With less than a month left until the start of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) 150th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, the fleet is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever assembled.
Adding to the anticipation of a red-hot contest off Newport, R.I., for the June 11-13 event is the debut of the Transpac 52 class on the East Coast and designation of the Annual Regatta as the fleet's inaugural East Coast Championship. Additional information about the NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex can be found online at www.nyyc.org. Deadline for entries is June 7.
"Five high-performance Transpac 52s will have their own class start in the regatta's first-ever Around the Island Race for the Rolex Cup on Friday, June 11,"
said Steven WOLFF, chair of the NYYC sailing committee. "In IMS fleet racing on Saturday and Sunday, they will be dual-scored using the TP52 class rule."
Three of the five Transpac 52s entered - Sjambok, owned by Michael BRENNAN of Annapolis, Md.; Esmeralda, owned by Makoto Uematsu of Japan; and Bright Star, owned by Richard Breeden of Greenwich, Conn. - were recently built at Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol, R.I.
"The Annual Regatta is a special occasion,"
said Breeden. "There is always great racing, with a superb race committee in a beautiful setting. We are really looking forward to our first racing
in this exciting new class."
Onboard Esmeralda will be America's Cup veteran and two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Ken READ. "One of the great rules in the TP52 class is that the owners are the drivers for inshore racing,"
said Read, who will serve as tactician aboard. "The boats are fantastic to sail, as they're capable of 18 knots downwind in 22 knots of breeze. I can't wait!"
The other two entries are Lightwave, the former Alta Vita, owned by David FORD of Bristol, R.I., and Rosebud, owned by Roger STURGEON of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Rosebud is fresh off a very successful Caribbean race season that included a second place in class at the International Rolex Regatta and a class victory at Antigua Race Week.
Tom Pollack of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the TP52 class executive director, explained that the TP52 class rule - known as a box rule for its strict maximum parameters - allows some creativity by the owner. "Speed factors such as length, minimum displacement, maximum draft and maximum sail area are controlled,"
he said. "However, the rule encourages development with such factors as foil shape, hull shape, construction, deck layout and rigging."
An owner-inspired detail onboard Bright Star is a custom navigation station. "With strict one-design boats you don't have the ability to customize,"
added Breeden. "To me it's a little more special that there are some design details that I worked on with the designer for my boat, and I didn't have to give up the level, head-to-head racing to do so."
After the 150th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, the Transpac 52 class schedule moves on to the Newport-Bermuda Race and then to the Midwest for the Chicago to Mackinac Race. In September, the fleet will participate in the St. Francis Yacht Club's Big Boat Series presented by Rolex where an inaugural national champion will be named.
Hosted at Harbour Court, the NYYC's Newport clubhouse, the 150th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex kicks off the biennial Onion Patch Series that includes the Annual Regatta, the Newport-Bermuda Race (June 18) and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Anniversary Regatta (June 25). In honour of its sesquicentennial, the traditional two-day Annual Regatta expands to three days with Friday's addition of the Around the Island Race for the Rolex Cup. This optional race, open to all participants and free of entry fees, honors those yacht clubs that supported on-the-water activities of the NYYC before its acquisition of Harbour Court in 1987.