The Congressional Cup is one of the main events in the match racing circuit, particularly in the United States. The 52 year old event now attracts the world’s best skippers looking to compete and claim the prestigious title in an action-packed and challenging event. The Long Beach Yacht Club founded the event in 1964 with the aim of encouraging yacht racing in the U.S. at the highest of standards. As a true test of skill, and not resources, they decided that everyone would be on a level playing field by sailing identical yachts. Today, the Congressional Cup is known as a path to the America’s Cup, and many past champions have skippered in the AC, including Dennis Conner, Ted Turner, Ed Baird, James Spithill, and Dean Barker, among others.
The Congressional Cup has spawned match racing worldwide, first hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in European waters. Around the world, match race cups based on LBYC's concept took off, including in Australia, New Zealand, France, and Bermuda. Not only was the Cup a pioneering event, it was continually adding value to the match racing circuit through the introduction of new rulings. Until 1987, penalty decisions, or protests, were absorbing a large chunk of time and taking away from the excitement of the event. In an effort to spice up the event, LBYC invited the world’s best officials to the 1988 event and instant-penalty decisions were born. These are now the mainstay of match racing worldwide.
This year’s event suffered some untypical wind, rain, and testing conditions, though that didn't seem to stop the teams in this outstanding race. Over 5 days, teams led by skippers like Dickson, Gilmour, Canfield, and Steele all produced strong showings, but it was Taylor Canfield who emerged as victor of the 2016 Congressional Cup.