Long Beach, CA (24 April, 2024) – Long Beach turned it on for the opening day of the 59th Congressional Cup hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. Denmark’s Jeppe Borch leads the 12-team international lineup after Day One with an impressive six wins and one loss, signaling a promising start to his pursuit of the coveted Crimson Blazer.

Reflecting on the day, Borch commented, “It’s hard to complain when you’re leading the pack on the first day. Most of the races were pretty close, and they really could have gone either way. My crew are doing a great job keeping us out of trouble.”

Led by Principal Race Officer Wendy Corzine, racing got underway on time in textbook Long Beach conditions with a 12-15 knot southwesterly breeze, which set the stage for a day of fierce competition. Eight flights were completed, bar one match in flight eight, giving teams a solid platform to set their place amongst the fleet.

Defending champion Chris Poole (USA) Riptide Racing leads Scotty Dickson (USA) in a tense prestart. Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT

Defending Congressional Cup champion Chris Poole (USA) and his Riptide Racing remained undefeated in last year’s regatta and began this year the same. That all changed on Poole’s sixth match against New Zealand’s Egnot-Johnson. With a penalty, Poole carried Egnot-Johnson off the course all the way to the beach before clearing his penalty and gybing for the finish. It was neck and neck until just before the line when Poole received another penalty as Egnot-Johnson crossed the finish line ahead.

“It’s funny when you get that far off the course in a luffing battle to the finish,” says Egnot-Johnson, remembering the battle, “the repair boat and change over boat became the most instrumental point of the race. Maybe a little bit lucky, maybe a little in the right spot at the right time, but it’s good to get a win off Chris here at the Congressional Cup.”

Such intensity characterized the entire day of racing. Competing in the Congressional Cup means no easy races. The impressive lineup has teams fighting for every inch and attempting to perfect their pre-starts and boat handling around the course, as there was no room for error.

Dave Hood (USA) with crew Nick Blackman, Chris Main, Chris Steele, Steve Natvig, Will Tiller. Photo: Ian Roman/WMRT

Local Long Beach regular Dave Hood and his DH3 Racing had a notable day on the water, holding their ground against the world’s top match racers. Hood took a win off of Ian Williams (GBR), Eric Monning (SUI), Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), and Rocco Attili (ITA).

“We had a great day on the water. We’ve been training hard for this, and the boys have been sailing really well. The competition was amazing, we felt like we were in a lot of them. A lot of good racing,” says Hood.

“I think sometimes we all know that boat handling is the foundation, next boat speed, and then tactics. What we don’t realize is the artistry that is invovled in sailing. Trying to kill speed and have speed at the right time….it’s an art,” comments Hood on the racing.

A close encounter pre-start. Photo: Ian Roman/ WMRT

With an incredible showing of match racing skill on the course, it’s safe to say the battle for the Crimson Blazer has officially begun!

After the first round-robin is completed, the second stage is a Repechage, where the bottom eight teams will get a second chance to make it to the Quarter-Finals. The four highest-scoring skippers will proceed straight to the third stage – Knock-out Quarter-Final.

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

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

2024 Congressional Cup Skippers:

Chris Poole (35, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA) / Riptide Racing
World No. 1 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Joachim Aschenbrenner, Bernardo Freitas, Mal Parker, Luke Payne, Harry West

Johnie Berntsson (51, Stenungsund, Sweden)/ Berntsson Sailing Team
World No. 3 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Filip Karlsson, Herman Andersson, Fredrik Laangström, Erik Malmberg, Jespre Stålheim

Eric Monnin (48, Immensee, Switzerland)/ Capvis Swiss Match Racing
World No. 2 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Simon Brügger, Maxime Mesnil, Julien Falxa, Ute Monnin-Wagner, Mathieü Renault, Jean-Claude Monnin

Jeppe Borch (26, Copenhagen, Denmark)/ Borch Racing
World No. 4 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Thor Malthe Andersen, Mathias Rossing, Gustav Wantzin, August de la Cour, Sebastien Pieters

Nick Egnot-Johnson (25, Auckland, New Zealand)/ KNOTS Racing
World No. 8 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Sam Barnett, Zak Merton, Alastair Gifford, Taylor Balogh, Jorden Van Rooijen

Ian Williams (46, Lymington, England)/ Gladstone’s Long Beach
World No. 11 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Richard Sydenham, Gerry Mitchell, Ricky McGarvie, Ted Hackney, Oisin Mcclelland

Gavin Brady (50, Auckland, New Zealand)/ True Blue Racing USA
World No. 13 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Chris Cowan, Harry Hall, Ryan Houston, Chris Larson, Joshua Wijohn

Rocco Attili (27, Rome, Italy)/ RBYS
World No. 7 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Alberto Corneli, Andres Guerra, Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti, Luca Camilli, Gianluca Perasole, Ludovico Mori

Dave Hood (Long Beach, USA)/ DH3 Racing
World No. 37 Open Match Race Rankings
Crew: Nick Blackman, Chris Main, Chris Steele, Steve Natvig, Will Tiller

Scotty Dickson (53, Long Beach, USA) Dickson Racing Team
Crew: Erik Berzins, Garrett Brown, Steve Flam, Zack Hanna, Greg Dair

Megan Thomson (25, NZL)/ 2.0 Racing
Crew: Charlotte Porter, Josi Andres, Bastian Sorensen, Sebastian Olsen, Cormac Murphy

Cole Tapper (21, AUS)/ CYCA Youth Sailing Academy
Crew: Jordan Reece, George Richardson, Hamish Vass, Charlotte Carmichael, Max Brennan, Nathan Gulliksen

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.

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