The Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) won today’s opening race in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and was pre-empted from showing its prowess in a second race when sailing had to be abandoned due to wind and technical difficulties. The race, sailed in lumpy seas and an 18-knot easterly on Rhode Island Sound, started the regatta off with lots of action, as the Canadian boat, helmed by Terry McLaughlin, battled most closely with the New York Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL) and Japan Sailing Federation for best position between the start and the first mark two miles to windward.
“Japan (with Makoto Uematsu steering) had the best start,” said McLaughlin “and we had a good lane, but a huge left shift made us overstand the mark. There were boats farther to our left, but the Japanese were not as affected and rounded first.” The Canadians passed the Japanese team on the run to round the bottom mark first and carried their lead to the finish. New York (Phil Lotz of New Canaan, Conn./Newport, R.I., skippering), Royal Cork (Anthony O’Leary skippering), and the Japan Sailing Federation finished second, third, and fourth, respectively, with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Mark Watson skippering) rounding out the top five.
L-R, 10, Royal Yacht Squadron, Oscar Strugstad; Mutiny, Yacht Club Italiano, Carlo A. Puri Negri;
16, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Mark Watson; 06, Royal Thames Yacht Club, John Greenland, and
15, Real Club Nautico de Barcelona, Jordi Tarré. Dan Nerney photo.
The Yacht Club Italiano’s skipper Carlo Puri Negri could have been happier at the end of the day. As it was, shortly after the start, the stitching at the head of his jib failed, causing the webbing to pull from the sail and render it useless. He was sitting in fourth, he said, at the time of the mishap. “We sailed the rest of the race with just a mainsail,” said Puri Negri. The same thing happened to the Nylandska Jaktklubben team (FIN), with Leonardo Ferragamo at the helm, and the jibs were promptly rushed to shore and repaired while the fleet moved from “outside” on the Sound to an “inside” course on northern Narragansett Bay where the waters are more protected.
“While the fleet waited for the second race to start, the wind increased to 22 knots,” said Swan 42 Class President Paul Zabetakis, explaining that this is the limit for constant winds in this regatta in accordance with the NOR, “Another jib had failed in the meantime, and that, coupled with the sustained wind strength, made it clear the racing needed to be abandoned.
“To North’s credit, they jumped right on the situation to fix the first two jibs, and tonight they will rework all the jibs so that racing can get underway again tomorrow,” said Zabetakis.
The regatta continues through Saturday (Sept. 19) when a Parade of Nations through Newport Harbor will precede the final races to determine the winner and will showcase the 19 teams from 14 countries competing here.