Extreme2 winning the C&C 30 One Design class at the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta on June 11-12, 2016. Soundtrack video below.
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Newport, RI (June 11, 2016) – For the crew on the U.S. Naval Academy’s Ker 50 Wahoo, the journey to the top of the podium of IRC 2 in the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex started on the chilly Chespeake Bay during the latter stages of the past winter.
“I look at this regatta and I think it was really won over the course of three months,” said Midshipman 1st Class Matt Robbins, the boat’s skipper. “We worked really hard on three different platforms of boats in order to prepare this crew. We dealt with a lot of changes. We sail with a crew of 12 midshipman and everyone of them developed the experience to step up on a day like today and keep things under control. That was the name of the game (today), keeping things under control and finishing the race.”
Regatta participants awoke on Sunday to find the sun shining and the breeze blowing pleasantly out of the southwest. Saturday’s overcast weather and evening thunder storms were a distant memory, and it appeared as if the 162nd edition of North America’s oldest regatta would end on a high note. Then a cold front rolled through and the breeze shifted to the northwest and increased dramatically.
By the time the boats started final preparations for the day, the wind was steadily into the low 20s with gusts approaching 30. One boat lost its rig before racing and there were plenty others who decided discretion was the better part of valor and either didn’t race at all or withdrew before crossing the finish line.
For the crew on Wahoo, however, it was never a question whether to keep sailing. After a second in the first race, the midshipmen found themselves at the top of IRC 2 with two other boats within one point of the lead. It would all come down to the final race. By the first mark of the final race, the race was Wahoo’s to win or lose.
Both Temptation-Oakcliff, skippered by Art Santry and Siren, skippered by William Hubbard, the only two boats within striking distance of the lead, retired due to equipment issues. Robbins and his team pushed hard to the finish nonetheless, setting a spinnaker on both runs and winning the race and the class.
“Days like today are really achieved over the course of months of training,” said Midshipmen Robbins, noting that 10 of the 12 crew entered the academy with minimal sailing experience. “That’s really where, for me as the skipper of the boat, my pride in the crew comes from, seeing how hard they’ve worked. And I know they’re going to work that hard going to Bermuda.”
While IRC 1, IRC 2 and the 12-Metres, some of the biggest boats in the regatta, did Stadium Sailing in the cozy confines of Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, significantly smaller boats were battling the elements on the open ocean.
Newport, RI (June 11, 2016) – A decade of tooth-and-nail one-design racing in the Swan 42 class served Chris Culver and Paul Zabetakis well on Day 2 of the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. With just four Swan 42s registered for the regatta, the class was folded into the IRC fleet, joining a pack of 6 other boats, all between 41 and 43 fleet in length and all very close in rating. Culver and his team on Blazer won the first race, while Zabetakis’ Impetuous (above, at left) took top honors in Race 2. With two races in the books, the two boats are at the top of the standings, with three and four points, respectively.
“It was very difficult sailing today,” said Zabetakis. “We were seeing 10 knots (of windspeed) at the top of the rig, but it wasn’t anything near that on the water. It was really squirrelly. Our crew work was good, we’ve got some new guys on—our bowman was our mast man last year and this was his first outing on the bow—but everyone stayed focused and did a good job. We had a good day.”
Racing in a handicap fleet as part of a one-design subclass presents some opportunities and also some additional challenges. The presence of other similar boats means there is often someone against which you can gauge your speed. On the other hand there can often be more traffic around the track while boats are the edges of the rating band may find themselves sailing more in open water and undisturbed air.
“You’re used to the boats being very even,” said Zabetakis, who has done limited handicap racing with his Swan 42. “When you’re going upwind, you can peg off another 42 as far as your speed and height. The second race we were just matching with the other IRC boats, and it’s harder because the angles are different.”
He also noted that tracking placings during the course of the race is a new challenge for his team. “If we do more IRC racing,” he said, “we’re going to have to get a handle on the rating game.”
One class down in IRC 4, the competition for the top spot is even tighter, with four boats sitting within a point of the lead. Chris Lewis’ J/44 Kenai and Quentin Thomas’ Pendragon are tied for first with five points while Ganson Evans’ Old School, a Farr 395, and Sedgwick Ward’s J/111 Bravo are sitting on six points.
