NYYC Annual Regatta in its 157th year
Beginning with America’s Civil War in 1861, only wars have caused the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta to be cancelled. Now in its 157th edition and the longest-running regatta in America, the NYYC’s Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is known for attracting some of yachting’s best and brightest. This year, however, with major regattas either starting or finishing in Newport as well as the addition of the new Navigator Races, the NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, to be sailed June 10-12, is already attracting a booming entry list.
“We have 84 registered entries at this moment, which is a great number at this time,” said Regatta Chair Peggy Comfort, a NYYC Trustee. “The turnout and diversity of boats showing up for the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta is exciting, and we look forward to a solid three days of racing.”
The regatta will feature IRC, One-Design, 12 Metre, 6 Metre and Classic fleets, as well as accommodate classes sailing under the NYYC Cruising Rule, PHRF and IRC NS handicap systems. The starting gun will sound on Friday, June 10, with the fleet undertaking the challenging Around-the-Island Race, followed by buoy racing throughout the rest of the weekend. A one-day regatta for the Swan 42 class will be held on Friday, while Saturday, June 11, will see a one-day regatta for the Shields class.
The new Navigator Races, held on Saturday and Sunday, will include one race each day using government and racing marks on the southern part of Narragansett Bay. Both days of racing will be scored separately so teams don’t have to commit to the full weekend, and the races have been designed to engender a more relaxed racing atmosphere. “We’ll be out there because of the Navigator Races,” said John McCulloch, owner of the Alerion Express 28 Maruffa and an active member of the NYYC Cruising Committee. McCulloch, who has been primarily using his day sailor of late, will use this event as an opportunity to get back into racing. “The goal is to have fun and not get too competitive. I think this new initiative is a great addition, and I give kudos to the committee for coming up with the idea.”
Along with the Navigator Races, the Annapolis to Newport, Transatlantic Race 2011 and NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex have all contributed to draw more competitors to the 2011 Annual Regatta.
A fleet of 20 Swan 42s are expected at the Annual Regatta that is being used, along with the NYYC Swan 42 Nationals in July, to qualify the team that will represent the home club in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, scheduled for September 10-17. “The Annual is a great regatta, and I think all three events will be well attended this summer,” said Phil Lotz, chair of the Sailing Committee and a NYYC Trustee. Having won the inaugural NYYC Invitational Cup in 2009 aboard his Swan 42 Arethusa, Lotz will surely be a favorite going into the qualifying events especially considering his finishes thus far in the 2011 sailing season: third in class at the International Rolex Regatta, second in class at BVI Spring Regatta and second overall at Antigua Sailing Week. “We have our own core fleet of 15 to 20 plus a few teams that have chartered or borrowed boats to practice for the Invitational Cup. There are around six boats (including Bandit, Barleycorn, Blazer, Celeritas and Hoss) hoping to qualify and represent New York Yacht Club in September, so it will be an impressive turnout for the Annual Regatta.” Following the one-day qualifying regatta on Friday, the Swan 42s will also participate in the races scheduled for the remainder of the weekend.
Adding to the already present enthusiasm surrounding the Annual Regatta are the entries competing in the Transatlantic Race 2011, which along with the Annapolis to Newport Race and other events comprise the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series.
“We have never been to Newport before and look forward to sailing somewhere new,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Bat, the skipper aboard the Archambaud 40 British Soldier, whose team will arrive via the Annapolis to Newport Race and compete in the Annual Regatta before setting sail in the first group to depart (June 26) in the Transatlantic Race 2011. “The Annual Regatta will be great fun, and though we won’t be racing too hard as we can’t afford any catastrophic failures so close to the Transatlantic Race, we still won’t be giving any competitors an easy ride.” Explaining that the crew aboard British Soldier consists of active duty soldiers on leave from service in Afghanistan, Bate added “The crew for the Annual Regatta will be the same as the crew for Annapolis to Newport, with only a few staying on for the Transatlantic. They’ve all recently returned from operational tours and found a way to get airfare over to the U.S. for these great events.”