Diverse Fleet Readies for U.S. Qualifying Series Regatta

Published on March 10th, 2014

For 24 yacht clubs from across the country, the first hurdle to winning the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex has been crossed. The New York Yacht Club has now announced the clubs that have been invited to compete in the third U.S. Qualifying Series for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup (USQS).

The regatta will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., Sept. 2 to 6. The top three finishers will earn a berth in the 2015 NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, yachting’s preeminent one-design, Corinthian keelboat competition, alongside the host New York Yacht Club and a prestigious collection of top international clubs.

Among the invitees to the 2014 USQS are Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club, the San Francisco Yacht Club, and Seattle Yacht Club. All three sailed in the 2013 Invitational Cup, finishing second, 13th, and seventh, respectively, and are eagerly looking toward another opportunity to compete for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. “The entire club had a great time with the whole process and is looking forward to another campaign,” said Andrew Loe, who skippered the Seattle Yacht Club entry last September.

May the Best Club Win
However, the USQS is much more than a stepping stone. With clubs from around the country sending their best amateur talent to compete on Narragansett Bay, the USQS is as close to a national club championship as exists in the United States. The regatta will be sailed in J/70s and Sonars. As with the Invitational Cup, the boats for the USQS will be equalized with identical rig tuning and sails. The teams that succeed in the event do so because they have better teamwork and boat speed, and make better tactical decisions.

“It’s shaping up to be a great contest,” says USQS event chair Harry Dunning. “We’ve worked hard to maintain geographic diversity and to involve clubs that haven’t previously done the regatta. With two very different platforms, it’ll be a great test of keelboat sailing skill. The best all-around team should win, as opposed to the team with the most experience in a specific boat.”

Loe led his Seattle Yacht Club team to second in the 2012 USQS.  “The keys to success will be the same as they have always been: minimizing mistakes and being fast,” said Loe [far right, with the SYC team from the 2012 USQS and, at left, past NYYC Commodore Robert Towse]. “The fleet is very strong and a simple error can cost you a huge percentage of the fleet very quickly.”

First-timers Eager to Make Their Mark
This year’s field includes nine clubs that will be competing in the regatta for the first time. Among those clubs is Beverly Yacht Club, from Marion, Mass. Founded in 1872, Beverly YC is one of the oldest clubs in the United States.

“The Beverly Yacht Club is truly a sailor’s club, and since the first Invitational Cup, we have admired the regatta, the purity of the competition and the caliber and character of the sailors,” said BYC Rear Commodore Jack Gierhart. “As a small club with a history of our members competing at top regattas, we are honored to be invited to the Qualifying Series, and excited about the opportunity to line up against the top sailors in this country for one of the coveted spots in the 2015 Invitational Cup.”

As was the case for the two previous editions of the USQS, the 24 invited teams will be split into two fleets. Each fleet will race in both the J/70s and Sonars during the preliminary round, with the top six teams in each grouping advancing to the Gold Fleet finals, which will be sailed in the J/70s.

Photo credits: Billy Black/New York Yacht Club
Top: For the second time, the finals for the U.S. Qualifying Series for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will be sailed in equalized J/70s.
Middle: The New York Yacht Club’s fleet of Sonars will be used for the preliminary rounds of the U.S. Qualifying Series for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. The Silver Fleet finals will also be sailed in the Sonars. 

Invited Clubs for the 2014 U.S. Qualifying Series for
the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
American Yacht Club NY
Balboa Yacht Club * CA
Bayview Yacht Club MI
Beverly Yacht Club * MA
California Yacht Club CA
Carolina Yacht Club SC
Chicago Yacht Club * IL
Coral Reef Yacht Club * FL
Eastern Yacht Club MA
Fishing Bay Yacht Club VA
Harbor Island Yacht Club * TN
Indian Harbor Yacht Club CT
Larchmont Yacht Club NY
Little Traverse Yacht Club MI
Nantucket Yacht Club MA
New Bedford Yacht Club * MA
Newport Harbor Yacht Club CA
Rush Creek Yacht Club * TX
The San Francisco Yacht Club CA
Seattle Yacht Club WA
Shelter Island Yacht Club * NY
South Carolina Yacht Club * SC
Southern Yacht Club LA
Texas Corinthian Yacht Club TX

* first-time USQS competitor

The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex is a regatta for yacht clubs from around the world and their sailors. It has become an important Corinthian (amateur) sailing competition. The racing is in NYYC Swan 42s – the eighth one-design class created by the New York Yacht Club since 1900.

In the inaugural NYYC Invitational Cup in 2009, 19 yacht club teams from 14 countries and four continents competed. The second Invitational Cup in 2011 included 22 yacht club teams from 16 nations from six continents. The team from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, skippered by Terry McLaughlin, won both the 2011 and 2013 events; the New York Yacht Club, with skipper Phil Lotz, won the 2009 event.

The U.S. Qualifying Series is held in even-numbered years and serves as the opportunity for three yacht club teams from the United States to earn an invitation to the following year’s Invitational Cup. Larchmont Yacht Club won the 2012 USQS and finished a close second to RCYC in the 2013 Invitational Cup.

Source: Stuart Streuli, Communications Director, New York Yacht Club

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