Best of the Best Coming to San Diego
Published on October 24th, 2017
Racing for one of the most coveted trophies on the West Coast, the 103rd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup will be sailed on October 27-29 in San Diego, CA. Named after Sir Thomas Lipton, the famous yachtsman and tea baron, the Lipton Cup is San Diego Yacht Club’s signature fall regatta.
This year twelve teams representing yacht clubs from across the country will race on San Diego Bay for the chance to win the prestigious trophy and determine which club’s team is the best of the best. Held at the doorstep of downtown, the regatta will be held in a round robin format using equalized J/105s provided by owners of local Southern California boats.
The twelve teams competing this year are: Balboa Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club, and St. Francis Yacht Club.
“There can be a lot of pressure to win this regatta and you only get so many chances before your club replaces you, so it was a huge relief to win on our third attempt, and an incredible achievement at the same time,” says defending skipper Jon Pinckney of Newport Harbor Yacht Club. “By equalizing the fleet of J/105’s, and implementing a round robin format, SDYC has truly created a level playing field where everyone’s speed is the same.
“Success is determined by execution of fundamentals like starting, decision making, and consistency. Three years ago we surprisingly found no correlation between our practices and overall results, so we conveniently no longer practice ahead of the event. As long as you can get the sails up and down on a J/105, your only focus is to be the most fundamentally sound team for three days.
“It’s the most basic lifelong strategy, and at the same time the most difficult to execute, because eleven other outstanding teams all share the same game plan! Any team can win, and everyone experiences pain and adversity. No throwouts and it always comes down to the last race. We would love to win again, but you just never know. Welcome to the Lipton Cup!”
Previously, Newport Harbor Yacht Club had not won the event since 1980. Winners in the past five years have been San Diego Yacht Club (2015, 2013, 2011), St. Francis Yacht Club (2014), and California Yacht Club (2012). Chicago Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club will be vying for their first win of the trophy, while San Francisco Yacht Club’s last win was back in 1916.
“Since a forward thinking group helped us reinvigorate this regatta back during 2011, SDYC has run six incredible competitive and fully subscribed events,” notes commodore John Reiter. “With equalized boats using the same suits of sails designed and used specifically for the regatta, it has become one of the few ‘must sail’ events among the most competitive clubs in the U.S., and we’re proud to host the most elite sailors the competing clubs have to offer.”