Newport, RI (September 16, 2021) – If it wasn’t the rough seas, it was the wayward breeze. Everywhere the sailors competing in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup 2021 turned today, there was something between them and the furrow so essential to a solid finish in a competitive fleet.
Name it… a wave, an offset, a windless zone, a trench of disturbed air, a palisade of competitors on starboard tack. It was one of the toughest days on the water in the history of this legendary event.
But intense pressure creates diamonds and, with their backs to the proverbial wall, the San Diego Yacht Club achieved a performance gem, winning both races and saving their podium hopes after a poor start, by their high standards, at the regatta. The 2019 finalist now sits in fourth place.
“We’ve had a few struggles the last few days, and we knew we had to go out and bounce back and find it,” said Jake LaDow, San Diego Yacht Club tactician. “We were able to do two hairpin starts, which really allowed us to have very simple races, minimizing tacking and staying clear of the other boats.
The Southern Yacht Club also shone today, turning a near-disaster in Race 8, when they had to execute two penalty turns, into a fourth and extending their overall lead to 13 points. With four races to go, this regatta is to lose for Southern.
They displayed exceptional speed and, except for one decision today, superb tactics. The race for the podium remains wide open, with at least five teams competing. And, while teams in the bottom half of the fleet may no longer dream of a place in the top three, there is still a lot of pride on the line in the minor rankings. For example, only 8 points separate the 15th from the 11th.
“Definitely,” LaDow said when asked if the SDYC team had some of their mojo back today. “We had a very good synergy between Tyler [Sinks, skipper] and drew [Freides, main trimmer] keeping the boat at a constant heel level in super tough and swollen conditions, and that gave us a lot of confidence.
Southern’s comeback was remarkable in large part because of the impact a poor result would have had on the regatta. If the SYC had finished where it had crossed the first mark – as a teenager – the race for the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup 2021 would be wide open.
But this race rescue was not Lazarus’ only impression of the day. The Royal Canadian Yacht Club was dead last, by far, shortly after the start of Race 7, the first competition of the day.
“We had a pretty shocking start and ended up doing a 720 ° after the start,” said Lance Fraser of RCYC. “It’s really hard to come back. The good thing is when you’re that far away it’s pretty easy to navigate a clear lane, and you can focus on the boat speed and the numbers, which we did.
“We were able to do our own race the whole race including the downwinds. We made some big gains on the downwind edges sailing alone, and I think we had a good mode as well.
After an hour of difficult sailing, the team crossed the finish line in fifth position.
“It was a little shocking, even for us,” Fraser said. “Terry [McLaughlin, RCYC skipper] did a great job, the whole team did a great job sticking to it, sailing fast, keeping our mode, sailing with the numbers. When you do that good things happen and we were fortunate enough to come back to fifth place.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club have been a regular participant in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, missing just one in seven, and have finished first twice and second once. Fraser is part of the second generation of Sailors in the Club Invitational Cup, competing for the second time.
“The boats are amazing,” he said. “It’s an extremely close race. Every centimeter counts, every tip counts, every shift counts. If you find yourself on the wrong side of certain things, you get deep and it’s really hard to go back. We have had a decent regatta so far, we have to keep pushing, practically no more mistakes at this point.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club is currently in seventh place, 13 points out of the top five. But the team is moving in the right direction, with four consecutive fifth or better results.
For the San Diego Yacht Club it’s a similar situation, there is no margin for error if they have any hope of matching their finish in 2019. However, now is not the time to throw a carefully designed playbook that has proven effective in the past.
“Nothing changes,” LaDow said. “We must always trust the process, trust ourselves and trust each person in their role to do our best. Having said that, we will be looking for a day similar to today.
Twelve races are scheduled from September 14-18 for 19 teams from nine countries, with a live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.
Event information – Results – Facebook – YouTube
Results of the third day (8 races)
The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a biennial regatta hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbor Court in Newport, RI. Since the event was first held in 2009, it has attracted top amateur sailors from 45 of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs from 21 countries.
After five editions in the Swan 42 class, the 2021 event will be the second to be contested aboard the IC37, designed by Mark Mills. The strict one-design nature of this specially designed class, combined with the fact that each boat is owned and maintained by the New York Yacht Club, will ensure a level playing field not seen in any other amateur sailing competition on large boats.