Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

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.

Barz Optics - Melanin LensesZhik ZKG 660x82North Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Meet Clipper 2017-18 Race skipper Wendy Tuck
For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. For Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, one race around the world was never going to be enough. And as a result, she’s set to make history in the Clipper 2017-18 Race as the first Australian skipper to complete the arduous ocean challenge twice.
Posted today at 6:04 am
Round the Rocks kick's off St. Thomas International Regatta
Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in St. Thomas International Regatta. Nearly 60 sleek sailing yachts from the Caribbean, U.S., Canada and Europe will race in the 44th St. Thomas International Regatta. Set for March 24 to 26, this three-day regatta known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ will be prefaced by the second Round the Rocks Race on March 23, which features a circumnavigation of the 19-square-mile neighbouring U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
Posted on 23 Mar
Vendée Globe – A hugely popular event and media success
With 29 skippers setting sail and 10 nations represented, the eighth edition offered a wide range of projects The results show huge increases everywhere: many more people attending the event, unprecedented media coverage and feedback, a record level of international coverage without talking about the very positive race outcome in terms of the rankings.
Posted on 23 Mar
RC44 Championship Tour heads to Lanzarote for final regatta
For 2017 the fleet will return to Europe's southern shores with racing hosted from the new facility, Marina Lanzarote The Calero Marinas have been a regular winter destination for the RC44 fleet over the years having hosted four regattas and three World Championships between 2010 and 2013.
Posted on 23 Mar
A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
One great challenge for Transatlantic Race 2019
Greatest challenge has confirmed the start date for its next edition; and this time every competitor will depart Newport A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.
Posted on 22 Mar
Less than a month to go to 8th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth
To date, 66 teams have signed up for the event, which bodes well for an exceptional vintage Péan will be casting an expert eye over the event that occurs 10-15 April. A seasoned and talented sailor, he boasts one of the most prestigious track records in French sailing, with victories logged in the Solitaire du Figaro in 1983, then the Whitbread (a crewed around-the-world race with stopovers) in 1986.
Posted on 22 Mar
Transat Jaques Vabre – Oman Sail takes on Class 40 challenge
The new campaign is the latest stage of the relationship between Al Hasni, one of Oman's most promising sailors Oman Sail has revealed a new adventure for 2017 as the pioneering national initiative takes on a double-handed Class 40 challenge pairing up mentor and long-term skipper of various Oman Sail projects, Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, with his protégé and Oman Sail’s most successful offshore sailor, Fahad Al Hasni.
Posted on 22 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge – Free expert coaching
A coach can optimise practice time, provide detailed analysis via both stats and video, can examine specific issues If you want to do better out on the race course, you could buy yourself a newer, more competitive boat. Or sail with a better crew. Or could buy some new sails. Or put in some practice. But keelboat crews frequently forget that one of the best value methods is to employ a coach.
Posted on 22 Mar
Vestas 11th Hour Racing launch Volvo Ocean Race campaign
Vestas are returning for a second edition, after launching their 2017-18 campaign in partnership with 11th Hour Racing Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. The team are the fourth to announce for the upcoming edition, which begins on 22 October, and they will use the race to promote a sustainability message around the world.
Posted on 21 Mar