Tag Archives: Belmont Pier

California Dreamin’ in Long Beach – Day 1

Dair & Young Debut in 1st and 2nd
The 3-regatta series concludes today November 3rd

Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 2, 2019 —California Dreamin’; indeed! Greg Dair, a former Alamitos Bay Yacht Club coach, competing in his first California Dreamin’ Series event, won six of the day’s seven matches to debut in first place. Long Beach Yacht Club’s Shane Young, the 2017 series champion returned in a big way, also making his 2019 series debut with a 6-1 record. But the loss to Dair dropped him to second via the tie-breaker.

Greg Dair and crew made their California Dreamin’ Series debut today in first place.
Photos by Jeff Demain at www.demainphotography.com

The LBYC event is the last of three regattas that comprise the California Dreamin’ Series. The first event was hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in March. San Diego Yacht Club hosted the second regatta in October. Both of those events were sailed in J22’s. Today’s racing, aboard Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s Catalina 37s, is a World Sailing, Grade 3 event.

Nicole Breault, of StFYC and Christopher Weis, of Del Rey Yacht Club, went into today’s races tied for first place in the Series, both with 100 points. Breault, the series highest-ranked World Sailing competitor (61) won the first event with an all-female crew, while Weis won the second regatta. Today was the first time the two have sailed against each other. Weis, the second highest-rated competitor, at 83rd, took the match.

Competitors earn points at each of the three events based on how they finish. Liz Hjorth, who started the day overall in third place and Marilyn Cassedy are the only two competitors who will have sailed in all three regattas. The overall series winner will be announced at the end of racing tomorrow, along with recognition for the winner of this weekend’s racing.

Breault, said she’s sailed the Catalina 37s annually since 2012, and that each time there is a reacquaintance period involved. But thanks to the practice time yesterday, she’s confident it will not take her core Bella Racing Team crew and three men – honorary Bellas – long to get back up to speed with the boat. “The boats are a handful,” she said, “But I’ve got a really good group here and they work well together. The goal is to get stronger and stronger each race.”

The highly ranked Alexis Gesualdo, (93) also made her series debut; and like Dair and Young, started at the bottom of the series leaderboard with zero points. Representing North Port Yacht Club of Long Island, New York, Gesualdo, and her crew flew in late last night. This morning, she met up with her secret weapon – Scotty Dickson – who will be sailing with her this weekend. Dickson famously led his LBYC crew to second place in this year’s Congressional Cup. This summer he has been coaching Gesualdo and has been a “massive source of information and growth,” she said.

Also on the water tomorrow is Dave Hood, LBYC’s celebrated Staff Commodore. Hood won this leg of the event last year and went on the finish second this year at Butler Cup and the third at Ficker Cup. Both those events are held here and raced in the storied Catalina 37’s. Tomorrow, Hood will be on the water not as a competitor, but as an umpire.

Head Umpire Randy Smith explained that top match racers make excellent umpires, and that umpiring makes competitors better match racers. “It really opens your eyes, provides a 180-degree angle on aspects of racing that you thought you knew,” Smith said.

Racing started late today thanks to a no-wind delay. Light, atypical conditions persisted throughout the day, with boats returning to the docks shortly before dark.

Tomorrow’s first race is scheduled to start at noon off the Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier.

Day 1 Results
1 Greg Dair
2 Shane Young
3 Bruce Stone
4 Christopher Weis
5 Nicole Breault
6 Liz Hjorth
7 Alexis Gesualdo
8 Marilyn Cassedy

Full Results

Cover Photo: California Dreamin’ – 7 competitors from all over the state – and 1 from New York – took to the water off Belmont Memorial Pier today to race the third of three regattas known as the California Dreamin’ series, a World Match Racing Grade 3 event.
Photo by Demain Photograph

WILLIAMS CAPTURES FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL CUP WIN LBYC’S Scott Dickson takes second, over Canfield & Berntsson

LONG BEACH, CALIF. 7 APRIL 2019 — Ian Williams (GBR) and Team GAC Pindar have captured their fourth Congressional Cup win, over Scott Dickson (USA) in final races of the five day series, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, here today. Taylor Canfield (USA) defeated Johnie Berntsson (SWE) in petit finals for third place.

Williams admitted to a slow start at the Cup, which began Wednesday April 3. “We were not really on our game on Day One,” he noted of his sixth place finish. “I haven’t sailed in a monohull since this regatta last year.”

