Newport Harbor wins Lipton Cup challenge

Published on October 27th, 2019

San Diego, CA (October 27, 2019) – The team from Newport Harbor Yacht Club won the 2019 Sir Thomas Lipton Cup Regatta today. Eleven participating yacht club teams returned from last year, many of them being skippered by the same men and women at the helm. Shane Young and his Long Beach Yacht Club team were one team that really came back ready for a rematch.

To begin the regatta, racing began around 1225 after the race committee waited for the breeze to fill in. This gave the teams time to get accustomed to the J/105s and the South San Diego Bay venue. In four races, competitors saw shifty breezes averaging 8 knots through the day.

After day 1, in first place was Shane Young (Long Beach Yacht Club) with 15 points, tied with Tyler Sinks (San Diego Yacht Club) in second, also with 15 points. In third place stands Will Holz (Chicago Yacht Club) with 20 points.

Young (LBYC) ended the 2018 Lipton Cup in second place behind Sinks (SDYC) and came back this year ready to battle. The team dominated the first day, finishing the first two races with a bullet, and finished the fourth race in second.

Sinks talked about how he was feeling after the first day of races. “We ended the day on a high note and we feel good about it. We had a couple of tough races. We’re going to be disciplined tomorrow. If we can continue what we started today than we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

The breeze on day two was stronger than typical San Diego conditions, seeing southerly winds with speeds in the range of 16-18 knots for the majority of the races. Holz (Chicago YC) was able to use the breeze to his advantage and make his way from third place to first place overall after eight races.

Holz commented, “The key for us was having clean starts and being able to make our own decisions off the line during all of the races. We always felt fast and the team is doing really well around the course. We do get this kind of breeze [in Chicago] and we’re pretty comfortable in it.”

Law, skippering for NHYC, was the winner of day two, taking bullets in races five, seven and eight. Their scores brought them into their second place position and only one point behind Chicago Yacht Club overall. Learning from the first day of the regatta, Law switched up some of the teams assignments on the boat to be a little more fitting and lead to their success.

“We had some of the bigger guys on the boat stay on the rail and had the smaller guys move around a little more. We might have even got a fourth bullet today, but our kite got wrapped up on the second race [race six]. The most notable part of today, it was that we ended smiling at the end of the day,” explained Law.

After day 2, standings had Holz (Chicago Yacht Club) in first place with 30 points, followed by Justin Law (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) in second with 31 points, and Shane Young (Long Beach Yacht Club) in third with 39 points.

After three days of intense, close racing, skipper Justin Law and his seasoned crew earned their bragging rights by winning four of eleven races and staying in the top half of the fleet for almost every other race this weekend.

“It was super stressful. We just really played ball that last race. We had to stay five boats within Chicago and the team just did enough. Winning the first race made the tension go away and it was a great way to start the day. It set us up for a successful final two races,” commented Law.

Newport Harbor went into the third and final day of the regatta only one point behind Chicago Yacht Club and made sure to battle their way past them to the top. Chicago, however, still held their own in the top of the fleet today, seeing good competition from teams like San Diego Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club (5th) and San Francisco Yacht Club (8th).

Law has been sailing with this crew for quite some time, a factor that he credits toward their success. Recently, the team has been competing in yacht club keelboat circuit team racing and sailed in the Morgan Cup and the Baldwin Cup. “Whether it’s team racing, club circuit, or offshore big boat, we’ve been doing this with the same team for a couple of years.

“This is the first time I’m driving, but it’s kind of the OG squad,” he said. Law has crewed at the Lipton Cup the past two years for their usual skipper Jon Pinckney, who came in fifth in 2018. Bill Menninger, a frequenter to SDYC’s Lipton Cup and International Masters Regatta, was also on NHYC’s crew.

“I know it’s a big trophy and it’s a huge deal for us to win the Lipton Cup. The biggest thing is how many people are reaching out and saying congratulations. It’s really cool,” finished Law.

The Newport Harbor Yacht Club team was skippered by Justin Law, and crewed by Bill Menninger, Alex Curtiss, Daniel Geissmann, John Peschelt, and Peter Kinney.

The 2019 Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup was held October 25-27.

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Source: Casey Allocco, SDYC

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