Press Release February 18, 2015

TOP MATCH RACING SKIPPERS WEIGH IN ON CONGRESSIONAL CUP/ALPARI WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR ALLIANCE

20 November 2014 (Long Beach, CA) - Top tier match racing skippers around the globe are weighing in on the news that the prestigious Congressional Cup event has joined the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT). The venerable Congressional Cup – which in 2014 celebrated its golden 50 year anniversary – will kick off its WMRT alliance with a May 13-17, 2015 series in Long Beach, Calif., organized by Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC).

Taylor Canfield, reigning champion of both the Congressional Cup and AWMRT, said, “As one of the most prestigious events and trophies in sailing, I am excited to see the Congressional Cup join the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. It is one of my personal favorites, and a spectacle as an event itself. With the best hospitality there is, and the driving force of the proud supportive membership, this event will add great value to the WMRT.” ISAF top-ranked Canfield, 25, of the USVI, is expected to return to Long Beach in 2015 to defend his title.

Great Britain’s Ian Williams, Team GAC Pindar, and ranked #2 by ISAF, concurred. “The Congressional Cup is a very prestigious event in its own right, but being part of the Tour and counting towards the World Championship Title will give the event added importance. Team GAC Pindar will be doing our utmost to win our third Crimson Blazer!”

A four-time WMRT champion, Williams, 37, logged back-to-back victories in the 2011 and 2012 Congressional Cups, to receive the customary and coveted Crimson Blazer – an honour bestowed to the preeminent names in sailing over the years: Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, Ed Baird, and more. Since its inception, the Congressional Cup has been recognized as the gateway to the top echelon of competitive sailing, for up and coming sailors.

Keith Swinton – who finished fourth in his Congressional Cup debut earlier this year – added, “We competed in our first Congressional Cup this year and it really is one of the leading match racing events in the world.” The 28-year-old Australian is currently ranked #9, and eager to return for another try at the Crimson Blazer. “It's great news that the Congressional Cup is joining the World Match Racing Tour. The event deserves to be on the Tour. We can't wait to be back in Long Beach next year!”

“The whole objective in partnering with the World Match Racing Tour is to keep our 50 year tradition intact – but enhance it with the excitement the Tour brings,” said Congressional Cup 2015 Chairman Bill Durant. In the months leading up to the union, Durant said queried skippers were unanimous in their remarks. “They said, ‘Don’t change anything!’ And that’s our plan. Having our event sanctioned by the Tour will help the skippers get their sponsors behind it. But partnering with WMRT is not going to change the tradition and tenor of Congressional Cup. It’s important to all of us to maintain, and not jeopardize that.”

In making the announcement, James Pleasance, Executive Director of WMRT added, “I am delighted to welcome the Congressional Cup to the World Match Racing Tour family. It is one of the most coveted trophies to win in match racing, and a fantastic addition to the World Championship, particularly as a new Tour event in the United States.”

The Congressional Cup is sailed in identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; in the fair and steady breezes of Long Beach’s outer harbor. The line-up will include 12 teams: eight WMRT Card Skippers, the winner of the 2014 US Grand Slam of Match Racing, two qualifying entries from the Ficker Cup, and a LBYC representative. Each team – consisting of skipper and five crew – will race two-by-two; completing a series of double round robins over the course of the week. The top four teams advance to semi-finals and finals, while the remaining square off on a fleet race around the harbor.

The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965; introduced on-the-water umpiring in 1988; and is a model for modern day match racing. But in addition to top level competition, a signature of the event is a vital volunteer force of more than 300 LBYC members who organize every aspect of the race and provide unparalleled hospitality. LBYC members host visiting sailors and race officials from around the globe, in their own homes; they volunteer race organization and management, meals, transportation and more; providing personalized attention and warm hospitality at every turn.

For more information on Congressional Cup please visit www.thecongressionalcup.com. For more information on the World Match Racing Tour please visit www.wmrt.com.