Ten of the world's best match-race skippers are entered in the 26th annual Congressional Cup series, which began Wednesday off Long Beach.
The top contenders figure to be Peter Gilmour of Perth, Australia, the winner of the 1988 series, and Chris Dickson of New Zealand, who competed in the America's Cup competition in 1987.
Each skipper will compete against the other nine skippers in the round-robin competition. There will be five races a day.
The skipper with the best round-robin record will qualify for the finals. He will face the winner of a semifinal race between the second- and third-place finishers in the round-robin competition.
The boats are new and were designed and built especially for the Congressional Cup. Manufactured by Catalina Yachts, the boats were donated to the Long Beach Yacht Club for the race.
In addition to Gilmour and Dickson, the skippers are Russell Coutts of New Zealand, Mike Elias of Long Beach, Robbie Haines of Newport Harbor, Peter Isler of San Diego, Larry Klein of San Diego, John Kolius of Houston, William Lynn of Rye, N.Y., and Makoto Namba of Japan.