LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Top ranked sailors from around the world are set to compete in the 49th annual Congressional Cup on Tuesday in Long Beach.
The Congressional Cup, which is dubbed by many seasoned sailors as “the grandest of all match races”, gave competitors a look at their boats Monday before they set sail in on Tuesday. The boats are all the same model, pinning success on skill, sailing knowledge, and crew teamwork.
Ian Williams, skipper of the GAC Pindar, spoke on the boats and how they impact the race.
“I think a big part of match racing, particularly this regatta, is that we are sailing on identical boats that are provided to us by the Long Beach Yacht Club,” Williams explained. “So we don’t get to bring our own boat, we don’t get to prepare our own boat, we just get given one for the day and then we leave and change it the next day, so its really very much about how the team performs on the day as opposed to working up and preparing your boat for the racing.”
The public is invited to come out and watch the race. Viewing will be available from the Veterans Memorial Pier, also known as Belmont Pier, near the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, where officials say the sails will come so close, you can almost reach out and touch them over the rails, although this is not recommended.
This year’s cup includes ten world-ranked teams from seven different countries.
The Congressional Cup is the longest running Match Race in North America, and has featured some of the world’s most well-known skippers, including Ted Turner, Dennis Conner, and Ed Baird.
Long Beach is a well respected coast for sailors, and is home to both competitive and recreational local sailing organizations, such as Leeway Sailing Center, the Long Beach Yacht Club, and the CSULB Sailing Association.
The race begins on Tuesday April 9, at 12:30 p.m. at the Belmont Pier, and it runs through Saturday April 13.
Those interested in learning more about the event, including directions to the pier and beach, can go to the Cup’s website here.
The website also offers the ability to listen to the event internationally if you cannot make it out.