Over the past two days, the race committee has run eight races for each of the eight one-design classes, leaving everyone a little tired but overall very happy.
Virago, Stuart TOWNSEND'S Farr 40 from Chicago, Ill. On which Larson is calling tactics, leads its class with one day of racing remaining. Barking Mad, owned by Jim RICHARDSON of Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I. is in second overall, with John Thomson's Solution of Port Washington, N.Y. in third.
"We had a good dogfight with Barking Mad around the course,"
said Larson. "In the last race they had a great start and tacked over to consolidate on the fleet, but they got caught up in the pack. They did a good job trying to get a boat between us, but in the end we just nipped Diana to stay ahead of Barking Mad. We had good fortune with the shifts and traffic; things fell our way. Stuart does a great job of driving, and it makes my job easier to find the lanes we need to do well."
Under threatening stormy skies the race committee sent the fleet of 83 boats to three separate racecourses on Rhode Island Sound. The 15-18 knot northeast wind inspired the race committee to set the windward mark close to shore along Brenton Reef, the menacing reef that has claimed many boats over the years.
The Farr 40s shared the Blue course with the Farr 395 class where Roger Wagner's Endurance of Stamford, Conn. is in first place, and the Swan 45 class, with William DOUGLASS'S Goombay Smash of Stamford, Conn., in the lead. With seven races completed, one throw-out score is allowed in all but the Farr 40 and Farr 395 classes, which typically use that format.
"Throwouts are akin to having the U.S. Open (in golf) allowing competitors to have a mulligan and take a shot over,"
said Richardson. "This format rewards consistent efforts. With no throw out, the better teams win. But, you need to sail a bit more conservatively and not take big risks going around the buoys."
In the Green Fleet, Split Decision, co-owned by Dana SENIFF of Noank, Conn. and Dave NICKERSON of Hopkinton, Mass. old college sailing buddies from Tufts, retained the lead in the 11-boat J/35 class and are 4.25 points ahead of Aunt Jean, owned by Christofel SAGERHOLM of Annapolis, Md.
"It's a very competitive fleet,"
said Nickerson. "The top four or five boats are always within two boat lengths of each other. It's great. We haven't gotten together for a one-design event of this caliber in a while, and everyone is sailing well."
In order to win the J/35 North American championship here this week, Nickerson is confident that they will "continue doing what we're doing. We need to get off the line in reasonable shape and go fast. It's all basic stuff, nothing fancy."
Electra, owned by Craig CROSSLEY of Barrington, R.I., retained the lead in the J/109 class. The Henderson 30 class saw the leadership change to Jeffrey GALE'S Beautiful World of Abaco, Fla. Rob Cambell's Braveheart of Noroton, Conn. is now in the lead of the six-boat J/120 class.
The largest fleet here is the White Fleet, made up entirely of 28 J/105s and led by Hoss, owned by Glenn DARDEN of Fort Worth, Texas, with Reese Hilliard helming.
Racing concludes tomorrow with the Rolex Trophy Ceremony scheduled for the evening. In addition to class winners, major championships will be determined in the Farr 395, Henderson 30 and J/35 classes (North American), Farr 40 class (East Coast), and J/105 class (Southern New England). A Rolex timepiece will be awarded to the best performing one-design yacht overall.
Over 180 boats are competing 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 is the Distance Race that was sailed on Wednesday and scored separately.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.