“But it’s always about just being good enough to get through. As long as you get through each round, and build momentum; that’s how match race regattas work. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

After warming up in the California sunshine, Team GAC Pindar began stealthily climbing up the leaderboard, securing a spot in the semi-finals by Day Three. “I’ve got a fantastic team, but we are new together, and hadn’t sailed as a group, so it took a few days to get the team gelling.” Their final 11-match winning streak included swiftly eliminating Canfield in the semis, and striking Dickson out in the finals.

His victory over rival Canfield was particularly sweet.“ Taylor and I have dominated the Congressional Cup since 2011; He’d won four, we’d only won three. So we wanted to catch up.”

His fourth Crimson blazer puts him in an elite league with Canfield, Rod Davis, Gavin Brady and Peter Holmberg. No-one has won more than four … yet.

Williams credited his crew, saying, “Our success has been the focus on the team, getting the guys working together; getting the most out of all the different individuals on the boat, working toward their strengths.” He added, “We have nine and one half children between us, with one on the way. It was all about ‘Dad power’ we think.”

Even as Williams was climbing up the leaderboard, so was LBYC’s own Scott Dickson, a longtime member, director and competitor.

“I’m so pleased for Scotty that he made it to the final,” said Williams. “It’s one of those situations where, if you lose, as long as you’ve given it your best shot, we’d be disappointed, but pleased for Scotty. Not as bad as perhaps some other losses might have been.”

“He’s (Dickson) such a great guy and such a great competitor. And we love the club and really feel the passion for him and his team. We saw it as a win-win, so we didn’t feel the pressure, we just wanted to go out and give it our best”

Were the cheers of Dickson’s fans daunting? “We’ve had many years of rivalry in Sweden and a lot of crowd cheering against us. We expect the locals to cheer for their hometown favorite. It’s just our job to silence the crowd.”

Only twice has a member of LBYC won the Congressional Cup: Tommy Pickard, in 1971 and in 1981, Rod Davis. Prevalently a west coast championship at the start, once the first Canadian team was invited in 1969, it broadened into a major international event. Since the late 1980s, the trophy has been etched with the names of sailors from around the globe.

Racing so well against top tier teams, Dickson said, made him feel pride for his teammates. “These are all local guys you’ll see sailing and coaching out here on Tuesday and Wednesday nights,” he stressed, “the exact same crew we had last year. I think we’ve finally matured as a team and are getting comfortable operating at this level, against a full field of world-class sailors. They sailed so well, and were very quick around the course. I’m super proud of them.”

He had remained cool headed during the series, at times comical. “We agreed I made all my mistakes in one race, so we got that out of the way!” he joked on Thursday.

Later, after the loss, he remarked, “We came out today with all guns blazing. But I might have left one in the holster, because I shot myself in the foot.” Even as he lapped the Belmont Pier at the end of today’s racing, he was beaming; finishing above some of the top ranked match race sailors in the world, like Canfield (11) Berntsson (13) , Harry Price (AUS) (3) Maxime Mesnil (FRA) (5) Dackhammer (7) and Will Boulden (AUS) (9).

This morning, after three weeks of favorable sailing conditions for LBYC’s Butler Cup, Ficker Cup and early Congressional Cup racing, it appeared someone had pulled the plug on the Long Beach wind machine. After a short postponement, the breeze filled in, and capped at 12 knots.

Finally, it was ‘hammer time.’ Nicklas Dackhammer, the last-place finisher in the Congressional Cup Round Robins, won the Fleet Race, which is held for the skippers eliminated in Stage One. He’ll go home $2,000US richer – and with a copy of Arthur Knapp Jr.’s book Sail Your Boat Right.

Berntsson had dominated Stage One racing but that rarely guarantees victory in the Congressional Cup finals. Last year, Dean Barker routed the competition in Round Robins, but fell to Canfield in the finals. In 2017 Berntsson again topped the qualifying round, but the blazer went to Williams; while in 2016, Canfield won the Cup, although it was Phil Robertson (NZL) who triumphed in Stage One.

Although 16-2 in the Round Robins, Berntsson was unable to follow through, losing to Dickson in the semis and Canfield in the petit finals.

Canfield, who is a new member of LBYC, took third, saying, “It was a hard loss for us yesterday, but we lost to a great team.”