Three boats scored a pair of race wins today. Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente rebounded from a very frustrating third yesterday to take both Maxi72 races and the early lead in the class’s inaugural North American Championship. Carl Olsson sailed his J/109 to a pair of firsts in IRC 5 while Bruce Stone accomplished the same feat in the J/105 one-design class.
The forecast for tomorrow is calling for substantially more breeze, which could go a long way in shaking up the standings, especially in the IRC classes where the boat designs that favor heavy air will find an opportunity to make up for any struggles in today’s single-digit wind speeds.
About the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
More than 150 boats are expected to compete in the 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. The event will feature a race around Conanicut Island on Friday, June 10, and then two days of buoy racing for the IRC and one-design classes, and point-to-point racing for the multihulls and navigator classes. The regatta is part of the prestigious Onion Patch Series, along with the Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. The sponsors of the 162nd Annual Regatta include presenting sponsor Rolex and regatta sponsor Porsche Cars North America and the participating New England Area Porsche dealers.
Report by Event Media
Newport, RI (June 7, 2016) – At the crossroads of elite power, performance and perspiration-inducing competition stands the Maxi 72 class. While there are plenty of larger racing yachts, and many classes that put more entries on the starting line, this group stands out due to the immense size and refinement of each yacht and a concise set of class rules that keep the boats very even in performance.
Four Maxi 72s will compete in the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex (June 10 to 12) with the winner crowned the class’s first North American champion.
“You win in this class by out-sailing your competitors,” says Hap Fauth, of Minneapolis, the owner of the Maxi72 Bella Mente and the president of the class association. “It’s a discipline of no mistakes, and if you sail that way you will do very well. Each boat has a set of attributes that is a little bit different; we try to optimize those attributes (on Belle Mente) and shore up any weaknesses.”
The Maxi 72 class is a development of the International Maxi Association’s Mini Maxi Racer class, which was comprised of performance boats from 60 to 80 feet in length. A desire for more boat-on-boat competition led a group of owners to standardize a few key measurements—a maximum length of 72 feet and a maximum keel draft of 17 feet, 8 inches—and formalize other class rules. Innovation is rewarded, but moderated. The result is a group of unique boats that are very similar in performance.
“The boats are very even,” says Dieter Schoen (Tortola, British Virgin Islands), the owner of MOMO, and one of the newer members of the class. “Every boat can win a race.”
The other Maxi 72s competing in the 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex are George Sakellaris’ Proteus (Framingham, Mass.) and Caol Ila R (Birkirkara, Malta), which is owned by Alex Schaerer.
Traditionally, the maxi yacht scene has centered around the Mediterranean regatta schedule, with the annual Rolex Maxi Yacht Club serving as the premiere championship for all sailboats big and beautiful. This winter, however, the class scheduled a few events in the Caribbean and then journeyed north for the 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, and the Newport Bermuda Race.
“It represents a new venue for the class,” said Fauth. “The New York Yacht Club is known for hosting great regattas due, in part, to the multiplicity of conditions off Newport. We’re branching out from the Med. The owners would like to expose the rest of the sailing world to our boats. They’re exciting, power-packed. They’re fun to watch, and they’re fun to sail.”
Handling the power generated by the massive sail plans, and managing the constant refinement necessary to keep pace in the class requires a year-round commitment. For this reason, the crews are almost exclusively professional and include some of the biggest names in the sport. Fauth’s after guard features Terry Hutchinson, a two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Volvo Ocean Race champion Mike Sanderson and two-time Olympian Adrian Stead.
That many cooks in the kitchen can seem excessive to sailors of smaller boats, but Fauth says each role is defined and essential.
“We’ve got a strategist who’s outside the boat all the time in terms of where we are relative to our competition; I never ever look back,” Fauth says. “I’m only concerned with the next shift; Terry and I work very closely in that regard. I believe in a quiet boat for me in terms of concentration and because everyone operates much better on a quiet boat. We’ve got phenomenal sailors on this boat. The chemistry is outstanding, but it’s taken us a long time to get a really compatible crew.”
