There was no stealing the gold away from Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) on the final day of racing at the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
For the fourth consecutive day RCYC flew the Rolex gold spinnaker indicating their position at the top of the standings. The Toronto-based team would convert their 10-point lead over the defending champions - New York Yacht Club - into a win by 20 points when they were first across the finish line in the eleventh race of the series.
When asked his strategy for the final race, helm Terry McLaughlin confirmed that they had made the decision to go after New York Yacht Club (NYYC), but that it was tricky to do so. "It was five knots at the start but it was very very shifty and puffy, so if we let them sail their own race and we had tried to sail our own race, there is a reasonable chance that they would have put 10 boats between us. So we decided that we've got to be near them. If we put them back at the start and we're back at the start then it doesn't matter. We couldn't lose and Annapolis [Yacht Club] couldn't catch us.
" The RCYC controlled NYYC from the start and led the 22-boat fleet at every mark. NYYC would cross the line of the final race in eleventh place, for second overall on 67 points.
With McLaughlin at the helm, RCYC had finished second overall in 2009 when this Corinthian event (amateur participants) made its debut. "We sailed well [in 2009], but I think the NYYC maybe sailed a little bit better
," said McLaughlin explaining that he was happy coming second two years ago. "I thought the biggest difference [in 2009] was that they had a slightly better ability to come back in races than we did. We came back -- but they came back better. This regatta, I think we probably came back quite well. Obviously yesterday was our best, going from 19th to sixth. That's important because you can't get off the line in great shape, or get around the first mark in great shape, 11 races in a row
With four of the team, including McLaughlin, having sailed together since the 1983 America's Cup Challenger Series, and seven of the crew back from the 2009 edition, McLaughlin noted that it took a team effort to win: "I make the final decisions, but I'm relying on guys that A make the boat go fast and B tell me what's going on.
Phil Lotz, tactician for the NYYC team reflected on the series: "From a team standpoint it was great. The team did very well. The club qualifies late in the season and then we need to put a team together, so putting a lot of people together -- albeit they have experience on the boat, it was still a new team. We were pretty happy with the way the team came together. From a personal point of view it was interesting being tactician. I haven't been off the wheel of a boat for a while and it was fun. I really appreciated the chance to do it. It was a little more stressful, because it comes down to you making sure you know what is going on around the race course, keeping everybody orchestrated. Little more stressful, but I really enjoyed it and really welcomed the opportunity to do it.
When asked whether there was one turning point where RCYC just walked away with the regatta, Lotz cited their recovery in the first race on the penultimate day of the series. "They sailed a phenomenal regatta as it was, and to come back from practically dead last, when we were in the top-five, to save all those points, that was their regatta. Hats off to them.
" As chairman of NYYC's Sailing Committee, Lotz was appreciative of the work of the organizing committee in making little improvements to the event that made it shine even better than the first one. "As a competitor it was the same great camaraderie, fantastic sailing, and the teams were even better because there was more focus on the boats and they know what they're doing.
One of the big changes to the event came through on-the-water umpiring. "We're confident it's a better system, and hopefully more events will start using on-the-water umpiring,
" said Chief Umpire Peter Shrubb (BER). "It's certainly better for the event, especially when you have a large social component, to have people being able to join in after the sailing for the festivities and not have to spend hours in a jury room. It saves the competitors having to file protests against each other, so it takes it out of their hands, puts it into our hands and makes for a friendlier, more Corinthian event.
Annapolis Yacht Club finished today's race in fourth place to retain third in the overall standings with 72 points. Eastern Yacht Club was seventh for 89 points, followed by Newport Harbor Yacht Club with 101.
Complete scores are available online at www.invitationalcup.org
, along information on the 22 competing yacht club teams, crew lists, photos and news. Race tracking replay via Kattack, blog posts and daily videos are also available on the event website and you can "Like" the event on Facebook.