159th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta Presented by Rolex
NEWPORT, RI, USA
Counting Down to the Country’s Oldest Regatta
With just over a week to go before the start of the New York Yacht Club 159th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, an impressive lineup of talent on a record 150 boats has materialized for the event. Nevertheless, organizers are reminding last-minute registrants that the entry deadline is this Monday, June 10. Scheduled for June 14-16, the Annual Regatta is “not-to-be-missed” in part because it is the oldest regatta in the country, with over a century and a half’s worth of history-and fine-tuning of fun--behind it. For three days, yachts sailing in IRC, Classic, 12 Metre and One-Design classes as well as a PHRF Cruiser-Racer division will be hosted at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in historic Newport, R.I. and will race on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.
“Newport is a great place to sail and offers a very impressive nautical town steeped in tradition,” said Terry McLaughlin, the Canadian Olympic silver medalist and former America’s Cup skipper who will be at the helm of John Hele’s (Newport, R.I.) Swan 42 Daring. “As well, the New York Yacht Club always does a bang-up job on and off the water. The event has a long history and a lot of competitive classes, so it attracts a wide range of boats and people.”
Ambiance at the 158th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
Jim Richardson's Barking Mad at the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship
The Swan 42 class, one of a total of eight One-Design classes competing, promises to be among the toughest, and Daring one of the most formidable entrants, as McLaughlin steered that boat to victory while representing the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) at the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. He is on the roster to represent RCYC again in the 2013 edition of that event and will use the Annual Regatta as a tune-up. Meanwhile for several NYYC Swan 42 teams the Annual Regatta will serve as the first leg of the selection series to determine who will represent the host New York Yacht Club at the Invitational Cup.
“I’m a great proponent of one-design racing, because I like to cross the finish line and know immediately how we did,” said McLaughlin. “In the Swan 42 class there is a lot of really good competition and a lot of strong teams. It’s great, competitive racing.”
Daring and the rest of the fleet have been invited to kick off the event on Friday, June 14 with a separately scored (therefore optional) 19-nautical mile Around the Island Race. The circumnavigation (of Conanicut, an island across the bridge from Newport) remains a favorite among racing sailors visiting Newport, and at stake in the IRC division is a Rolex timepiece, which will be presented to the overall winner during that evening’s festivities at Harbour Court.
One of the contenders for that timepiece will be Jose Diego-Arozamena with his Farr 73 Maximizer, which has spent the last five summer seasons racing in the Mediterranean and is one of the largest yachts competing.
“Newport is the authentic sailing scene for Corinthian level racing, and we are looking forward to being back on the East Coast,” said Diego-Arozamena, adding that this will be the first event of the team’s season. “I’ve had Maximizer for about 20 years, and we race with about 15 to 22 sailors, most of whom have been with me since the beginning. When they are not on Maximizer they are sailing for Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup teams.”
Following Friday’s Around the Island Race, on Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16, competitors will split into four fleets (Green fleet for Classics, 12 Metres and the PHRF classes; Blue and White for IRC and large boat One-Design classes; and Red for small boat One-Design classes) to race in the traditional two-day series. While others sail two races a day, PHRF classes will sail one race a day on special “Navigator” courses, which were introduced last year to engender a more relaxed racing atmosphere. The courses use government and racing marks on the southern part of Narragansett Bay and will be scored separately, so teams need not commit to a full weekend.
The Farr 40 one-designs will be putting out a lot of heat on Saturday and Sunday, as the class is using the Annual Regatta as the fourth event on its 2013 U.S. Circuit Championship and will have participated in buoy races on both Thursday and Friday as a lead-up to the weekend. Currently, the circuit scores are close, with several of the teams tied and frontrunner Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad team just one point ahead of Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible.
John Hele’s Swan 42 Daring at the 158th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta
“We have put together a new team this year and are sailing again with Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.), since he is back from the America’s Cup,” said Richardson. “Overall, I think we have a good program and the boat is sailing fast, but this fleet is always very fierce, and you can go from first to last in a race at the drop of a hat. Hopefully, we will be able to rise to the occasion when the occasion arrives.”
In addition to IRC and PHRF classes, other one-design classes are J/111, J/105, J/80, J/70, Etchells, and Herreshoff S Boats. Classic Yachts and 12 Metres will round out the fleet, lending their own elegant flair to the regatta.
The New York Yacht Club 159th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is part of the 2013 Gulf Stream Series and the first event in the New York Yacht Club Classic Yacht Series. For a full list of entries and additional information, including registration, visit the Annual Regatta event page on the New York Yacht Club's website at http://nyyc.org/yachting/racing/159th-annual-regatta.
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