The Invitational: Only an early tease
Published on September 10th, 2019
Newport, RI (September 10, 2019) – How to balance risk against reward is always a key decision early in a regatta. That applies double for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup where the unique nature of the event means there’s no reliable pre-regatta form guide.
In a few days, we’ll know which teams came prepared to win and which are a little off the pace. But for the start of Race 1 earlier today, there were 20 contenders of unknown caliber attacking the starting line.
A good start was important. But the risk of a bad start outweighed getting too aggressive. Three teams pushed too hard, starting a few seconds before the gun and then having to turn around and re-start, a painful process in the light winds.
The Japan Sailing Federation (JSF) picked an uncrowded part of the line, timed it perfectly and leapt into the race with good pace and a large lane. That often translates into a great race, and that’s exactly what happened. The JSF led at every mark and took a 1-minute win over San Diego Yacht Club, with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Yacht Club Italiano rounding out the top four.
The first day of racing got off to a slow start as the breeze refused to fill until nearly 3 pm, and even then it was just into the range of sailable conditions. In those conditions, getting off the starting line cleanly, and with some space in which to maneuver, are paramount. Eiichiro Hamazaki, the skipper for the Japan Sailing Federation, decided to avoid the ends of the starting line and find some space in the middle.
“We didn’t want to take risks in the beginning of the series,” he said, “so I tried not to start based on the conditions, we tried to start in the middle. We knew the wind would shift to the right from yesterday’s experience. We tried to tack in the beginning in front of the boat that started from the pin end. We got a good right shift and then came [out] ahead.”
The JSF team led around each of the three marks today, but with the wind dipping as low as 4 knots at times, there was no such thing as a comfortable lead.
“The biggest point that I was worried was in the second windward leg,” Hamazaki said. “We covered the second- and third-place boats, which was Italy and Canada, on the left side, but some other boats behind went to the right side and came out ahead and gained bit. Finally we covered San Diego and we maintained top position [on the second downwind leg].”
After rounding the leeward mark in seventh place, San Diego pushed hard to the right side on the second beat and vaulted into second, with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, from Sardinia, finishing third.
Illaria Paternoster, the event’s youngest skipper, finished fourth at the helm of the Yacht Club Italiano entry.
“It was really good for us because we’ve never sailed this boat before and we are a new team,” she said. “We have a lot of speed during the race. Fortunately we had a good position and were never covered by other boats, so we sailed in clear air. We had the possibility to choose where we wanted to go and sail our own race. It was shifty, so it was important to have clear space near to us to decide where to go.”
Tomorrow is expected to be a significant departure from today’s light air, with the forecast calling for strong southwesterly breezes all day.
Day One Results (Top 10 of 20; 1 race)
1. Japan Sailing Federation
2. San Diego Yacht Club
3. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
4. Yacht Club Italiano
5. Royal Thames Yacht Club
6. Royal Cork Yacht Club
7. Royal Canadian Yacht Club
8. New York Yacht Club
9. Royal Swedish Yacht Club
10. Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
The sixth edition of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup has attracted 20 amateur teams which represent 14 countries and five continents. Twelve races (no discard) are planned in IC37s from September 10 with a live broadcast of each race from September 11 through 14.