He continued, “We’re proud to see Scotty on the podium: second and third for LBYC is an amazing result. We’re so proud to be representing this great club, and look forward to representing Long Beach Yacht Club in the America’s Cup in Auckland,” referring to the Stars & Stripes Team USA campaign.

Notable on the podium was the presence of Sally Barkow, an accomplished Olympic, grand prix and offshore sailor, and main-trimmer on Canfield’s boat. Barkow is possibly the first woman to grace the stage in the 55 year history of Congressional Cup. Barkow competed in Congressional Cup with her own team in 2016: only the fourth all-women team following JJ Fetter Isler (1993, 1996) and Betsy Alison (1999).

“This has been a great experience,” said Barkow. “It’s fun, I feel like I belong and I’m contributing to the team. It’s not so much new to me, but it shows there’s still a massive gap in this sport, when you’re talking about making it gender equal.’

“For sure I feel treated part of the team, and very respected. It’s not about if you’re male or female, it’s about if you’re good enough to do the job. That’s been very clear, with this group especially and that’s what we’re here to do.”

Commodore Camille Daniels, a longtime sailboat racer, noted “There are organizations like WIMRA (Women’s International Match Racing Association) and events helping women come up the level you have to be at to compete in this field. And fortunately, Sally is at that level. I invited her to compete in 2016.”

Daniels is the first woman commodore in the 90 history of LBYC. “I’ve been a member of LBYC since 1980, I’ve paid my dues.”

“Being commodore is a huge honor, but it’s never something I aspired to do. But as the opportunity presented itself, I realized how important it was for the other women of the club. To know they can have the same opportunity in the future. That our club is getting progressive: ‘Honoring tradition and embracing transition.’ It’s poignant to me, that as a Staff Commodore of the club I will always have a voice, representing the women of the club. That’s really huge to me.”

“This is my favorite week of the year,” Daniels added, and she’s not the only one. More than 300 volunteers turn out to run and host this first-rate sailing event.

“What an amazing job Long Beach Yacht Club does, of putting the this regatta – it’s truly unique,” said Williams, as he donned the Crimson Blazer on stage.

“First, the racing is not compromised. The Club puts such a huge effort into making sure the racing is top notch. And that’s why we love coming back. I’ve never walked away feeling done in by bad racing or bad calls. If we’ve lost we deserved to lose, if we’ve won we’ve deserved to win.”

“Second thing is, the amazingly friendly welcome that everyone gets. Everybody. Whether you crash peoples cars, whether you set fire to their houses, they still welcome you back,” he laughed, adding, “It wasn’t us, by the way, we haven’t done that! But whatever you do, they seem to welcome you back and that friendly reception is absolutely unique in all the world.”

The Congressional Cup is one of the leading match race events in the sport, bringing top talent from around the globe to compete in this exciting one-on-one competition. Established in 1965 by the Long Beach Yacht Club, it is recognized as the “grandfather” of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago.

information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.


Racing continues off Belmont Pier today for the Crimson Blazer

LONG BEACH, CALIF 21 APRIL 2018 – – Does Ficker make you quicker?

Photo Credit: Tom Walker

Stage One of the 54th Congressional Cup regatta wrapped up with the final two races of Round Robins, advancing Dean Barker (USA), Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE) and Sam Gilmour (AUS) to the semi-finals.

Racing concludes tomorrow Sunday April 22, in this World Sailing Grade One Match Race event, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.

Both Barker and Berntsson had qualified for Congressional Cup through the Ficker Cup regatta last weekend. A Grade Two regatta, the Ficker Cup is prestigious in its own right, but also a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup; with the top two advancing to this week’s competition. It was founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup, spawning the slogan ‘Ficker is Quicker.’

“We haven’t match raced for a long, long time,” admitted Barker, whose American Magic team represents the New York Yacht Club’s challenge for the 36th America’s Cup. Ficker Cup, he said, “was without question a great opportunity for our team to practice, spend time together and dust out a bit of the rust.”
That training has paid off, as Barker dominated the Congressional Cup; today relinquishing today only his second loss of the series, to fellow Ficker Cup player Berntsson.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


The final two flights of the Round Robin series were raced under hazy skies and a blustery breeze that waned as the day wore on.

Coming into Saturday after a successful Day Three, Ian Williams (GBR) stood just one point out of contention for semi-finals, with two decisive races to go.

Already, rival Harry Price’s (AUS) destiny was set; out of striking range of Stage Two, as was Scott Dickson (USA), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI), and Chris Steele (NZL).

