Team Race Tour Comes to Narragansett Bay

Published on August 6th, 2015

Over the course of three weekends in August, New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court (Newport, RI) will host a trio of prestigious team racing regattas featuring teams from some of the oldest yacht clubs in the country. The competitors will include Olympians, world champions, college sailors of the year and numerous collegiate All-America selections. The racing will use the Clubs fleet of identical Sonar sailboats (designed by NYYC member Bruce Kirby), which will each be crewed by three or four sailors.

“These three events at Harbour Court always bring out the best team racers in the country, and the [New York Yacht] Club is very proud of the tradition we are building in keelboat team racing, says Peter Benedetto, co-chair of the NYYC Team Racing Committee. “Of course, we’re rooting for team NYYC, but it’s really great to see the effort being put in by clubs across the country, in all age categories, in developing and training for this regatta and others held during the course of the year at other yacht clubs. The Club’s commitment to keelboat team racing was strengthened this year by the addition of eight sonars, to our original fleet of 13, plus the purchase of 21 new suits of sails and a custom support trailer.”

While there is no official national championship for keelboat team racing, these three events are held in very high regard throughout the team racing community.

Morgan Cup, August 14 to 16
Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy, August 21 to 23
Grandmasters Team Race Regatta, August 29 to 30

Competing Clubs
(M = Morgan Cup, H = Hinman Trophy, G = Grandmasters)
Annapolis (Md.) YC (G)
Balboa (Calif.) YC (M)
Beverly (Marion, Mass.) YC (H)
Eastern (Marblehead, Mass.) YC (M, H)
Eastport (Annapolis, Md.) YC (M)
Hampton (Hampton, Va.) YC (G)
Indian Harbor (Greenwich, Conn.) YC (H)
Larchmont (N.Y.) YC (M)
Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, Calif.) YC (M, G)
New York YC (M, H, G)
Norton (Darien, Conn.) YC (H, G)
Royal Thames (United Kingdom) YC (M)
Seawanhaka (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) CYC (M, H)
Southern (New Orleans) YC (M, H, G)
St. Francis (San Francisco) YC (H, G)
Texas Corinthian (Kemah, Texas) YC (H, G)

The matches are sailed in a three-on-three format on Narragansett Bay, between Rose Island and Goat Island. Skippers for the Hinman regatta must be 45, with each crew at least 40 years of age. For the Grandmasters regatta, skippers must be 55, with each crew member at least 45 years old. Unlike in collegiate or scholastic matches, spinnakers are utilized for the Morgan Cup and Hinman Masters regattas, placing a premium on sail handling and technique.

Thanks to made an unprecedented comeback on the final day, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, from Newport Beach, Calif., became the first team other than New York Yacht Club or Seawanhaka Yacht Club to win the Morgan Cup, which was first contested in 2003. The Californians return to defend their title in 2015, but New York and Seawanhaka will be eager to reclaim the top of the podium.

The most heated rivalry in the keelboat team racing circuit may be between the New York Yacht Club and St. Francis Yacht Club Hinman Masters teams. New York YC won the regatta four times in the past decade, including in 2014, while St. Francis won from 2011 through 2013.

Noroton Yacht Club has dominated the Grandmasters Regatta, winning the inaugural regatta in 2010 and every year since, with the exception of 2011 when Hurricane Irene caused it to be canceled. Last year the team was a perfect 14-0 in the double round robin.

Source: Stuart Streuli, New York Yacht Club

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