One designs in Newport, RI
Bringing together its signature combination of on-shore and on-the-water activities, the third edition of Bacardi Newport Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank concluded this weekend with the 29th running of New England’s premiere one-design event – the Newport Regatta.
Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, demonstrated its considerable logistical and race management skills in hosting the three-day event over 12-14 July, featuring racing in 21 one-design classes: 2.4 Metre, 12 Metre, 49er, 505, A Cats, Byte CII, Etchells, Farr 30, F-18, J/22, J/24, J/70, Laser, Laser Radial, S Class, Star, Sunfish, Swan 42, Vanguard 15, Viper 640 and VX One. A staggering 148 races were run for the more than 260 boats that were competing on five courses on Narragansett Bay. Five countries (USA, CAN, GBR, GER and NZL) and 17 U.S. states were represented by the 873 registered sailors.
Racing in the 17-strong J/24 fleet, local sailors Tim Healy and John Mollicone won their third consecutive Newport Regatta. “It was a great regatta,” said Mollicone at the awards. “Saturday was light and today we had the classic Newport sea breeze which got up to 15 knots.”
The regatta also determined the J/24 District 2 Champion and served as the qualifier for the US Adult Sailing Championship for the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy. Healy and Mollicone won all four of the races contested to take the victory by seven points over Mike Ingham of Rochester, N.Y., who won the J/24 US National Championship just three weeks ago, and in doing so the duo claied the Dr. Robin Wallace Trophy for best performance in the regatta.
Ten boats were on the starting line in the Farr 30 class which would see their North American Champion determined at the conclusion of racing. Winning two of the five races sailed, Newport’s Jim Richardson was successful in reclaiming the North American title he last won in 2010, which also prevented Deneen Demourkas from winning her third consecutive North American title. Three points out of first place, Annapolis sailor Rod Jabin finished second overall with 16 points; Pieter Taselaar was third with 18 points, followed by Kevin McNeil and Demourkas in fourth and fifth with, respectively, 21 and 24 points.
Winning the first eight races of the Byte CII series, 14-year-old Henry Marshall won the Byte CII North American Championship at the conclusion of 11 races in a fleet of 15 boats. A second-place finish in the final race of the series earned him the title on 10 points after his two worst finishes, a sixth and an 11th, were dropped. Sailing the Newport Regatta for the first time, and the Byte CII for only three weeks, Marshall was using the event to prepare for the Byte CII World Championships which Sail Newport will host in August, as well as to fulfill his goal of qualifying for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
“The conditions were very tough, light winds, very shifty, and choppy,” said Marshall. “These were definitely not my kind of conditions but I had to adapt throughout the regatta. This event taught me a lot about patience, and controlling the fleet. I think that both of these skills will come in handy for the world championships in August.”
Marshall’s toughest competition came from Pablo Bertran of the Cayman Islands who won the final two races and took second in the fleet with 17 points. Rhode Island sailor Bradley Adam was third with 31 points.
A seven-boat mixed fleet of sailors with disabilities and able-bodied competitors raced in the 2.4 Metre class’s debut appearance in the Newport Regatta. Britt Hall won the 10-race series with 16 points, just one point ahead of Charlie Rosenfeld who is a member of the 2013 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. Third overall was Sandy Hayes with 22 points.
“It was a good chance to do a lot of starts,” said Newport’s Betsy Alison, the Paralympic Coach for the US Sailing Team. “Because the courses were fairly short the fleet was tight and there were lots of changes in position.” Alison also pointed out that the event was excellent training for the 2016 Paralympic hopefuls, including Rick Doerr, ranked number one on the team in the Sonar class, who used the event to cross-train.
Three other classes awarded major titles based on the weekend’s results:
In the 505 class, 18 sailors were vying to become East Coast Champion and after winning six of the nine races sailed, Andrew Buttner went home the champion with a low score of 10 points having no finish worse than second. His closest competitor, Craig Thompson was 18 points back, followed by Maryland sailor Macy Nelson with 33 points.
The Viper 640s raced all three days, with Jamestown’s Phil and Wendy Lotz taking home the hardware for the win in that 18-boat nine-race series. However, only results from Saturday and Sunday determined the Viper 640 Atlantic Coast Champion. Ched Proctor won the title on finishes of 2-2-6-2 in that 28-boat fleet for 12 points, edging out the Connecticut team of Dave Nickerson and Moise Solomon by just one point.
Local sailor Philip Hallowell also went home with a new title – VX One New England Champion – after he won the final two races of the five-race series that was sailed by seven boats.
In addition to the on-the-water action at the Newport Regatta, Bacardi Newport Sailing Week included a number of shore based activities that allowed the public to participate and experience the legendary Bacardi hospitality. A special exhibit of America’s Cup photography, “Champions on the Breeze,” featured the work of Rhode Island-based photographer Cory Silken. In addition, Bacardi partnered with both the Sunset Music Series (for the Chris Isaak and BB King Concerts) and the Newport Restaurant Group (at their 22 Bowen’s, The Moorings and Smoke House restaurants) where the Bacardi Newport Sailing Week featured drink – The Ultimate Cuba Libre – was available.