But Williams was still in the hunt. If he could win both races, and Gilmour or Berntsson lost theirs, the semis were in his sights.

In Flight 16, on the first downwind leg, Price and Williams were bow to bow; but Williams outwitted Price at the gate to take the lead. Splitting the course on the second downwind run, Price covered and began to reel Williams in. But Williams, leeward, pressed him past the layline; hoisting a jib for the final stretch of the ‘downwind’ leg, to capture that win.

In his final match of the day, however, Williams succumbed to Canfield after sailing into slightly lighter air; propelling Canfield into second place, with 13-5.

Meanwhile Barker and Berntsson had a “dramatic” match, with Barker’s start less aggressive than normal – perhaps as he already had his spot in the semis sewn up. But as the match progressed, the tacking duels began, and the racing heated up. By the final downwind leg, Barker forced Berntsson to the pin end of the line; a deliberate infringement on Barker earned Berntsson a red flag penalty. Still continuing to battle, both pros spun upwind with their spinnakers aloft, creating a tangle of wayward kites. Barker’s team, penalized for not keeping clear, watched as Berntsson dumped their chute and slipped across the line. “The drama was at the 120-percent level,” Berntsson said, “complete mayhem.”

Despite that loss, Barker completed the series with an impressive 16-2 record. “It was a tough double Round Robin, with a lot of very close races, but we came out on the right side of a lot of them,” said Barker. “We learned some very good lessons. Going into the semis, I’m very confident we can keep stringing good races together.”

Canfield finished 13-5; while Berntsson and Gilmour edged out Williams, each 12-6.

Photo Credit: Bronny Daniels


A haze of warm tropical air settled over San Pedro Bay as the semi-finals commenced. Canfield bested Berntsson in their first match, while Barker clashed with Gilmour. In a fierce bout, which celebrity commentator Tucker Thompson called a ‘trans-Tasman battle,’ Barker attacked Gilmour, who was struggling with an hourglassed spinnaker in the pre-start. “It’s like a cat toying with his prey,” Thompson winced, as Barker continued dizzying attacks on Gilmour, winning the start. Although Gilmour was able to shake it off and recover, Barker continued to extend his lead and finished nearly a minute ahead of his young rival.

Racing will continue tomorrow, with the first to three points advancing to the finals of the Congressional Cup. Petit-final races will also be held to determine third and fourth place, while the balance of the teams compete in a fleet race around the Bay.


Enjoy stadium viewing of the Congressional Cup free at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, 15 39th Place, Long Beach, Calif. Parking, facilities and food service are available.

Live commentary on-site, by celebrity announcer Tucker Thompson, is accompanied by large screen TVs highlighting multiple camera angles, including 360-degree Samsung Virtual Reality camera footage from the race boats; and feature segments by Australian Producer/Actress Camilla Jackson, for a fully immersive and entertaining experience. Racing and commentary is live-streamed on Facebook @CongressionalCup and YouTube. Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for full information.

THE CONGRESSIONAL CUP is one of the most prestigious top-level yachting events in the world. Established by LBYC in 1965, it is recognized as the ‘grandfather’ of match racing, pioneering the concept of on-the-water umpiring 30 years ago. Each year, this competition for the prestigious Congressional Cup trophy and Crimson Blazer features an elite delegation of the world’s best sailors competing in five days of rousing matches, in the waters off Long Beach, Calif.



Dean Barker (USA)                           16

Taylor Canfield (USA)                      13

Johnie Berntsson (SWE)                  12

Sam Gilmour (AUS)                          12

Ian Williams   (GBR)                          10

Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN)     6

Eric Monnin  (SUI)                            6

Scott Dickson (USA)                        5

Chris Steele  (NZL)                           5

Harry Price    (AUS)                          4




Taylor Canfield                                 1

Dean Barker                                      1

Johnie Berntsson                             0

Sam Gilmour                                     0


Photo Credit: Tom Walker

Day 3 Quick Update

LONG BEACH, CALIF 20 APRIL 2018 – –With only two flights left in the 54th Congressional Cup regatta’s Round Robin series – to determine which skippers will advance to the semi-finals – the hard-hitting competition escalated. Dean Barker (USA) and American Magic remained on top, with Taylor Canfield (USA), Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Sam Gilmour (AUS) and Ian Williams (GBR) all within striking distance of qualification.

