British are coming to the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
Published on August 9th, 2013
The American Revolution may have effected a political separation from the United Kingdom almost 250 years ago, however, the physical distance “across the pond” is trivial when it comes to shared common interests, especially sports such as sailing in which the Brits and Americans have a long tradition of friendly but determined competition. Later this summer, three British yacht club teams will travel to Newport, R.I., to compete in the 2013 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
Representing the Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Southern Yacht Club and Royal Thames Yacht Club, each 10-member crew will race against 17 other international teams aboard identically matched Swan 42s on Narragansett Bay from September 7-14, 2013. Royal Southern Yacht Club is making its first appearance in the regatta, while it will be the second and third appearances, respectively, for Royal Thames and the Royal Yacht Squadron.
“I am delighted to be returning to Newport,” said Glynn Williams (Winchester, GBR) the current Swan 45 European Champion who will helm the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) entry for the second consecutive time. “It’s hard to find a comparison for the Invitational Cup as this event offers so much for the competitors. Firstly, a fantastic regatta format built on the values of Corinthian sailing, then world-class competitive sailing in grand-prix style boats, an opportunity to compete and socialise with competitors that are members of world renowned yacht clubs and, of course, the privilege of savouring the tremendous hospitality of the NYYC at Harbour Court.”
Whether from personal experience or the tales of sailors who previously competed in the regatta, Williams’ crew is looking forward to sailing in the famed waters of Newport. RYS, located on the Isle of Wight, and NYYC have a long history of collaborating on events, highlighted by the Transatlantic Race – the start of which is hosted by NYYC in Newport, with the finish festivities hosted by RYS. Last held in 2011, the Transatlantic Race is next scheduled for 2015 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of RYS. “Above all of this, for us as members of the RYS, we are looking forward once more to both the challenge on the water and the strong bond of friendship off the water that has developed between our respective clubs over the many years we have competed against each other.”
The RYS team will include several sailors who have previously competed in the Invitational Cup as the prevailing wisdom is that prior knowledge of all aspects of this event is extremely important. Notably, however, the crew will also include two under-25s who are graduates of the RYS’s keelboat youth training program which is held each spring. It is a demanding program is designed to introduce youngsters to keelboat sailing.
Likewise, the team representing Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSYC) will also include two younger members, each of whom is a veteran of The Academy, the RSYC’s program for 18 to 25 year olds, which offers opportunities for its members to gain knowledge of the racing rules and race management in addition to racing keelboats.
Established in 1837, “the Southern” has been located in Hamble, on the south coast of England, since 1947. In 2012, the year of the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic Games, the club celebrated its 175th anniversary with a number of special events, several of which were attended by H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who has been a member of the prestigious club for over 65 years, and Patron for the last 12.
To prepare for the Invitational Cup, the RSYC team has practiced and competed on the Solent aboard Magical Mystery Tour, the Swan 42 belonging to Edward Leask (Portsmouth, GBR) who will helm the RSYC entry bolstered by a number of his regular crew, including his son Magnus. The elder Leask is a two-time Olympian (1984, 1988) in the Soling class. Leask has won the 2011 Swan European Championships, finished second in the 2012 Swan World Championships, and will be arriving in Newport fresh off a win of the 2013 Gazprom Swan European Regatta.
RSYC is one of eight teams that will compete in the Invitational Cup for the first time. “While this is our first invitation, some of us have taken part in other events at Newport, such as the Patriots Cup,” said Colin Hall, chairman of RSYC’s Sailing Committee. “We know that it will be hard fought, in good spirit, with great socials. We will play our part. There is nothing like beating NYYC!”
The Royal Thames Yacht Club (RTYC) has also made including younger members in the makeup of their team a major focus. In fact, with an average age of 35, six of the 10-member team are veterans of the RTYC Sailing Academy which provides a focus and tangible support for younger members in building their sailing skill and experience.
Helm John Greenland (London, GBR), the second-ever member of the RTYC Sailing Academy, previously represented RTYC in the Invitational Cup, as did fellow Academy veterans Samantha Evans, bow, and Nicholas Hornby, pit. The remaining crew positions were awarded following a series of selection regattas. Utilizing Sardonyx IX, the J/109 belonging to team manager and trimmer William Edwards, the team won the class’s Spring Cup and were overall winners at the Vice-Admirals Cup in Cowes. The team also embarked on a full training program that includes fitness training and sailing coaching in the UK, as well as in Newport where they competed in the Newport Regatta (finishing second) and the Swan 42 National Championship (finishing eighth).
Edwards expects the highly regarded event to be intensely competitive. “This is a big event and we are taking it very seriously and preparing as much as we can.”
Located in the exclusive Knightsbridge district of London, the Royal Thames is the oldest yacht club continuously in existence in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1775 when the Duke of Cumberland, brother of George III, put up a silver cup for a race on the Thames and formed the Cumberland Fleet. The Royal Thames Yacht Club name originates from 1830 when William IV came to the throne. With no sailing water on its doorstep, RTYC has returned to its roots on the Thames River, running both team and fleet racing at the Queen Mary Reservoir.
About the Invitational Cup
First held in 2009, the biennial New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex fuses five days of intense racing aboard identical Swan 42s with a glamorous social schedule to deliver an unrivaled event for competitors from around the globe.
Competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors and members of the yacht clubs they represent; they must also be nationals of their countries. For 2013, the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will welcome competitors from the following yachts clubs: the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS), Japan Sailing Federation (JPN), Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN), Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP), Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN), Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL), Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG), Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR), Yacht Club Argentino (ARG) and the Yacht Club Italiano (ITA), which have previously competed alongside host New York Yacht Club (USA). New to the event are the Royal Belgian Sailing Club (BEL), Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (AUS), Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS), Royal Southern Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Swedish Yacht Club (SWE), as well as the three teams determined by the outcome of the 24-club U.S. Qualifying Series held at NYYC: Larchmont Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club.
For more information on the 2013 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, contact NYYC Communications Director Stuart Streuli at email@example.com, or visit http://nyyc.org/yachting-public and follow the link to the Invitational Cup event pages.
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About Nautor’s Swan
Nautor’s Swan is a world leader in sailing yachts, with close to half a century of experience building Swans in Pietarsaari, Finland. The SwanLine ranges from 53 to 115 foot yachts, which combine performance and elegance with unrivalled craftsmanship and build quality. www.nautorswan.com