For the 83 boats competing at New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, yesterday's two races held in strong, 15-17 knot breeze were a welcome finish to three days of competitive racing.
Over 500 sailors competed for class championships in eight one-design classes: Farr 395, Farr 40, Swan 45, J/105, J/35, J/120, J/109 and Henderson 30. Masquerade was named "Best Performing One Design Boat," and its owner Tom COATES of San Francisco was awarded a Rolex timepiece.
"For the race committee to honour me and the J/105 this way is really fabulous,"
said Coates, who with this win was named the J/105 Southern New England champion. He explained that racing in the 28-boat class was some of the most competitive he has ever experienced. "This was a fantastic event" he said. "We did 10 races in three days! We typically do eight in a week, in Key West. I've always wanted to do shorter races. It keeps it exciting all day. By the time you establish your position on the race course, the race is over, and it is time to do it again."
Coates keeps two J/105s, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, in his hometown of San Francisco. "We do 12 regattas a season with the same core group of three to six people," he said. The consistency in crew work came in handy in the last race of the day, which Masquerade needed to finish better than fifth. "There were three general recalls, so we had to go through four sequences. It was nerve racking, but by the time we got going, we knew what everyone else was planning."
They finished fourth and clinched the series.
Consistency also paid off in the Farr 395 class for Roger WAGNER'S Endurance, which posted only one fourth among firsts and seconds in the class's "no throwout" series. The boat, named after Shackleton's adventure to the South Pole, won both of its races today in the eight-boat class. "It' s never as easy as it looks," said Wagner of Stamford, Conn. "Over the last couple of days, the crew continued to put in 110 percent. We put in some hard work, and we talked about anything that didn't seem right and the crew never let down."
Race Week doubled as the Farr 395 North American championship.
With yesterday's two bullets added to the four earned earlier in the series, Craig Speck's Vim won the nine-boat Swan 45 class. "Today we had to get two good starts,"
said Speck of Grand Rapids, Mich. "We were in phase with the wind and were able to get into good lanes and control where we wanted to go. I felt I could win, but Doug (Douglass, owner of Goombay Smash, the second-place boat) was always there, so we executed our plan and got some breaks on the shifts."
Speck credits the entire crew with keeping the boat speed steady. "The communication between me and Moose McClintock and Dave Armitrage trimming the sails went really well. They kept feeding information about the shifts and puffs. It really was a whole team approach. Everyone respects each other, and the chemistry is fantastic."
For Rob CAMPBELL of Wilton, Conn., winning the J/120 class was a bonus to the sailing. "Race Week is a good way for me and my friends to get together,"
said Campbell. "All six of the adults in our crew grew up sailing together, and we also had two of their kids along with us. So, we had two generations of sailors onboard. We sent the kids up to the bow for the hard work and they are terrific."
Six boats competed in the J/120 class with Robert Caraballal's Sunday River of New York, N.Y. in second.
With seven firsts and two seconds, Dave NICKERSON and Dana SENIFF'S Split Decision of Noank, Conn. won the J/35 class by 5.25 points over Aunt Jean, co-owned by Jim Sagerholm and Jerry Sagerholm of Annapolis. Six boats competed for the North American championship. "We love sailing in Newport,"
said Nickerson. "I remember in 2002, when we won our class, it was the first time that we had ever sailed four races in one day. And this year, to have two days of four races was great!"
Another boat that dominated its class was Electra, owned by Craig CROSSLEY of Barrington, R.I. Electra posted a total of 17 points in the newly formed J/109 class, with the closest competitor, Storm owned by Rick Lyall of Stonington, Conn., with 23.75 points overall. "This was hard core racing,"
said Crossley, whose son Vincent sails with him. "We have never sailed four races in one day."
"After the first race on the first day (they finished fourth), we said 'we've got to keep racing and do better.' After that, everything started to click and we kept getting better."
Crossley attributed the boat's success to the team's positive atmosphere. He recalled looking around the course and seeing one of sailing's great names, Rod Johnstone, on a boat next to him at the first start. "We knew we had to do well against Rod,"
said Crossley. "At the end of the last race, we were both crossing the finish line together. We thought they had us, but we wound up winning it by an inch. And we won the series."
Barking Mad returned to the podium as Farr 40 class champion. Owned by Jim RICHARDSON of Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I., Barking Mad won its class at the 2002 NYYC Race Week. Next up for Richardson is preparing for the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, set for September 8-11 in San Francisco. "That's my goal,"
he said. "No one has ever won the worlds twice, and we're setting out to be the first to do so."
Nine boats competed for the North American championship, including Gem, campaigned by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Virago, owned by Stuart and MarrGwen Townsend of Chicago, Ill. finished second, with Jeff Siegal's Appreciation in third.
And in the Henderson 30 class, Jeffrey GALE'S Beautiful World of Abaco, Fla. won convincingly, turning in seven first-place finishes for a total score of 9.25 points. Michael Carroll's New Wave of Clearwater, Fla. finished second with 17.25 points.
Over 180 boats competed in the fourth running of New York Yacht Club Race Week presented by Rolex. The biennial event hosted 79 entries in the four-day "first half," devoted to IMS, PHRF, Classic Yacht and 12 Meter racing. Splitting the handicap and one-design portions of Race Week was the Distance Race that was sailed on Wednesday and scored separately.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.