Congressional Cup Day 3, Long Beach Yacht Club, April 20, 2018 ©Tom Walker

Watch today’s racing live at the Long Beach Belmont Pier or online here: TheCongressionalCup.com

Cover Photo Credit: Tom Walker Photography



LONG BEACH, CALIF  14 April 2018 – The breeze on Day Two of the Ficker Cup may have been shifty, but “steady” was the name of the game for Dean Barker and team American Magic, as they clung to the top of the leaderboard, with six wins and no losses in the series’ second Round Robin.

The Ficker Cup is a World Sailing Grade Two regatta – prestigious in its own right, but significant as a stepping stone to the Congressional Cup. Founded in 1980 to honor Bill Ficker, a legendary yachtsman who helmed Intrepid to victory in the 1970 America’s Cup and won the Congressional Cup in 1974, it offers world-class match racing action in an equalized fleet of one-design Catalina 37s yachts.

And today, all eyes were on the scoreboard, as Dean Barker, USA, solidified his first place position and advancement to the semi-finals tomorrow, along with Johnie Berntsson, SWE, 5-1. Chris Poole, USA, and Leonard Takahashi, JAP, both 3-3, also proceed to the semis – edging out competitor and LBYC Staff Commodore Dave Hood, defeated in the tie-breaker.

Ficker Cup racing will continue tomorrow Sunday April 15 at approximately 11:30AM off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can watch the action live. While today’s breeze built to 11 knots from the southwest, tomorrow’s forecast is for slightly lighter wind conditions.

The top two Ficker Cup finalists will advance to the Congressional Cup, the ‘granddaddy’ of modern world-class match racing, founded by Long Beach Yacht Club in 1965.

“What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing, the Crimson Blazer is to yacht racing,” explained Congressional Cup Chairman Eric Dickinson. “The Congressional Cup is one of the most prestigious yacht racing events in the world and a gateway to the America’s Cup; and the members of Long Beach Yacht Club are proud to present this premier event for the 54th year.”

Full further information and results please visit www.lbyc.org; for information on the Congressional Cup visit www.thecongressionalcup.com


Results  Day 2





1 Dean Barker USA/– 6-1 6-0
2 Johnie Berntsson SWE/154 6-1 5-1
3 Chris Poole USA/54 4-3 3-3
4 Leonard Takahashi JAP/14 4-3 3-3
5 Dave Hood USA/136 2-5 3-3
6 Peter Holz USA/24 2-5 2-4
7 Maxime Mesnil FRA/4 3-4 1-5
8 Vladimir Lipavsky RUS/16 1-6 1-5


LONG BEACH, CALIF 1 April 2017 – – “Choices are the hinges of destiny,” goes the famous quote by Edwin Markham, and today’s Congressional Cup racing proved that making good choices can make, or break, you.

As the frontrunner after two days of Qualifying, Johnie Berntsson (SWE) elected to race eighth place Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN). As swiftly as one-two-three Berntsson dispatched the young Dane; by nearly two minutes in one match. Similarly, second-place Taylor Canfield (ISV) chose seventh-place Scott Dickson (USA); and knocked him out in a swift trio of matches.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

But Phil Robertson’s (NZL) pick of Sam Gilmour (AUS) as his pairing proved risky. Nearly too risky. Scrapping around the course, Robertson lost the first race. “After that I thought about changing my flight home,” he joked. But Robertson rebounded, and squeaked by in the next three; while Chris Steele (NZL) fell 1:3 to Ian Williams (GBR) – including one photo-finish.

Williams had been on a wild winning streak yesterday, which continued into Saturday as he advanced to the Semi Finals and took two points off reigning Congressional Cup champion Taylor Canfield (ISV). The series is first to three.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

But going into Sunday’s races Canfield remained confident. “Do you know how many times we’ve won three in a row? A lot,” he emphasized, pointing to the morning’s defeat of Scott Dickson. “We can win three in a row against Ian Williams, no problem.”

Berntsson remained unflappable too, after two solid wins against Robertson in the Semis, in part due another good choice: a professional crew. “He brought in some excellent guys, all pros who race over 150 days a year,” said trimmer Philip Kai-Guhle. “It makes a difference. Johnie can do whatever he needs in the back of the boat, and we just do what needs to be done in our part.”

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

As a result, Berntsson’s style is “very relaxed” added bowman “Ricky-Bobby” McGarvie. “He makes things easy on the crew, and even when we stuff it up, he’s pretty cool. We just move on to the next manoeuvre.”

