Monday, July 30, 2018

J/109 RUSH Wins @ NYYC Race Week

J/109s sailing NYYC Race WeekJ/121 Third in PHRF Navigators
(Newport, RI)- On the eve of the 11th edition of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, J/109 RUSH skipper Bill Sweetser was faced with a tough decision. It wasn't about how to tune his rig or organize his crew. But, it nonetheless would have a huge impact on his regatta. He'd entered his boat, a popular one-design in the Northeast, to race under IRC. But, he also had the option of racing one-design in class built by class president Bill Kneller.

"I’ve come to at least six or seven Race Weeks since I've had the 109 and I’ve mostly raced IRC and we've done pretty darn well," he says, "[NYYC sailing director] Lynn Lynch mentioned to me a day or two before the race that I should consider changing [to a one-design class]. I’m so glad that we did class racing, because we had some of the best competition we’ve ever had in the J/109 fleet. The people out there know how to sail the boat and they kept us on our toes."

J/121 sailing New York YC Race WeekThe New York Yacht Club’s Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex was first run in 1998, and took place this year from July 17 to 21 out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport. R.I. The biennial summer classic has established itself as one of the premier summer race weeks in the Northeast thanks to its attractive combination of great racing conditions off Newport and the superlative shoreside hospitality at the Club’s waterfront Clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor. Partners for the 2018 edition of Race Week at Newport include presenting sponsor Rolex, regatta sponsor BMW and regatta supporter Helly Hansen.

In fact, the competition in the J/109 class was so tough that halfway through the regatta, Sweetser's team on RUSH was looking like they'd be lucky to break into the top three. They'd won the first race, but also had two sixths, in an eight-boat fleet, in the first four races.

"It was a lot of little things," he said. "We had a lot of discussion about it. Sometimes we didn’t catch the wind shifts our competitors caught. Sometimes we weren't sure our rig tune was where it should've been, so we made some adjustments. Sometimes I didn’t drive as effectively as I could have.

"By the middle of the third day we were feeling that if we put ourselves in the right place [we could do well]. We knew we had the boat speed."

J/109 RUSH- Bill Sweetser- winners NYYC Race WeekSweetser and his crew won all three races on the third day of the event to move into contention. But they still needed to make up four points in the final two races to overtake Albrecht Goethe's HAMBURG, which had displayed remarkable consistency to that point in the regatta, finishing eight of 10 races in either second or third. RUSH picked up one point in Race 11, then went on to a comfortable win in Race 12. When HAMBURG struggled to its worst score of the regatta, a sixth, Sweetser and his crew earned the overall victory and one of three Rolex timepieces being awarded at the regatta.

"After the first couple of days, we weren’t sure we’d even end up in the top three," he says. "Winning the three races on Friday gave us a lot of confidence. With the winds today, we had a lot more confidence. It’s just like any sport; luck has something to do with it. I’d like to say it was all skill. But we did happen to be in the right place at the right time today."

In the end, behind RUSH and HAMBURG, it was Tom Sutton’s bright red LEADING EDGE from Houston, TX that took bronze to round out the podium

In the IRC 4 Class, the Queen’s Cup winner, Bill Ketcham’s J/44 MAXINE, took more even more silverware, winning the bronze; an elated Ketcham, Vice Commodore of New York YC, was pleased with their good fortune and taking silver in both events!

In the IRC 4 IRC/ ORC Combined scores class, Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION grabbed third place.

Finally, in the PHRF Navigator Class that was sailing random-leg courses inside Narragansett Bay, it was Chris Brito’s J/121 INCOGNITO also taking the bronze, winning their last race around the island with an emphatic 1st place win! Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/Daniel Forster For more New York YC Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.