Press Release May 13, 2015

51ST CONGRESSIONAL CUP IS ‘ANYBODY’S GAME’ AFTER FIRST DAY OF RACING IN 2015/16 WORLD MATCH RACING TOUR OPENER

May 13, 2015 LONG BEACH, CA - - If anyone thought this year’s Congressional Cup racing might be predictable: guess again! Today’s opener – Day One of the 51st annual Congressional Cup, and the start of the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour – was anybody’s game.

Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams tumbled to Chris Steele – who just Sunday qualified for the Congressional Cup, by winning the Ficker Cup. Young Joachim Aschenbrenner ran top-five ranked Eric Monnin up and over the line early, to take the start (and race); while defending champion and ISAF no. 2 ranked skipper Taylor Canfield bowed to New Zealand’s Reuben Corbett. As commentator Steve Steiner announced, "It’s wild to see Taylor in the back: that’s not something you’re used to!" But it was leaderboard limbo, with nearly everyone getting a piece of the action, on this first of five days of racing in the breezy outer harbor Long Beach, Calif.

The results were particularly exciting as the field includes several Congressional Cup virgins – a position often perceived to be a disadvantage: racing a new venue, on unfamiliar boats.

"It’s obviously hard to come and race in boats we’ve never sailed in before," said Bjorn Hansen, of Sweden. "We’re looking forward to increasing our level during the week and squeezing through to the semi-finals. And if we are able to do that; anything can happen in a semi-finals series."

"On the other hand I know its 12 really good teams here, so it is going to be tough," he added.

Hansen, Corbett and Aschenbrenner are competing in their first Congressional Cup, while Steele races for the first time as a skipper.

The Congressional Cup is hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and is the season opener for the 2015/16 World Match Racing Tour. A total of 12 teams, from nine nations, are vying for the trophy and the iconic Crimson Blazer.

At last night’s ‘Meet the Skipper’ gala, the crowd got a chance to see the true personalities behind the competitors’ ‘game face mug shots’ – and feel some love.

Eric Monnin recalled fond memories of past Congressional Cups; strumming a pink guitar, drinking beer and eating pizza on the dock. Aschenbrenner – fierce on the race course – was nervous and shy about having to make a speech. Swinton announced to the LBYC membership, "Congressional Cup is the highlight of the year for us." And Phil Robertson summed it up, saying, "We love this event because of you guys. The sailing is fun here, but it’s fun everywhere in the world. But not every event is as fun as this."

Conditions were moderate, with breeze in the 6-10 knot range, and partly cloudy skies. The Congressional Cup regatta runs through May 17, 2015 with ideal spectator viewing, and live commentary, from the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

Races began around 11AM each day.

ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP
The Congressional Cup has been an innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing on-the-water umpiring in the 1988 regatta. The event is renowned for its world-class hospitality and organization, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique volunteer force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. The club and associated Long Beach Sailing Foundation maintain a fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition.

The winning skipper of the Congressional Cup is awarded the coveted Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed to the top names in sailing over the years, including Ken Read, Gavin Brady, Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, and more.

Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com for more information.

For up-to-the-minute results go to www.thecongressionalcup.com and click on RESULTS, or see the TWITTER feed on the website.

2015 CONGRESSIONAL CUP SKIPPERS
SKIPPER, NATION - ISAF RANKING
Ian Williams, GBR - 1
Taylor Canfield, ISV - 2
Eric Monnin, SUI - 4
Bjorn Hansen, SWE - 5
Joachim Aschenbrenner, DEN - 9
Keith Swinton, AUS - 10
Chris Steele, NZ - 11
Reuben Corbett, NZL - 12
Phil Robertson, NZL - 13
Przemeyslaw ‘Tara’ Tarnaki, POL - 26
Dustin Durant, USA - 84
Scott Dickson, LBYC - 167
 
The Congressional Cup is hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club and sponsored by …

Pier Sponsor: Friedmans Appliance Kitchen Bath & Beds
Official Beer Sponsor: Stella Artois Beer
Official Wine: Sponsor: Seven Angels Cellars
Race Committee Sponsor: Gelson's Markets
Spinnaker Sponsors: Creative Productions, Farmers and Merchants Bank, Gladstones, LBYC Jr Sailing Program, Newmeyer and Dillion Law Firm, Port of Long Beach, Team Campbell Logistics, Time Warner Cable, Union Bank.
General Sponsors: Ayres Hotel, Brainware, Catalina Yachts, Citywide Escrow, Club 100, Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Gaylord Sportswear, Mount Gay, Primary Color, Queen Beach Printers, Sea Bags, Ullman Sails, Wide Angle Group, World’s Finest Chocolate

Photos available upon request. Contact: ccmedia@lbyc.org
 
Media Contacts:
Betsy Crowfoot
Congressional Cup 2015 Press Officer
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
Mobile 805-729-6850
email betsycrowfoot@gmail.com
Jo Murray
Congressional Cup Comms Co-Chair
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
Mobile 562-310-6829
email jo@lbycsf.org
Rick Roberts
Waterfront Director
Long Beach Yacht Club
6201 E. Appian Way
Long Beach, CA 90803 USA
Office 562-598-9401
Mobile 310-367-9079
email rroberts@lbyc.org