The song, however, is the same across the fleet. Each crew is packed with America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans and each boat has been relentlessly optimized. The difference between first and last could come down to one shift or one missed maneuver. In that respect, it’s like most other one-design racing, albeit on an exponentially larger and more intense scale.
More than 150 boats are expected to compete in the 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. The event will feature a race around Conanicut Island on Friday, June 10, and then two days of buoy racing for the IRC and one-design classes, and point-to-point racing for the multihulls and navigator classes.
The regatta is part of the prestigious Onion Patch Series, along with the Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Details here.
Source: Stuart Streuli, Communications Director, New York Yacht Club
Entries are open for the Onion Patch Challenge, a three-event triathlon of diverse yacht racing that offers individual yacht competition plus competition among three-boat teams. The series includes the New York Yacht Club 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex in Newport, the Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta in Bermuda. Full report.
The 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex on June 12-14 in Newport, RI.
Newport, RI (June 14, 2015) – The 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and when the three-day event concluded after a day of around-the-island racing (Friday, June 12) and a weekend of around-the-marks competition (June 13-14), there was plenty of satisfaction to be had.
For Event Chair David Bush-Brown, there was satisfaction that the Annual Regatta, robust-as-ever with 169 entries, had successfully upheld its keen sense of tradition, which for well over a century and a half has kept the New York Yacht Club at the forefront of sailing. “A lot of changes have happened to our sport and the regatta over 161 years,” said Bush-Brown, “but one thing remains the same: spirit of competition and camaraderie.”
That spirit was evident on Saturday night when the New York Yacht Club hosted over 1,000 sailors for cocktails and dinner on the expansive grounds of its waterfront Harbour Court clubhouse. It was also evident during Sunday’s two-hour postponement ashore when the Newport Shipyard, where many of the boats were docked, felt less like a paddock area for preparation and more like a venue for a class reunion, with long-time friends as well as newly-established acquaintances swapping war stories and discussing what lies next on the sailing horizon.
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Bowman on the 12 Metre New Zealand KZ-3 loses his footing and falls overboard during 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta on June 14, 2015. Photos by Stephen Cloutier.
Newport, RI (June 13, 2015) – Transitioning from yesterday’s Around-the-Island Race, 169 teams at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex took off this morning for four different rendezvous areas on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay to begin a two-day regatta series that will determine victors in 17 classes.
With the wind blowing decidedly from the north, classes for IRC 3, IRC 4, C&C 30, Etchells, and Marstrom 32 staged the most spectator-friendly show, starting and finishing close to shore in an area south of the Pell Bridge and to the west of Fort Adams – similar to racing at the recent Volvo Ocean Race stopover.
“I loved sailing in there,” said Clay Deutsch, skipper of Just Friends, which sits in sixth among nine C&C 30s after two races today. (Don Cheresh’s Extreme2 leads.) “The breeze is kind of shifty, and there’s huge current, so tactically it’s interesting, and physically it’s beautiful. If you go to Cowes (England) or places like that, there’s all these interesting features – that’s what this is like. We should do more of it.”
The IRC classes and Etchells also completed two races, while the Marstrom 32 catamarans added a third. Ed Freitag, who is the owner/driver of the Summit 40 Downtime and has done the Annual Regatta at least six other times, said the 12 boats in his IRC 3 class are all relatively close in rating, which made it especially enjoyable on a day like today. “Yesterday the ratings were figured over a longer distance; today it was much closer. The courses are short distances, and the start is extremely important.” (Downtime is second to Craig Albrecht’s Farr 395 Avalanche in overall standings.)
The northerly quickly changed to a southwesterly sea breeze in the early afternoon, making downwind runs into upwind beats for some of the eight classes (three for CRF, three for PHRF, S Class and 12 Metre) sailing navigators courses “up the Bay.” Winding around government marks rather than placed buoys, the classes fit in two races each, except 12 Metres, which completed three races.
Actor Neil Patrick Harris crewed for Gordon McNabb’s Swan 44 Flying Cloud II in PHRF 3 Non-spinnaker class, helping to see finish positions of 1-4 on the scoreboard today for an overall lead among seven boats.