Berntsson, Williams, Canfield and Robertson vie for the Congressional Cup, and the coveted Crimson Blazer. Of this field, three have already won it: Berntsson – 2009; Williams – 2011 and 2012; and Canfield – 2014, 2015, 2016. Robertson, the current World Champion, has podiumed in the Congressional Cup, but a win in 2017 would mark his first chance to don the iconic Crimson Blazer.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.

Saturday’s Quarter and Semi Finals racing took place in southerly 6-9 knot breezes that built to 14 knots from the South West, making an exciting penultimate day to the 53rd Congressional Cup.
Semi-Finals continue Sunday April 2, with light breeze and sunshine forecast. Racing is held off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, where spectators can enjoy superb viewing of the race action, with live commentary, starting at 11:30 Pacific Time.

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.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 1st April 2017.


Congressional Cup
Quarter Finals
QF 1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-1 Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing
QF 2
Phil Robertson (NZL) China One Ningbo 3-1 Sam Gilmour (AUS) Neptune Racing
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 3-0 Scott Dickson (USA) Dickson Racing
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 3-0 Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Aschenbrenner Racing

Semi Finals
SF 1
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 2-0 Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One
SF 2
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Flux Team 2-0 Phil Robertson (NZL) China One Ningbo

Johnie Berntsson – Flux Team SWE 4
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 2
Taylor Canfield – US One ISV 4
Phil Robertson – China One Ningbo NZL 3
Sam Gilmour – Neptune Racing AUS 3
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 2
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 2
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 2

For complete results and more information go to www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com.


LONG BEACH, CALIF 31 March 2017 – – In France they call it a “Repêchage.” In America it’s known as a “do-over.” And today, in the world of top-level match racing, it was called “redemption.”
Ian Williams (GBR) – who finished at the bottom of the pack in last year’s Congressional Cup – was off with a vengeance today, winning all of his matches in the Repêchage on day three of this 53-year institution.
Six-time Match Racing World Champion Williams shockingly finished last in the 2016 Congressional Cup, earning the consolation prize: a copy of Arthur Knapp Jr.’s book “Race Your Boat Right.” At the time, he swore his team would return to Congressional Cup this year to “redeem themselves” and that they did: with a stunning streak of seven wins against his top-ranked rivals in today’s series. “The guys did a great job, we had good speed all day. That kept the pressure off, and our noses clean,” explained Williams, who added they were glad for the extra practice time on the boats.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

He advances to the Quarter Finals tomorrow along with Scott Dickson (USA), Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN), and Chris Steele (NZL) – who turned the tide, winning five races today: versus three wins total Wednesday and Thursday.   Steele returned to the course this morning promising to race, “a little more aggressive, and a little less forgiving,” and ended the day, “feeling very confident.”
After two days of Qualifying, frontrunners Johnie Berntsson (SWE), Taylor Canfield (ISV), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Sam Gilmour (AUS) had secured their spots in Saturday’s Quarter Finals. They got a day off in sunny California, where Congressional Cup racing continues through Sunday April 2.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

But the other eight contestants were left to battle it out for the final four berths in the Repêchage: a trial heat which gives first-round losers a last-ditch chance to qualify for the Quarter Finals. Harry Price (AUS), Nicolai Sehested (DEN), Eric Monnin (SUI) and David Storrs (USA) were eliminated in matches sailed in “classic Long Beach conditions” – steady westerly breeze averaging 14 knots. And although Storrs was skunked in the Repêchage, his Pequot Racing Team won in the Junior Congressional Cup: skippered by LBYC junior sailor Trent Turigliatto with Alex Curtiss as crew.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

The Congressional Cup is part of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), an intense round-the-world circuit which kicked off earlier this month in Perth, Australia and concludes in October in China.
“Now it’s the business end of the regatta. Play time is over!” announced WMRT Race Director Craig Mitchell, in preparation for Saturday’s brutal Quarter Final knock-out rounds. The leaderboard is wiped clean: scores return to zero.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 31st March 2017.

Saturday’s pairings are: Berntsson v. Aschenbrenner; Canfield v. Dickson; Robertson v. Gilmour; Williams v. Steele. The first four to reach three points will advance to Semi Finals: vying for the Congressional Cup and coveted Crimson Blazer – an honor bestowed on the top names in sailing over the years, including Dennis Conner, Ed Baird, Ted Turner, Dean Barker, Ken Read, Gavin Brady and more.

