Several of the world's top sailors from eight countries and one U.S. territory will compete for the 47th Congressional Cup at Long Beach Yacht Club, USA from 22-26 March.
The Congressional Cup is the USA's only Grade 1 match racing event and the list of sailors is headed by 2007 winner Mathieu Richard
(FRA) ranked third in the world. The list also includes Ian Williams
(GBR), #5, 2010 winner Francesco Bruni
(ITA), #8, Eugeniy Neugodnikov
(RUS), #9, and #10 in the world Phil Robertson
The list also includes Johnie Berntsson
(SWE), Staffan Lindberg
(FIN), Taylor Canfield
of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dave Perry
Canfield qualified automatically by winning last summers Grade 2 Trifecta Events series at Chicago, Detroit and Manhasset Bay, New York, one of the first qualifying events leading to the Congressional Cup.
The tenth competitor will be determined by the Grade 2 Ficker Cup that takes place from 17-19 March. The winner will then have two days to prepare for the Congressional Cup. Sally Barkow
(USA) won the Ficker Cup last year.
With a rapid growth in men's and women's match racing there's a new door to the Ficker Cup. Starting with the California Dreamin' Series of events at San Francisco from 26-27 February, Long Beach 5-6 March and at San Diego 12-13 March.
About the 2010 Congressional Cup, Scott Truesdale of Long Beach said, "The starting line is 100 meters or less off the public pier, and the odd shape of the pier allows the starters to use the pier tactically as an obstruction. There are many pre-starts where you could actually reach out and touch the spreaders of the [boats]. You can hear what the tactician is saying to the helmsman. You could talk to the helmsman yourself if you were to be so bold.
"You can see the entire course from the pier, and having three matches occurring simultaneously means there is always something interesting to see. It's addictive, action-packed, and the beer and food is right there."
Aside from the qualifying events, the Congressional Cup is invitational, but five of this year's entries---Richard, Williams, Bruni, Berntsson and Robertson---don't have to sweat their credentials otherwise. They are now cardholders on the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT), meaning they have automatic berths for all nine events. The first of nine WMRT events this year starts 10 May in France.