Classics and Catamarans at New York Yacht Club Race Week
Published on July 9th, 2016
Newport, RI (July 9, 2016) – Sailing in light and shifty conditions often requires courage, just not usually of the physical variety. When the windspeed is in the single digits, there’s little fear of personal injury or of falling overboard. But tactical mistakes are amplified and excess maneuvers, especially on heavy boats, can be very costly.
During Day 1 of the 2016 New York Yacht Club Race Week presented by Rolex, the yacht Courageous lived up to her name, sailing boldly and decisively to runaway wins in both races.
“The first race, we knew we wanted to go to the right side,” says Robbie Doyle, who was the main trimmer on Courageous when she won the 1977 America’s Cup and continues to regularly sail on the yacht. “We were over early, but we got an opening to go right and we stuck to the commitment. We had the boat going well. We got a jump on the rest of the pack and it was easy to hold on from there.”
In the second race, Courageous took a slightly easier path to victory; with helmsman Rich Moody deftly winning the pin end and tactician Gary Jobson calling to favor the left side of the course. Both moves worked to perfection and, by the windward mark, the green-decked boat had a commanding lead that she was once again able to defend to the finish.
Among those left in Courageous’ wake were two 12-Metre class yachts built for the 1987 New Zealand America’s Cup campaign. Despite being a decade newer than Courageous and sporting more advanced hull design, New Zealand and Laura were unable to match Courageous’ speed around the course in the light winds.
“Downwind we are as quick as they are in these conditions,” said Doyle. “Upwind they can still point a little higher than we can, but today they never got to the point where that was a big advantage to them. Given the choice, you’d still pick the [New Zealand boats over Courageous] because they have more sail area, but their advantages are minimized in light air.”
With a pair of wins, Courageous has a three-point lead over Gunther Buerman’s New Zealand, while Dennis Williams’ Victory 83 sits third a point further back.
The other fleet of one-design yachts racing during the first weekend of the 10th biennial Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex is the S Class, a Herreshoff design which dates back nearly a century. Andrew McClatchy’s Swallow won two of four races, as did Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Osprey. Swallow will start tomorrow with a one-point lead.
In the Gunboat fleet, an ultra-modern addition to the first half of Race Week, Stephen Cucchiaro’s Flow is tied on points with Greg Slynstad’s Fujin. Flow currently owns the tiebreaker.
In the Classic Rating Formula fleet, the two winners were Henry Skelsy and Samuel Croll’s Angelita, the gold-medal-winning 8 Metre from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, and Jonathan Loughborough’s Belle, a Luders 24.
As with most owners of classic yachts, Loughborough’s passion for his boat runs well beyond any trophies she wins.
“I found this boat in Connecticut and fell in love with its shape, and I have been racing it for years,” said Loughborough. “It was build by an airline company and it was very forward in the terms in construction for its time. She is light and pretty. And fast. She is an awesome boat and I love her. I get excited every year when I put her in the water.”
Racing for Part 1 of the 2016 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport will conclude tomorrow. Part II of the regatta, which features racing for one-designs and handicap yachts will run from Wednesday through Saturday.