“My birthday is Monday, so for my present they invited me to crew,” said Harris, adding that his first time ever on a sailboat was yesterday aboard Flying Cloud II in the Around-the-Island Race. And what did he think of it all? “I love it,” he said. “I love the structures and the systems and learning what the vocabulary is and learning what your place is within it. It’s a nice combination of intensity and tranquility. You do something super-fast, then sit and look at the view; then they shout at you to tack, and you panic, put your gloves back on, tack and then relax.”
The wind was light and spotty for the four classes (IRC 1, IRC 2, Swan 42 and J/111) sailing offshore on Rhode Island Sound.
Lawrence Huntington’s Ker 50 Snow Lion is 7th out of 11 boats in IRC 2 (Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge leads), and he says it’s a very good warm up for the long-distance races he really likes to do. He has raced across the Atlantic seven times, three of them in his own boat, and later this summer he will compete in the Transatlantic Race 2015 and the Rolex Fastnet Race.
“This kind of close-course racing offers lots of competition that hones everybody’s skills, so it’s very good for us to experiment and try things,” said Huntington. “You’re always learning.”
Racing concludes tomorrow.
CRF 1 Large (CRF – 2 Boats)
1. Spartan, NY50, Charlie Ryan, Providence, RI, USA – 1 ; 1
CRF 2 Medium (CRF – 9 Boats)
1. QUEST, 8 Metre, Diane Palm, Toronto, Ontario, CAN, 1 (1)
2. Sonny, S&S, Joseph Dockery, Newport, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Amorita, New York 30, Jed Pearsall, Newport, RI, USA – 3 (3)
IRC 1 (IRC – 11 Boats)
1. Interlodge, Botin HPR 44, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, RI, USA, 1, 1 (2)
2. SPOOKIE, Carkeek HP 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, Norwalk, CT, USA, 2, 2 (4)
3. HOOLIGAN, IRC 52, Gunther Buerman, Highland Beach, FL, USA, 3, 3 (6)
IRC 2 (IRC – 8 Boats)
1. Christopher Dragon, Sydney 43, Andrew & Linda Weiss, Mamaroneck, NY, USA, 1, 1 (2)
2. Next, Roger Martin 36, Jon Desmond, Boston, MA, USA, 4, 2, (6)
3. Oakcliff Farr 40-Black, Farr 40, Oakcliff Sailing, Oyster Bay, NY, USA, 2, 4 (6)
IRC 3 (IRC – 12 Boats)
1. Avalanche, Farr 395 39.5, Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, NY, USA, 2, 1 (3)
2. DownTime, Summit 40 39’10, Ed Freitag/Molly Haley, Annapolis, MD, USA 1, 2.5 (3.5)
3. Orion, J/122, Paul Milo, Leesburg, VA, USA, 3, 4 (7)
IRC 4 (IRC – 12 Boats)
1. Carina, Custom 48, Rives Potts, Westbrook, CT, USA, 1, 2 (3)
2. Rush, J/109, Bill Sweetser, Annapolis, MD, USA, 4, 1 (5)
3. Leading Edge, J/35, Tom Sutton, Houston, TX, USA, 7, 4 (11)
Swan 42 OD (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Apparition, Swan 42, Colin Gordon, Guilford, CT, USA, 2, 1 (3)
2. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Stamford, CT, USA, 5, 2 (7)
3. Impetuous, Swan 42 42.5, Paul Zabetakis, Stuart, FL, USA, 4, 3 (7)
J-111 OD (One Design – 19 Boats)
1. Lake Effect, J 111 36.5, Robert Hesse, Youngstown, NY, USA, 1, 5 (6)
2. My Sharona, J 111 36.5, George Gamble, Pensacola, FL, USA, 6, 2 (8)
3. Wooton, J 111 36.5, William Smith, Chicago, IL, USA, 2, 9 (11)
C&C 30 OD (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Extreme2, C&C 30, Dan Cheresh, Saugatuck, MI, USA, 3, 1 (4)
