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Thrilling lineup for 59th Annual Congressional Cup hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club

by Congressional Cup Media 10 Jan 11:06 PST April 24-28, 2024
Congressional Cup © Ian Roman / WMRT

The 2024 Congressional Cup promises action and excitement when Long Beach Yacht Club hosts the 59th edition April 24 to 28, 2024.

Defending champion Chris Poole (USA) will lead the fiery line-up of competitors which also includes four-time Congressional Cup winner Gavin Brady (USA) who returns after a dozen-year hiatus.

"The Congressional Cup is the grandfather of match racing and brings world class sailing talent to Long Beach Yacht Club each year," said Tony Mansour, 2024 Congressional Cup Chair. "This year we literally have all of the highest ranked skippers in the world flying into beautiful Long Beach, Calif. to compete for the distinct honor of the Crimson Blazer."

The roster also includes top ten ranked match racing skippers such as 2009 Congressional Cup winner Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Jeppe Borch (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI), Mati Sepp (EST) and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) plus Dave Hood (USA). Two final contenders will advance from the Ficker Cup Regatta held the prior week, April 19 to 21.

Over five spirited days of racing teams will compete in a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina keelboats which guarantee an even platform and thrilling action. 'Strategy and skill' is the name of the game as the crews pair off in a double-round robin format and battle round the course. It's a delight to racers and spectators alike who can watch the action directly off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

LBYC introduced the Congressional Cup in 1965, innovating the game of match racing and pioneering on-the-water umpiring. When the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) was launched in 2000, Congressional Cup became a premier, founding event. "We are delighted to continue our successful and long-term partnership with the Long Beach Yacht Club and are looking forward to the 59th Congressional Cup in April," announced James Pleasance, Executive Director, WMRT.

"As a founding event of the WMRT since 2000, the Congressional Cup has really become a firm fixture on the international match racing calendar. It is certainly an event that every aspiring match racing champion wants to win, and add their name to the impressive list of past Congressional Cup winners."

Defending 2023 champion Poole noted, "The Congressional Cup is one of the most difficult events to get into and even more difficult to win. The who's who of yacht racing have all competed for a Crimson Blazer and a chance to put their name on the Congressional Cup. That is why I've worked so hard to get here, to compete against the best on a level playing field."

Poole first hit the Long Beach race course in 2013 and steadily ascended the leader board, finishing the 2023 event undefeated in every match. "My approach to sailing and match racing was to never think I couldn't be as good as my sailing heroes," added Poole. "I have always believed I could be one of the best sailors in the world if I keep working on improvement. This is a sport that rewards those with a certain mental focus and self-criticism to know they can always be better than the day before."

Congressional Cup commences with an April 23 practice day and dinner to introduce the skippers and crews. Five days of racing follow, with nightly press conferences and social events at host LBYC. Competition takes place off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy live commentary for free. Plus, the event will be live streamed starting Friday April 26.

LBYC is renowned for its outstanding hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of more than 300 member volunteers each year to run this world-class event. Since 1965 the world's top ranked skippers have come here to compete for the esteemed Congressional Cup and the Crimson Blazer, which is yacht racing's equivalent to the Masters Tournament Green Jacket: a symbol of victory in one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world, and a gateway to the America's Cup. For more information on Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com; go to wmrt.com for details on the Tour.

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