressional-cup/

For details on Congressional Cup go to https://thecongressionalcup.com; visit www.wmrt.com for details on the WMRT.


Cover image by Betsy Senescu


Canfield                   14-2
Berntsson                12-4
Monnin                     10-6
Gilmour                    7.5-8
Petersen                   7-6
Kjaer                        7-9
Poole                       6.5-9
Wood                       6-10
Mesnil                     5-11
Durant                     4-12


Media contact: Betsy (Crowfoot) Senescu
Congressional Cup 2021 Press Officer
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way, Long Beach,
CA 90803 USA
mobile 805-729-6850
email betsycrowfoot@gmail.com



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 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.


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. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). 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