Getting ready for the Congressional Cup

Rich Roberts on the form and how to follow California's number one match race

Friday April 9th 2004, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
For those who can't be on Belmont Pier to see the 40th Congressional Cup from a front-row seat 20-24 April, the next best place will be at their computers - wherever they are in the world.

The match racing classic may be the only sailing event on the planet that offers live radio commentary and nightly video replays, both on the Internet.

Streaming video highlights and live radio reports of the Long Beach Yacht Club's prestigious Swedish Match Tour event were introduced last year to popular response. Among others, competitor James Spithill's father was a regular listener in Australia.

Early in the week another listener wrote in an e-mail: "Congressional Cup organisers, sponsors and LBYC should be commended for having streaming video of the first day of racing posted on their web site. Some clubs have a hard time posting results in a timely manner. These guys have colour commentary by the staff commodore [Drew Satariano] of the day's racing! Amazing work, guys."

Expert sailing journalist and participant Dobbs Davis and local sailor Steve Steiner will split the radio broadcast commentary, Steiner working the first two days and Davis the last three. Both are past competitors in the event.

The shows will originate on local radio 810 AM, receivable within a four-mile radius, and be distributed worldwide on through the cooperation of Long Beach City College, in partnership with LBYC.

Video highlights of each day's racing will be shown that evening on the club's website,.Video of past Congressional Cup action is available on the site now.

The Congressional Cup is event No. 4 and the only American stop on the 2003-'04 Swedish Match Tour, a professional series of eight events contested around the world. Now in its fifth season, the Tour offers more than $800,000 in total prize money. In addition, a total purse of $25,000 will be at stake in the Congressional Cup, with $6,000 to the winner.

The 10-team fleet will include three past winners = Australia's Peter Gilmour (1988), New Zealand's Gavin Brady (1996-97) and Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis (1992)---plus current world match racing champion Ed Baird of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Others in the lineup are local contender Scott Dickson, Long Beach; Allan Coutts, Cameron Appleton and Kelvin Harrap of New Zealand; Jes Gram-Hansen, Denmark, and Mattias Rahm, Sweden.

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