Setting the Pace at New York Yacht Club Race Week
Published on July 15th, 2016
Newport, RI (July 15, 2016) – Dan Cheresh and his team should’ve started Day 3 of the 2016 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex with a strong lead in the nine-boat C&C 30 One-Design class. They won two of three races on Day 1, and crossed the line first after Day 2’s lap of Conanicut Island. But a mis-reading of the sailing instructions—which led to the team not honoring one rather inconsequential government mark—turned a first into a RET/10 and left Extreme2 knotted in first with another team, with three other crews within three points of the lead.
“We actually had a long discussion last night, we did a debrief and we really talked about what went on,” said Cheresh, when asked how his team rebounded from Day 2’s disappointment. “We really decided as a team that we need to not be looking in the rear view mirror. We came out today with a lot of focus, a lot of concentration and a lot of energy.”
A pair of firsts and a second—on a day when no other team scored fewer than 11 points—re-established Extreme2 as the team to beat in the contest for the class’s inaugural North American Championship. For the final day of racing, the question will now be whether any of the cluster of five boats grouped within six points of second place takes a gamble on the lead or the group as a whole focuses each other.
A month ago, Cheresh and his team dominated the class at the 162nd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. The one blip on the scoreline this regatta can’t obscure the fact that Extreme2 is the current benchmark for this new fleet of sportboats.
“This week we’ve had pretty good speed,” said Cheresh. “Our goal today was to make sure we got launched off the line in a good spot, with a good hole to leeward, and really let the boat do its work. We were able to achieve that and as a result we didn’t have to go banging corners. We could sail up the middle left or the middle right. We never felt desperate.”
A nine-point lead in a nine-boat class isn’t enough to kick back and watch, especially with two races scheduled. But the absence of any whiff of desperation is likely to continue on board Extreme2, much to the chagrin of the rest of the fleet.
Much like Extreme2, the scoreline for Stephen Murray’s Carkeek 40 Decision, which is competing in IRC 2, is a string of top results with one outlier. The one poor score, a sixth in Race 2, was largely the result of a broken lifeline, which dropped three crew into the water. Today, Decision kept everyone on board and was the class of IRC 2 with a second and two firsts, which put the New Orleans-based boat into the lead by five points over Andrew and Linda Weiss’s Christopher Dragon. John Cooper’s Cool Breeze is third.
The TP52s continued to dominate the business end of the results in IRC 1. Steve Benjamin’s Spookie remains in the lead, but the 4-point advantage over Vesper, skippered by Jim Swartz, and Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge is hardly comfortable with two races scheduled for tomorrow.
In IRC 3, NYYC Rear Commodore Bill Ketcham saw his hard-earned lead evaporate courtesy of a 10th in today’s first race. A tie for first in today’s second race and then a fourth in the third pushed Maxine back into the lead, but should Ketcham’s crew falter again, Larry Landry’s White Witch and Craig Albrecht’s Avalanche, which are one and a half and three and a half points behind, respectively, will be ready to pounce.
Another class where a seemingly strong lead after two days evaporated was the J/109 class. The race for the J/109 North American Championship is now between two boats, David Rosow’s Loki and Donald Filippelli’s Caminos. Both boats will start the final day with 23 points. Third place, Ted Herlihy’s Gut Feeling is 14 points behind and will likely be more focused on protecting the podium than angling for the lead.
Control of the J/88 class has proven elusive so far in Race Week at Newport. After three days and seven races, Douglas Newhouse’s Yonder is winning by 5 points over Douglas McKeige’s Jazz. Mike Bruno’s Wings sits third, two points further back.
The oldest boat competing in Part II, the 1948 S&S 48 Odyssey owned by Alfred Van Liew and David Brodsky, had its opportunity to shine on Day 3, winning the single ORC Club race by a whopping five minutes over Chris Otorowski’s Swan 39 Rocket J. Squirrel.
The M32 catamarans are certainly the hardest working group of sailors in the regatta. Through three days, the speedy 32-foot cats have completed 13 races. Michael Dominguez’s Bronco is tied for first with Ron O’Hanley’s Escape Velocity.
The biennial multi-class regatta is hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court and is a highlight of Newport’s busy summer sailing season. Race Week is known for its split format: Classics and multihulls sailed in Part I of the regatta, from July 9-10, while one-design and handicap classes sailing Part II from Wednesday, July 13, to Saturday, July 16, when the regatta will culminated with a Rolex Awards Dinner on the spectacular grounds of Harbour Court.
Aside from winning Race Week hardware, the event is also being used as the J/109 North Americans, the Swan 42 US Nationals and the inaugural C&C 30 One-Design Class North Americans.