Spectators are invited to watch the races off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, on the Congressional Cup Stadium Course: a federally designated area of Long Beach’s outer harbor. The venue offers ideal viewing with live commentary and camaraderie.

The Congressional Cup features five days of top notch yacht racing at its finest. Founded in 1965 and pioneer of on-the-water umpiring in 1988, he Congressional Cup is regarded as the ‘granddaddy of match racing.’ 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. Visit www.thecongressionalcup.com for more information.

Repêchage Standings: Day Three of Congressional Cup
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 7
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 5
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 4
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 4
Harry Price – Down Under Racing AUS 3
Eric Monnin – Albert Riele Swiss Team SUI 3
Nicolai Sehested – EWII Racing DEN 2
David Storrs – Pequot Racing USA 0


LONG BEACH, USA,  30 March 2017 – – “Mr Canfield, I like your jacket!” announced reigning Match Racing World Champion Phil Robertson (NZL), at the 53rd Congressional Cup’s opening ‘Meet the Skippers’ dinner.

Robertson, hot off a win in Match Cup Australia, alluded to some unfinished business from last year, when he finished at the top in Qualifying, but was eliminated in the Quarter Finals – leaving the door open for Canfield to win his third consecutive Crimson Blazer.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

The Crimson Blazer is the iconic prize and symbol of the Congressional Cup – along with the behemoth silver trophy on display at Long Beach Yacht Club.

“That’s mine!” chided Harry Price (AUS), pointing to the trophy, and joining the charge. Everyone is eager to unseat Canfield, number one-ranked by World Sailing; but the team best poised to crush Canfield, after two days of racing, appears to be Johnie Berntsson (SWE).

Berntsson and Canfield are matched point-for-point with nine wins each. The 2009 winner of the Congressional Cup, Berntsson has returned to Long Beach with a new, multi-cultural team, saying the mix is “challenging” – “but the really tight racing fires us up!” With one Dane, three Swedes and two Aussies, they are in first place at the end of Qualifying, winning the tie breaker over Canfield with a win in Flight 8.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

Today’s variable winds fluctuated from a low of 5 knots to a gusty 20 knot breezes in the afternoon, which put a halt to racing as the skippers changed to smaller jibs.

With tomorrow’s forecast for more breeze, Principal Race Officer Randy Smith pressed to complete all 14 flights of Qualifying, and called for an 1100 start to Friday’s races.

Berntsson, Canfield, Robertson and Sam Gilmour (NZL) move straight to the Quarter Finals on Saturday, with Friday now a welcome day off. The balance will fight for their spots in the Repechage; an eight boat round robin, to determine which four move on … and which four go home.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

The Congressional Cup is the second of seven stops on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), and a legend in itself. An innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, Congressional Cup introduced the concept of on-the-water umpiring in 1988. It is hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club and raced in the Long Beach Sailing Foundation fleet of identical 37-foot Catalina sloops designed specifically for the event; which guarantees an even platform and exciting competition. The competition continues through Sunday April 2, directly off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

World Match Racing Tour, Congressional Cup, Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, CA, USA. 30th March 2017.

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


LONG BEACH, CALIF  29 March 2017 – – Grab your lawn chair and cooler and come on down to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier today through Sunday April 2, for the 53rd running of the Congressional Cup regatta!

Courtesy LBYC 1- Fans line the Pier for a close view of the races

Storms that dumped record rains on California damaged the pier, initially threatening to deter the hundreds of spectators who come to experience this world-class match racing extravaganza, each year. But the pier is safe and open to pedestrians, announced Chairman Joe Seibert, and set to provide ‘old style’ viewing of Congressional Cup 2017.

Congressional Cup is one of the longest-running match race regattas in North America, and the second stop on the World Match Racing Tour. Twelve of the world’s top ranked teams race, two at a time, in a series of spirited round robins; with the top point winners advancing to semi-finals and finals.

Since 1994 the races have been held inside the Long Beach breakwater, adjacent the Belmont Pier. From this vantage point spectators easily observed from the pier or vessels anchored nearby. It wasn’t unusual for fans to gather at pier’s end to cheer on the racers, tossing teddy bears and other good luck tokens to their favorite teams. Over time LBYC expanded the pier platform to include bleachers, pop-up tents and sponsor booths, commentators, VIP announcers and more. This carnival-like atmosphere has lured an audience of thousands: hard-core racers wanting to learn more about the thrilling art of match racing; plus novices and landlubbers eager for an entertaining day out.

