The 50th year of the congressional cup at Long Beach is the reason the waterfront is being transformed as the battling arena for this year’s Cup. Known as the “granddaddy of match racing”, this race, hosted by the Long Beach yacht club brings together the finest of the sailors from all around the world. About 60 sailors from as far as Australia participate in the races.
Since its inception the volunteers have poured their souls in for the success of the events. Some 300 odd volunteers have made sure that this event removes the sense of distance and invites the veterans from the farthest corners of the world. As a result, what had started off as a local event in 1965 has now reached world-wide acclaim and importance. Quoting Bruce Brown, a yacht club member since 1976, “But through all of it, what has kept it successful and unique has really been everyone that helps put it on.”
The sailors are set to race in 10 identical sailboats which are maintained by the “yellow hats”, so called for the caps they wear. They are the boat-fleet maintenance crew, who are also volunteers. So are the scores of families who house he participants in their own home. The uniqueness of this event is the simplicity of the event. It offers a change of pace for most of the racers who mostly shuttle from hotel to hotel between the races, says Jo Murray, a yacht club member as well. According to Murray, “Here, we’re corny and we’re simple, but that’s what the sailors love”.
That has indeed been proven true each year, this 50th year, we are set to see five of the six, world’s best skippers compete for the Crimson Blazer as the bleachers are set up for what is being speculated to be the most memorable Congressional Cup till date.