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Congressional Cup: AmericaOne Crew Hits The Match Race Circuit

Long Beach, CA, March 8, 1999-- Its the granddaddy of all modern match racing events -- the place where it all started. Top America's Cup crews and match racers going head-to-head in purpose-built matched Catalina 37s supplied by the host club. Long Beach Yacht Club has a 35-year tradition of outstanding hospitality and excellent racing. With three former winners, three America's Cup skippers, the current U.S. male and female Rolex Award winners and competitors from six countries, this is perhaps the strongest field ever. Competition in Belmont Harbor starts tomorrow, March 9. Paul Cayard reports:

Today was the first day of the 1999 Congressional Cup (Con Cup) Match Racing Regatta hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club.

It was a day of practice for all ten teams in the club's evenly-matched fleet of Catalina 37's. This is a great fleet of identical boats built specifically for the purpose of match racing. There are no lifelines, just like America's Cup boats. However the boats have masthead genoas and spinnakers.

The AmericaOne Team is represented by crew members Curtis Blewett, Josh Belsky, Morgan Trubovich, Sean Clarkson, John Kostecki and Skipper Paul Cayard. We have been practicing as a team recently down in Auckland in the Kiwis match race boats known as MRX's. Today, we trained with Gavin Brady, a two-time winner of the Con Cup and currently ranked Number Two on the Match Race Circuit. It was a good day of close racing and both teams benefited greatly. One interesting thing is that in this regatta there is only a weight limit and no limit on the number of crew. Gavin has fielded a crew of seven to meet the 1200 pound weight limit while the AmericaOne "lightweights" struggled to make it with six. So it will be interesting to see if an extra pair of hands makes a substantial difference.

We got back to the dock at 16:00 and had an umpire briefing on how this group will make the calls this year. This was followed by an interview for me and home to get showered up and ready for the opening gala dinner tonight at 19:00.

The Con Cup is the oldest of the Match Race Regattas on the circuit. This is the 35th. One of the strong traditions here is the 200-plus volunteer group that the Long Beach Yacht Club fields each year to put this event together. It is truly the focal point of their racing season and they do an excellent job all the way around. It is nice to be amongst so many enthusiastic sailors.

Tomorrow, the briefing with the race committee is at 09:00 and racing should start at 11:00. The forecast is for moderate wind from the southwest with a front coming Tuesday night which could make Wednesday a bit breezier. The whole team feels good about our chances so now we are just eager to get on with the races.

Paul Cayard

Tel. 415 474 3425
Fax. 415 474 3571

For more about Congressional Cup, go to Long Beach YC web site


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