2. Stark Raving Mad VIII, C&C 30 One Design 30, James Madden , Newport Beach, CA, USA, 2, 2 (4)
3. Themis, C&C 30, Walt Thirion, Annapolis, MD, USA, 1, 6 (7)
Etchells OD (One Design – 15 Boats)
1. Swedish Blue, Etchells 22, Ante Razmilovic , Annapolis, MD, USA, 1, 2 (3)
2. America Jane 11, Etchells 30, Scott Kaufman , New York, NY, USA, 3, 1 (4)
3. Clean Execution, Etchells 30, Michael Gavin , Westport, CT, USA, 4, 6 (10)
M32 (One Design – 4 Boats)
1. Escape Velocity, Marstrom 32, Ron O’Hanley , Boston, MA, USA, 3, 1, 2 (6)
2. Bronco, M32, Michael Dominguez , Barrington, RI, USA, 2, 4, 1 (7)
3. Astan Harold, Marstrom 32, Malcolm Gefter , Newport, RI, USA, 1, 3, 3 (7)
S Class (One Design – 8 Boats)
1. Squaw, S-Boat 30, Matt Hayes , Bristol, RI, USA, 1, 1 (2)
2. Swallow, Herreshoff S 27.5, Andrew McClatchy , North Kingstown, RI, USA, 3, 2 (5)
3. Aquila, S Class 27, Geoffrey Davis , Providence, RI, USA, 4, 3 (7)
12 Metre – Grand Prix (One Design – 2 Boats)
1. New Zealand, 12 Metre, Gunther Buerman Lexi Gahagan , Newport, RI, USA 1, 2, 2, 1 (6)
2. KZ5 Laura, 12 Metre, Kip Curren , Warwick, RI, USA, 2, 1, 1, 2 (6)
12 Metre – Modern (One Design – 3 Boats)
1. Victory 83, 12 Metre, Dennis Williams , Hobe Sound, FL, USA, 1, 3, 1, 1 (6)
2. Courageous, 12 Metre, Ralph Isham /Alexander Auersperg , Newport, RI, USA 3, 1, 3, 2 (9)
3. Intrepid, 12 Metre, Jack Curtin , Toronto, Ont, USA, 2, 2, 2, 3 (9)
12 Metre – Traditional (One Design – 4 Boats)
1. Weatherly, 12 Metre, Jay Schachne , Barrington, RI, USA, 1, 3, 1, 1 (6)
2. American Eagle, 12 Metre, Tony Chiurco / Jeff Gronning , Princeton, NJ, USA, 2, 1, 2, 2 (7)
3. Nefertiti, 12 Metre, Jon Wullschleger , Sarasota, FL, USA 3, 4, 3, 3 (13)
PHRF 1 spinnaker (PHRF – 8 Boats)
1. Wild Child, J/111, Kenn Fischburg , Norwich, ct, USA 1, 1 (2)
2. Pursuit, Custom 48, Norman Dawley , Lusby, MD, USA, 3, 3 (6)
3. Temptress, Taylor 41, John Gowell , East Greenwich, RI, USA, 5, 2 (7)
PHRF 2 Spinnaker (PHRF – 11 Boats)
1. Brigadoon X, Nimble 30, Robert Morton , Newport, Rhode Island, USA 4, 1 (5)
2. Tonto, J/105, Fred Darlington , Cumberland, RI, USA, 1, 4 (5)
3. Santas Reign, Dear, J/105, Donald Santa , Edgewater, MD, USA, 2, 5 (7)
PHRF 3 Non-spinnaker (PHRF – 7 Boats)
1. Flying Cloud 11, Swan 44, Gordon McNabb , Middletown, RI, USA, 1, 4 (5)
2. Duck Soup, C&C 37 R/XL, Bill Clavin , Warwick, RI, USA, 5, 1 (6)
3. Crackerjack, Cambria 40, Alan Krulisch , Arlington, VA, USA, 3, 3 (6)
SCORING (CRF non-spinnaker) (CRF – 9 Boats)
1. Spartan (WHITE), NY50, Charlie Ryan , Providence, RI, USA, 1, 2, 1 (4)
2. Silent Maid (YELLOW), Catboat, Peter Kellogg , Summit, NJ, USA, 3, 1, 2 (6)
3. Amorita (ORANGE), NY 30, Jed Pearsall , Newport, RI, USA, 2, 5, 3 (10)
SCORING (CRF spinnaker) (CRF – 7 Boats)
1. Sonny (ORANGE), S&S, Joseph Dockery , Newport, RI, USA, 1, 2, 1 (4)
2. Belle (YELLOW), Luders 24, Joe Loughborough , Newport, RI, USA, 4, 1, 4 (9)
3. Isla (ORANGE), NY 32, Henry May , Houston, TX, USA, 2, 5, 2 (9)
SCORING (CRF Spirit of Tradition) (CRF – 2 Boats)
1. Quest (ORANGE), 8 Metre, Diane Palm , Toronto, Ont, CAN, 1, 1, 1 (3)
2. Wild Horses (WHITE), W-Class 76, Donald Tofias , Newport, RI, USA, 2, 2, 2 (6)
Report by Media Pro
Newport, RI (June 11, 2015) – When it comes to delivering world-class competition, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex has a long track record for success. One hundred and sixty one years, to be exact.
