(Newport, RI) – Sailors from 21 U.S. States and eight countries gathered in Newport for Sail Newport’s annual Newport Regatta on July 11-13, featuring Bacardi Newport Race Week with long-term sponsors Heineken and new sponsor Helly Hansen. The mammoth event on four circles of racing on Narragansett Bay, in its 31st year, required over 100 volunteers and partnerships with New York Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport Yacht Club and Barrington Yacht Club.
The fleet was blessed with three straight days of absolutely gorgeous weather. Friday started out slowly for some fleets with light northerlies dying out and the classic Newport seabreeze built into the 6-10 kts range. Saturday and Sunday were nearly perfect sailing conditions for both the offshore fleets in Rhode Island Sound and fleets inside Narragansett Bay; winds were SSW both days with Saturday seeing 6-12 kt breezes and Sunday was blessed with even more sun and fun with breezes building from 10-15 kts and ending in the 18-25 kts range for the last race.
The event featured two large, competitive fleets of J/24s and J/70s. The 33-boat J/70 fleet was by far the largest in the regatta and the competition was perhaps the deepest overall as well.
The 70 fleet saw competitors having remarkable roller-coaster experiences each day; such as Dave Franzel’s SPRING, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA and Jud Smith’s AFRICA all in the top five but dropping down the ladder quite far due to their finishes on the heavy air day on Sunday. Conversely, Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER raced up the ladder on the last day to take the overall win. In fact, after the first day, DAZZLER sailing with rock star Moose McClintock on board as tactician weren’t even in the top ten with their 5-3-23 record. But, their blistering “big breeze” performance Sunday with a 1-3-4 record enabled them to win class with just 16 pts net (after toss race). Sailing the most consistently all weekend was Martie Kullman’s TOUCH2PLAY, scoring 3-7-9-8-1-5 to easily take second with 24 pts net. Third was Will Welles sailing RASCAL, posting an 8-1-6-13-6-9 for 30 pts net. Rounding out the top five were BLACK RIVER RACING sailed by Doug Strebel & Jay Lutz with 31 pts net and in fifth was Tim Molony’s JOUST with 33 pts net.
The world of J/24s was subjected to a “clinic” by the current World Champions in the form of Tim Healy & John Mollicone joining forces on Team HELLY HANSEN. Taking three 1sts in six races sealed the deal for their team with a total of 8 pts. Up and coming J/24 hotshot, Mike Marshall, sailed PIPE DREAM into second by winning the first and last races and keeping Team HELLY HANSEN honest by keeping the racing close- accumulating just 10 pts. This was Mike Ingham with a total of 14 pts with three 2nds in their scoreline for 14 pts. After these “three musketeers” dominated the top three finishes nearly every race, the 4th to 7th place boats were only spread apart by 6 pts. Taking fourth was the Japanese entry, SOKOKUMARU skippered by Sumio Shimoyama, with 24 pts and fifth was Kevin Coughlin finishing with 25 pts. Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown Photography For more Bacardi Sail Newport Regatta sailing information