Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

The Congressional Cup - 50th anniversary

by Rich Roberts on 7 Apr 2014
Tommy Pickard leads way to his win in Race one Rich Roberts
No one in Sunday's Heritage Regatta fleet was more excited about it than 60-year-old Dennis Durgan, who won the Long Beach Yacht Club's Congressional Cup classic in 1979 sailing a Cal 40, in 1980 with a Catalina 38, and this event for former Congressional Cup winners on a Catalina 37.

'It was a thrill and an honor to be invited back to sail,' he said.

Not that he hadn't sailed one of the sturdy sloops that have been a staple since Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts donated them to LBYC in 1990.

'I helped to design the deck layout,' Durgan said.

He may have had another edge, as well: a crew of accomplished current match racers, including tactician Phil Robertson, the No. four-ranked skipper in the world who will take the helm of a Cat 37 in Stage One of the 50th Congressional Cup Monday and Tuesday, intent on grabbing one of four tickets to Stage Two Wednesday through Sunday.


Others on the boat were Jimmy Williamson and Garth Ellinham of New Zealand, Nick Hutton of the United Kingdom and Mustafa Altuner and Pete Hambrick of Long Beach.

They finished fourth among six boats in the first of three races on the Long Beach outer harbor, following Tommy Pickard, 79, of Newport Harbor YC around a two-lap windward-leeward course set before spectators on the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Then Durgan and the gang won the last two races---first a 48-second win in the second race by sailing hard left as everyone else went to the right.

'There was just more pressure on that side,' Robertson said.

But they still had to overtake Skip Allan of Los Angeles YC, who was only two points behind at the time. Allan led the first two legs of the last race before Durgan slipped by on the long off-wind run back to the finish line at LBYC inside Alamitos Bay.

'It a good way to start the week,' said Robertson, who figures to be around through Sunday.

Allan, 69, who won in 1968, wasn't too disappointed, noting, 'It was fun seeing all the guys. We had two good races, and I hadn't sailed the Cat 37s before not much feel on the helm but a big rudder.'

Scott Allan (no relation) of Newport Harbor YC finished fifth overall. He won the third Congressional Cup in 1967 after the late Gerry Driscoll won the first two. He's 67 now.

'When I won I was 20,' he said, 'maybe the youngest ever.'


As the week continues, six invited teams will compete in two days of match racing, starting Monday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 11:30. Competitors are Robertson (Number four), Australia's Keith Swinton (Number six) and Americans Christopher Poole (No. 27) from Oyster Bay, N.Y., LBYC members Dustin Durant (No. 37) and Scott Dickson (No. 135)---plus two-time winner, Dave Perry (No. 126), from Pequot YC, Conn.

The Stage One winner will receive the Ficker Cup trophy, which honors 1974 Congressional Cup winner Bill Ficker, who also skippered the 1970 America's Cup winner Intrepid.

Wednesday, the top four teams will advance to Stage Two, joining five previous Congressional Cup winners and the world's new Number one ranked match racing competitor, 25-year-old Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands, shooting for his own Crimson Blazer---the traditional prize. Two-time winner Ian Williams of the UK (Number two) returns along with defending champion Simone Ferrarese (No. 16) of Italy, plus Mathieu Richard of France (Number five); Johnie Berntsson of Sweden (No. 14); and Francesco Bruni (No. 102) of Italy.

These 10 teams, with crews of five, will compete in a double round-robin of match racing Wednesday through Saturday. The top four will go on to duel in championship semifinals and finals Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Contenders will rotate through boats through the week.


Spectators enjoy incomparable viewing of the races from Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Admission is free, with paid parking at the base of the pier. Seating, concessions and comfort stations are available.

Follow Congressional Cup on Facebook or Twitter for daily weather conditions and approximate start times: 11:00-11:30 a.m. Or, view live streaming video on the website, and listen to the play-by-play on VHF Channel 20.

The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing, introducing on-the-water umpiring in the early 1990s, plus a high level of organization with a unique volunteer force of more than 300 LBYC members. Each competing crew is assigned a boat hostess and housing team, who deliver the outstanding local hospitality characteristic of Congressional Cup for half a century, alongside world-class yacht racing.

Long Beach Yacht Club has been one of the nation’s premiere boating institutions since its founding in 1929, located at 6201 E. Appian Way in Long Beach, Calif.


Heritage Regatta results:

Race one ---1. Tommy Pickard, Long Beach YC; 2. Scott Perry, U.S. Naval Academy; 3. Skip Allan, Los Angeles YC; 4. Dennis Durgan, Newport Harbor YC; 5. Scott Allan, Newport Harbor YC; 6. Dave Perry, Yale Corinthian YC.

Race two---Durgan, Scott Perry, Scott Allan, Skip Allan, Dave Perry, Pickard.

Race three---Durgan, Skip Allan, Dave Perry, Scott Allan, Pickard, Scott Perry.

Final scores---Durgan, 6 points; Skip Allan, 9; Scott Perry, 10; Pickard, 12; Scott Allan, 12; Dave Perry, 14.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad/Oracle Supplierupffront 660x82

Related Articles

Clipper Race – Constant trimming and little sleep in the North Sea
There is little opportunity for tactical moves and the timings of tacks are crucial if teams want to make vital gains. After a downwind start with spinnakers trimmed in light airs against the tide off Den Helder on the Dutch coast yesterday, the fleet has been match racing across the North Sea towards the Thames Estuary.
Posted today at 12:28 pm
Edgartown Race Week - Overall report
Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. This is the third leg of the east coast IRC summer series. Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. The three TP52’s had hard fought battles as usual.
Posted today at 6:35 am
Conch Republic Cup - More than just a race to Cuba
When relations between U.S. and Cuba were restored in 2015, Conch Republic Cup was resurrected after a 13-year hiatus. When diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were restored in 2015, the Conch Republic Cup was resurrected after a forced 13-year hiatus.
Posted today at 6:02 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Lone bullets for the Brits
Despite three more inshore races being held on day five France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.
Posted today at 2:10 am
Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour
Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Yesterday the boat took it first sail on Sydney Harbour in preparation for this weekend's start of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race
Posted on 28 Jul
Extreme Sailing Series– Oman Air sneak early lead despite bump on nose
Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today, with the narrow river, passing traffic, high walls, shifty light winds and strong currents challenging the fleet on the opening day
Posted on 28 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing top of the pops
Quantum Racing stand on the threshold of their third regatta win of the season after sailing to their fourth win today. The Bay of Palma lived up to its one way traffic reputation for most of the time. The risk-reward equation for those pressing for the pin end launch was high. But significantly both of today’s race winners – Quantum Racing and Bronenosec– favoured the lower risk mid line starts where they had a better chance of coming away from the gun at maximum speed by staying clear of the jousting and jostling
Posted on 28 Jul
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted on 28 Jul
Oman Air quick to master light airs on Day 1 of Extreme Sailing Series
Last year’s wild and gusty winds gave way to light simmering airs but the Oman Sail was quick to master the conditions. The compact River Elbe race course, bordered on all sides by cargo containers and all the handling equipment associated with one of the busiest ports in the world, was expected to be tricky for the GC32 fleet even though the race area had been expanded.
Posted on 28 Jul
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted on 28 Jul