Gearing up for New York YC Race Week

147 boats to set sail on Saturday

Friday July 16th 2010, Author: Dana Paxton, Location: United States

Seven days of racing, 147 competing boats, 11 divisions, two National Championships, one North American Championship, 1200 sailors and one great sailing town of Newport. It all adds up to New England’s favorite regatta – New York Yacht Club's Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex.

Kicking off on Saturday, July 17 with three days of one design and Classic, 12 Metre and PHRF-rated competition, Race Week’s 'first half' welcomes the Beneteau 36.7, J/105, J/109, J/122, J/80, Classics, S Class, 12 Metre, 6 Metre and NYYC Swan 42 classes. In all, 109 boats are registered for the first half of Race Week. After a lay day featuring a classic New England Lobster Bake hosted at the New York Yacht Club’s on-the-water clubhouse Harbour Court, the 'second half' is scheduled for four days of racing to determine the Rolex US-IRC National Champion. To date 38 IRC-rated racers are registered for the fourth annual competition.

The largest One Design Class is the J/105 with 22 boats currently entered including the top three finishers from 2008 Race Week: Eclipse, owned by Damian Emery (Shoreham, N.Y.); Savasana, owned by Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.); and Live Edge, owned by Michael Mountford.

“My team is looking forward to a great event,” said Mountford, who is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. “We really enjoy sailing in the New England area as sailing on the East Coast is good training for us. I decided to keep Live Edge in the Newport area this year after sailing in Rye in the fall. The NYYC runs a great regatta, the location is excellent and the people and sailing are terrific.”

The second largest One Design fleet is the NYYC Swan 42 Class with 15 registered boats competing for the national championship. The 2008 Race Week champion Tiburon, owned by Mark Watson (San Antonio, Texas/Newport, R.I.) and 2009 national champion Arethusa, owned by Phil Lotz (Newport, R.I.), are expected to compete.

“Each year, the Swan 42 Nationals represents the premier event for the fleet,” said Paul Zabetakis, NYYC Swan 42 Class President and owner of Impetuous. “The teams use the regattas prior to this event to prepare for what has become the most competitive racing of the year. The teams consist of some of the most talented Corinthian competitors in the sailing community. The racing is so close that even minor mistakes are very costly – it can mean the difference between first or last at the rounding marks. Clearly, the winner of this regatta is acknowledged by the fleet as the ‘best of the best.’”

North American championship title is on the line in the J/109 class where 13 boats are registered, including defending champion Storm, owned by Rick Lyall (Wilton, Conn.) and 2008 champion Gut Feeling, owned by Ted Herlihy (South Dartmouth, Mass.).

Elan, John Hammel’s Beneteau 36.7, is looking to defend its 2008 victory against an increasingly competitive fleet. “This year we are fortunate to have six of the eight competing boats traveling to Newport specifically for this event,” said Hammel, the local fleet captain. “Five are from Long Island Sound and one is from Boston.” The event is one of five events that are used to determine the North East Fleet 36.7 Boat of the Year award. Last year’s winner was Bill Purdy’s Whirlwind, which is frequently at the top of Long Island Sound 36.7 events, and finished fourth in the 2006 North Americans, held in Newport, and third overall in 2008.

Other skippers and boats to watch include Chick Pyle, the 2005 North American Class champion, skippering Kea/Slipstream, a name mixed with his chartered Slipstream and his own, 36.7 Kea. Lou Mellio’s Surface Tension and Junius Brown’s Resolute are also strong competitors in the Long Island Sound fleet.

In total, 120 boats are registered for the first half of the week of racing, July 17-19, which will take place on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.

Second Half of Week to Showcase IRC-Rated Racing

After taking a one-day break on Tuesday, July 20 to allow boats to switch to IRC configuration, the second of half kicks off on Wednesday, July 21 featuring four days of IRC racing with a mix of short course and middle-distance racing planned. To date, 36 IRC-rated boats are entered with George David’s Custom 90ft Rambler the largest competing. The Rolex US-IRC National Championship will end with a Rolex gala and awards party on Saturday, July 24.

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