This year, the City’s temporary ban on event permits has limited the yacht club’s plans – but not the racing, nor the determination of fans. An undaunted army of Do-It-Yourself spectators is expected to watch the races ‘old style’ – bringing lawn chairs, umbrellas, sodas and sandwiches. The outer wings are open to the public, while the central patio in front of Buoy’s café is restricted to LBYC members and guests. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and there will be live commentary on the pier, plus a scoreboard for keeping track of the action. Races will be held through Sunday April 2 beginning at 11:30AM daily.

The Belmont Pier opened in 1967, replacing the original wooden pier built in 1915, and renovated in 1951. Over 1600 feet long, it has easy access for the disabled, restrooms, lighting and convenient parking. For more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com.


LONG BEACH, USA 29 March 2017 – – Brilliant sunshine greeted the all-star line-up of Congressional Cup 2017, racing along the shores of Long Beach, California. Conditions were nothing like last year’s dismal, drizzly weather.

But the wind played havoc with racers none-the-less. Light breezes from the southwest built auspiciously, then plunged. The drop was so sudden, it threw Qualifying flight three into a frenzy …. a Swan Lake-like performance of boats grazing across the course with no apparent clue as to who was racing who. Caught in the shifts – from 185 degrees to 230 degrees – Congressional Cup defending champion Taylor Canfield (ISV) lost to Harry Price (AUS) by a full minute, while Sam Gilmour’s (AUS) time over Nicolai Sehested (DEN) was nearly the same. And Johnie Berntsson (SWE) hammered Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) by a remarkable two minutes: a huge spread for such a highly-ranked field of sailors.

But just as suddenly the sea breeze filled in to a brisk 12-14 knots. Aschenbrenner rebounded with a win over David Storrs (USA), and Canfield returned to his winning form: ending the day 4:1 – tied with Berntsson.

Both skippers are past Congressional Cup champions: Berntsson in 2009, and Canfield, 2014 – 2016. Like most of the teams on Day One, Berntsson said they “struggled with the details,” but added, “I’m happy, we had a good day and are staying in the game.”

Tied with three points each were Price, Gilmour, Phil Robertson (NZL) and Eric Monnin (SUI); followed by Aschenbrenner, Ian Williams (GBR), Chris Steele (NZL) and Scott Dickson (USA) each at two points.

Sehested and Storrs ended the day with one win each. “It was a bit of a tough day,” admitted Sehested, but he pointed out last year they moved up the leaderboard to second place overall, nearly capturing the title from Canfield, and was undeterred by his 1:4 start to the week.

And yet today, everyone got a piece of the pie, heralding the incredible level of competition expected over the next four days of Congressional Cup 2017. This 53-year tradition, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, is the second stop on the 2017 World Match Racing Tour, attracting a dozen of the top match racing teams from around the globe, as they vie for the Crimson blazer. Races will continue through Sunday April 2, beginning at 11:30 Pacific Time each day off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.


The Congressional Cup has been a model and innovator in the game of match racing since 1965, introducing the concept of on-the-water umpiring in 1988. The Grade W event combines expert race organization with outstanding hospitality, to make it a favorite among match-racing skippers worldwide.

At Tuesday’s opening dinner Aschenbrenner announced, “After our first time here, I knew we had to come back!” – a point seconded by two-time Congressional Cup winner Williams, who said, “It’s absolutely our favorite regatta.” The event is almost entirely volunteer run, utilizing the talents and energy of a unique force of more than 300 members of LBYC – one of the premier boating institutions in the United States since 1929. For more information visit www.thecongressionalcup.com and www.wmrt.com.


Johnie Berntsson – Flux Team SWE 4
Taylor Canfield – US One ISV 4
Eric Monnin – Albert Riele Swiss Team SUI 3
Harry Price – Down Under Racing AUS 3
Phil Robertson – China One Ningbo NZL 3
Sam Gilmour – Neptune Racing AUS 3
Joachim Aschenbrenner – Aschenbrenner Racing DEN 2
Chris Steele – 36 Below Racing NZL 2
Ian Williams – GAC Pindar GBR 2
Scott Dickson – Dickson Racing USA 2
Nicolai Sehested – EWII Racing DEN 1
David Storrs – Pequot Racing USA 1


For up-to-the-minute results go to www.thecongressionalcup.com