2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex

A Corinthian Classic Returns to Newport

At least nineteen yacht club teams will compete in the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. Credit: Dan Nerney/NYYCNewport, R.I., USA (February 14, 2011) – It took the Corinthian sailing world by storm in 2009, and its impact promises to be even greater when it returns again to the shores of Newport, R.I. this September 10-17.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will host 19 yacht club teams representing 13 nations from six different continents in the ultimate sailing contest among amateur competitors proudly representing their homelands.

“There are many returning as well as new entries,” said Event Chair John Mendez, “and they are coming from as far away as South Africa, Portugal and Argentina.  Just like in the halcyon days of the America’s Cup, competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors and members of the yacht clubs they represent; they must also be nationals of their countries.”

Mendez explained that the top-five finishers from the 2009 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup received automatic berths for the 2011 event, and all have accepted. They are (in order of finish) the New York Yacht Club (USA); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Japan Sailing Federation (JPN); Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN) and Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL).

New entries include the Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS); Yacht Club Capri (ITA), Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA), Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Royal Cape Yacht Club (RSA) and Itchenor Sailing Club (GBR).

Shown is the fleet from the 2009 inaugural event.   Credit: Dan Nerney/NYYCAlso returning from 2009 are the Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Yacht Club Italiano (ITA) and Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP).

Rounding out the fleet will be three additional U.S. teams that were determined by the outcome of a 24-club U.S. Qualifying Series held at the NYYC in September 2010: Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.); Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md.) and Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.).

The event will again be sailed in NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, with the headquarters being the NYYC’s Harbour Court clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor.  In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan have also returned as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.

“The inaugural event was tough and demanding, allowing yacht club teams from around the world to display the competitive skills of their best sailors,” said Mendez.  “And with the help of our sponsors and the enthusiasm and patriotism shown by the teams, it was an experience for the contenders that cannot be duplicated by any other event in the world.”

Among the high-profile skippers returning to the competition this year are Makoto Uematsu (Japan Sailing Federation); Leonardo Ferragamo (Nyländska Jaktklubben); Anthony O’Leary (Royal Cork Yacht Club); and Mark Watson (Royal Bermuda Yacht Club), who finished third through sixth, respectively.  The NYYC, which won the inaugural event with Phil Lotz (Newport, R.I./New Canaan, Conn.) skippering, will hold a sail-off to determine its 2011 team, as will many of the other clubs that have accepted invitations.

In anticipating the challenge for 2011, returning skipper Leonardo Ferragamo said, “It would be difficult to imagine a venue more evocative of the great sailing challenges than Newport, Rhode Island, where the America’s Cup was held from 1930-1983.  The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is an innovative event focused on fair and gentlemanly competition, outstanding organization and high-caliber international exposure. It is difficult to find a parallel event in the world of sport, and I believe it has already become a lighthouse in the world of international sailing competitions.”

Sailing World magazine agreed when it wrote, “The New York Yacht Club pulled out all the stops for its first Invitational Cup, creating what is sure to become a high-profile Corinthian Classic.”

For more information on the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, contact John Mendez, or visit

Rolex and Sailing  
Among the sports with which Rolex has partnered for many years, sailing holds a special place. The association dates back to the late 1950s, and the close ties that bind the company to the world of yachting grow stronger every year. Rolex's approach to sport is to link with disciplines and events in alignment with its philosophies and ideals that exemplify its values. In the sport of yachting, the primary associations are with the Maxi Yacht class of yachts, significant offshore races, select championships and classic yacht regattas that unite historic and beautiful vessels.

Off the water, Rolex participates in the development of the sport through its support of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the world governing body, and the annual ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, which recognize male and female sailors who have distinguished themselves over the course of a year. Rolex has also cultivated close relationships with the sport's best-known yacht clubs, those that organize landmark events and hold traditions that Rolex respects and appreciates. As part of its Testimonee program Rolex counts among its ranks a number of exemplary sailors:  those who practice the sport in a spirit and manner universally admired. Through this interaction with yachting, Rolex has become more than a mere sponsor of the sport. It is a true partner.

About Sperry Top-Sider
Since 1935, Sperry Top-Sider has been the leading brand of footwear for those with a Passion for the Sea. From its introduction of the world’s first siped rubber outsole for non-marking traction, to advanced technical fabrication to combat the elements, Sperry Top-Sider remains the vanguard of high-performance amphibious footwear. Available through independent, marine, outdoor and department stores, Sperry Top-Sider is the official footwear of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regattas, the US Sailing Team Alpha Graphics, the US Sailing Association, the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the Salt Water Sportsman Seminar Series and the National Safe Boating Council. In early 2010, the brand launched seven Sperry Top-Sider retail stores in the U.S. -- retail formats dedicated to the Passion for the Sea lifestyle. 

About Nautor’s Swan
A leader in the luxury sailing yacht market, Nautor’s Swan is globally recognized as the producers of exquisitely crafted yachts, capable of offering the perfect balance of style, performance and comfort, ideal for both high-performance racing and relaxed, luxurious cruising. The company was founded in 1966 by Pekka Koskenkyla in Pietarsaari, Finland. The hundreds of years of Finnish boat building history inspired the vision of the founder to start production of high-quality and high-performing sailing yachts. Today Nautor’s Swan continues to push forward a whirlwind of innovations and changes that firmly place the Swan yachts at the forefront of the international sailing world.