NEWPORT, R.I. (June 16, 2013) – The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex—the oldest regatta in the country—has entered the history books for the 159th time. With 153 teams competing, the 2013 edition also was the largest Annual Regatta on record, with enough action on the water and ashore to guarantee the event’s venerable reputation into the next century. The regatta was blessed with great sailing conditions all three days, starting with the immensely popular Around Jamestown Island Race, a 20nm affair that can challenge the best sailors anywhere. A massive frontal system was moving offshore, greeting the sailors with 20-30 kts of NNE breeze on Friday's Round Island race. Saturday saw beautiful SSW breezes in the 6 to 13 kts range with partly cloudy skies and balmy temperatures. By Sunday, a weak cold front presented the fleet with dazzling blue skies and a cool fresh Northerly blowing 8-15 kts in the morning that slowly died off by noon, followed by 6-14 kts of classic SSW sea-breezes under sunny skies in the afternoon.
“We are proud and privileged to be able to open our home to this many yachtsman and sailors that come from all over the world, both professional and Corinthian, with great crews,” said Commodore Thomas Harrington after an Annual Regatta dinner that hosted 800 sailors and is as much of a tradition as the racing. “We extend the hospitality of the New York Yacht Club both on the water and off, because what we are about is sharing in our traditions. And like anything else, to have a great party you need people to come, and they came.”
J/Teams were a significant part of the regatta, and the parties! One-design J's included J/70s, J/80s, J/105s and J/111s. Sailing on the Red course located just north of Newport Bridge in Narragansett Bay were the J/70s, which also are preparing for their first J/70 North American's in Annapolis, MD. Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT lived up to its name by launching itself into first place on Sunday after winning three of four races to displace Saturday’s leader SUGAR DADDY, skippered by Mark Ploch. Finishing third in the eleven boat class was Heather Gregg-Earl and Joe Bardenheier's MUSE. Rounding out the top five were brothers Blake & Lud Kimbrough's NOSTALGIA in fourth and Don & Tim Finkle's JUNIOR in fifth.
Racing on the same course were the J/80s, also preparing for their North Americans next week being held concurrently with Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week. Taking the crown with three bullets on the last day were Will & Marie Crump sailing R80. Finishing with three 2nds on the final day to snag second overall was John Storck and family racing their famous RUMOR! Taking three 3rds on Sunday to take the bronze on the podium was Jeff Johnstone racing LITTLE FEAT. Taking fourth was Guy Nickerson's PRESSURE and fifth was Peter McCarthy's EAGLE.
Sailing outside on Rhode Island Sound were the Blue, White and Green race courses. Both sailing days brought challenging conditions to these fleets. In the J/111 class, Henry Brauer's FLEETWING sailed a very consistent series, taking two 1sts and three 2nds to win with 8 pts, 5 pts clear of the fleet. In a donnybrook behind them were Marty Roesch's VELOCITY and Doug Curtiss's WICKED 2.0 helmed by designer Rod Johnstone. The last two races determined the outcome, with VELOCITY taking a 1-3 to take second overall while WICKED 2.0 sailed a 4-2 to finish third overall behind by one point! It could not have been closer racing overall for the 111s, with positions changing virtually every leg. Of note, was that FLEETWING never rounded the first mark in first place and three boats won races, including Dave Brodsky and Fred van Liew's ODYSSEY.
Sailing on the same course as the J/111s were IRC 3 Class. It just so happened this class of eight boats had to contend with five incredibly experienced offshore racing teams sailing J/122s and J/44s. In the end, the J/122s dominated with Mike Bruno's WINGS taking first by a whisker over the US Naval Academy Sailing Squadron's Neil McMillan sailing DOLPHIN. Third was Paul Milo's team aboard ORION. Fourth in class was the gorgeous aquamarine J/44 GOLD DIGGER skippered by Jim Bishop from Jamestown, RI.
Over on the more westerly White Course were IRC 4 and the J/105s. In IRC 4, Bill Sweetser sailed his J/109 RUSH fast and furiously, enough to take second and eclipse one of New York YC's more famous boats, Vice Commodore Rives Potts' 48 foot CARINA.
The J/105s had incredibly close competition with just two points separating the top three! In the end, finishing strongly to take overall honors was Sean & Susan Doyle's KESTREL from Cos Cob, CT. Settling for second was Fed Darlington's TONTO and taking third after leading the first day were Mark & Jolene Masur's TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth, TX.
The Green Class teams were sailing the PHRF Navigators races, courses that took them around Narragansett Bay and into Rhode Island Sound. In PHRF 6 class, the J/92s SPIRIT sailed by EC Helme took third and in PHRF 7 class, the J/29 MEDDLER skippered by Brian Kiley finished second.
Finally, past J/105 North American Champion, Stew Neff, skippering his Etchells 22 SCIMITAR, held the lead over two days and five races to win his class. "This weekend was full of tricky conditions and tough competition, but we sailed well enough to win the regatta," said Neff, who won the Etchells North American Championship in 1992 and is preparing for the 2013 event scheduled here next week. "This weekend was great practice for the North Americans coming up this week; about half the fleet was here." Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster For more New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information