Tomorrow, the oldest regatta in the country will resume its pattern of excellence, hosting an impressive 167 boats for three days (June 12-14) of racing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. Starting things off is an optional 19 nautical mile sprint around Conanicut Island; it will be followed on Saturday and Sunday (June 13-14) with buoy racing.
Seventy percent of the fleet will participate in tomorrow’s separately scored Around-the-Island Race, including all nine of the C&C 30s, which are sailing for their first time ever here as a one-design class. The Rhode Island-built boats feature teams from Michigan, California, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island.
“The sailors in our fleet are very experienced, but the boat is new to all of us, so this weekend will be a learning curve for everyone,” said Angus Davis (Bristol, R.I) who will be racing with his mostly Rhode Island team aboard Nyabinghi. Davis, whose background until now had only been in classic yachts, grew up sailing Herreshoff S Boats and more recently raced his restored Herreshoff sloop Kestrel.
The appeal of the C&C 30 for him is that it’s like a miniature big boat rather than an oversized sport boat. “It’s a great starting point for me as I get into high-performance sailing.”
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Nineteen yacht clubs, from 11 countries, will gather on September 12 to 19 to compete in the premiere Corinthian big boat competition – the fourth biennial New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. For the host club, whose sole victory was the inaugural series in 2009, there is a quartet of Swan 42 teams that are seeking the right to return the club to prominence.
The host club uses the 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex on June 12-14 as the first part of a two-stage qualifying series, with the second half of the qualifying to take place during the Swan 42 National Championship in July.
“The Invitational Cup is big-boat racing at the highest Corinthian level, and for a Club we are all proud to be members of,” says Ted Madara, the skipper and co-owner, with Gibb Kane, of Mutiny. “The Swan 42 class was created by the NYYC. When you combine these boats with the Invitational Cup, you have a great opportunity to be part of the racing history of the NYYC.”
The other three teams are regarding the qualifying series with equal levels of respect.
“The Invitational Cup is a unique event with a much greater impact in the sport of sailing,” says Chris Culver, a Club member who will be racing his Swan 42 Blazer in the qualifying series. “It’s Corinthian competition, and an international presence on a level playing field.”
Also competing for the Club’s berth will be Impetuous, skippered by Paul Zabetakis, event chairman for the 2013 Invitational Cup. Having passed along that responsibility, he is now squarely focused on qualifying to represent the Club this September.
“The key to doing well in the qualifying series is to be the crew that makes the least mistakes,” says Zabetakis. “The competition each time has been intense. The teams that spend the most time practicing and competing have always done the best.”
With that in mind, Zabetakis took his boat to Quantum Key West over the winter and sailed both weekends of the AYC Spring Series.
The final team vying for the Club’s berth will be sailing Apparition, the same yacht that Ken Colburn sailed as the NYYC representative in the 2011 and 2013 Invitational Cups, finishing second and ninth, respectively. But this time, it will be Colin Gordon at the helm. Gordon, one of the pillars of the Club’s active team racing program, has done his share of miles on a Swan 42, but never as the skipper.
