The Regatta is the longest running event of its kind in the United States. For this year's anniversary, Friday's first-ever Around the Island Race turned the traditional two-day event into a three-day one that then hosted 127 boats over the weekend.
Sunday's fleet was treated to early southwest breezes of 10-12 knots and sunshine that lent sparkle to the flat waters of Rhode Island Sound where racing on three circles concluded. The wind had increased to 15-17 by the end of the day, allowing for multiple races and the crowning of victors in each of 15 classes (five for IMS, two for PHRF, one for NYYC Cruising Rule, two for Classics, and one each for 12 Metre, TP52, J/105, Farr 40 and Mumm 30).
Only the TP52, Farr 40 and Mumm classes counted scores from Friday's otherwise-optional Around the Island Race in their series. In addition, the Farr 40s and Mumms sailed races prior to the Around the Island Race.
In Farr 40s, Jim RICHARDSON'S (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.) Barking Mad posted overall victory after having won four races in his class's nine-race series. "We didn't have to race the last race but we did,"
said Richardson, who is a Farr 40 World champion from 1998 and is preparing for the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds this September in San Francisco. "My crew hikes harder than anyone out there, and we go to weather so well that we can pull away from the others even when we're in a bad lane. We have a nucleus of the team that has been sailing together for four years, so it's little nuances, now, that we work on."
Nelson STEPHENSON'S (Southport, Conn.) Mumm 30 Teambold also counted four victories in nine races, taking out Richard Perini's Foreign Affair, the favored second-place finisher from Sydney. Both boats are preparing for next fall's Worlds in Toronto. "There was a full range of air, from light to medium to heavy. It was a real test, but we've had the same group sailing for the last three years and everything is starting to gel,"
said Stephenson, who like Richardson in the Farr 40s, is president of his class.
Possibly the most anticipated of contests was that for bragging rights as the high-performance TP52 class's first-ever East Coast Champion. That honour went to Makoto UEMATSUE'S (Tokyo, Japan) Esmeralda, which topped the five boats making their East Coast debut with five first-place finishes.
"These boats are so exciting to sail,"
said Ken READ (Newport), who served as Esmeralda's tactician. "In fact, it's better than advertised. We were going so fast compared to the Farr 60s that they looked like they were standing still."
Though the NYYC Annual Regatta began in 1845, one year after the founding of the Club, it lost 10 years to such devastating events as the Civil and World Wars. Its 150th Anniversary set records for attendance both on the water and at social events held at Harbour Court, the club's Newport clubhouse. The event is part of the biennial Onion Patch Series, which also includes the Newport-Bermuda Race, which starts June 18, and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Anniversary Regatta, starting June 25.
The Rolex Cup, a newly commissioned engraved Sperrin Crystal bowl, was awarded to the top two-boat team representing any participating yacht club in Friday's Around the Island Race. The race honored those yacht clubs that supported the on-the-water activities of the NYYC before its acquisition of Harbour Court in 1987. The winning team represented Indian HarborYacht Club and was comprised of John WAYT'S (Jamestown, R.I.) Vixen, a Swan 44 which finished sixth in PHRF class and Martin Jacobson's (Greenwich, Conn.) Crescendo, a Swan 44, which won in IMS Cruiser/Racer Class 4.
Full results are available on the New York Yacht Club website at the address below.