“Our crew is made up of very accomplished dinghy and keelboat racers, a few with Swan 42 experience, who are racing together for the first time,” says Gordon. “Every person on our crew is pretty overqualified for his or her job. I’m the glaring exception.”
Gordon’s self deprecation aside, his team’s first regatta—the second weekend of the American Yacht Club Spring Series—produced plenty of reason for optimism. Apparition was the low-point boat for the weekend. The addition of NYYC Vice Commodore Phil Lotz, 2009 Invitational Cup champion and a two-time Swan 42 National Champion, for the Annual Regatta and the Nationals will only help the team’s chances of qualifying.
Close competition has been a hallmark of the Swan 42 class since its first one-design regatta in 2007. With nine seasoned teams lining up for the 161st Annual Regatta, and more expected for the National Championship in July, this isn’t likely to change.
Three dedicated teams will fall short of the Club’s berth in the Invitational Cup, but the winner will go into the 2015 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup that much stronger for having survived a challenging qualifying series. While great for members and fans of the New York Yacht Club, this maybe is not such pleasant news for the 16 other teams competing in the 2015 Invitational Cup.
The organizers of New York Yacht Club’s first Annual Regatta in 1846 would have been hard-pressed to envision that it would become an annual event about to be run for the 161st time in the year 2015. The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is now widely considered to be a cornerstone of the summer sailing season.
From that first race which featured 14 entries (sloops and schooners) to the mix of vintage and modern craft that will cross the starting line in Newport for three days of racing from June 12-14, the constant thread has been upholding the tradition of competition and camaraderie which is fundamental to the sport of sailing.
One of the many returning entries is the vintage yacht Spartan, a NewYork 50, and one of a nine-strong Herreshoff-built fleet commissioned by New York Yacht Club in the early part of the 20th century. Spartan, the only known surviving member of the fleet, was recommissioned in 2010 and has raced the Annual Regatta since 2011.
“For Spartan, the NYYC Annual Regatta has been the official start to the racing season since her recommissioning,” said Captain M. Charles Festa (East Greenwich, R.I.). “We find the Annual Regatta particularly challenging due to the turbulent weather at that time of year, and the nature/duration of the races. There never seems to be much downtime between each race, and the competition is always stiff.”
Another vintage beauty sure to attract a lot of attention is the Fife-designed 8-Metre Quest which will grace the starting line of the Annual Regatta for the first time in 2015. Having spent most of her life in fresh water – racing out of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto – Quest, built in 1930, was restored by Ronald and Diane Palm in Maine and has spent the last three years racing competitively on the East Coast.
“We decided to sail the Annual Regatta because of recently joining the NYYC,” said Diane Palm (Toronto, Canada), who went on to explain that Quest has travelled several times back and forth from New England to Toronto for a series of regattas. “There is a large fleet of 8-Metres in Toronto at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Quest is the oldest sailboat at the club and the first Canadian 8-Metre ever built.”
Of the many modern one-designs that race by class division will be the NYYC Swan 42s, of which six are currently entered, with 2014 class winner – Mahalo – returning to defend her win.
“Last year’s win was a very nice win for us,” said Mahalo’s owner Charles Kenehan (Swampscott, Mass.), who has been out of sailing for 20 years while raising triplets. In 2013, which he characterized as a “learning year,” he both purchased the boat and raced in the Annual Regatta.
“I’m thrilled with the Swan 42 class,” said Kenehan. “The racing is extremely competitive, and now we’re hoping to take it to the next level.” Kenehan raced in the Mediterranean last fall and is focused on competition in the U.S. this year with an eye toward qualifying for the 2017 NYYC Invitational Cup.
The NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex gets underway with the Around-the-Island Race (scored as a standalone race) on Friday, June 12, followed by the traditional two-day series on Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14. Yachts racing under the IRC handicap, in the Classics division, or as part of an invited one-design class, will sail drop-mark races on Rhode Island Sound or Narragansett Bay. PHRF classes will sail the “Navigator” Races using government marks. Daily awards and social activities will complete each day’s activities at Harbour Court, NYYC’s on-the-water clubhouse in Newport, R.I.
Event website: www.nyyc.org/yachting/racing/161st-annual-regatta
Source: NYYC media