2021 Hinman Masters Team Race
Published on August 8th, 2021
A lack of wind cut short the final day of the 20th running of the Hinman Masters Team Race held August 6-8, but the results to that point left no doubt which team deserved to be on top in Newport, RI. With 17 wins in 18 races, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club was dominant in the 9-team field, winning the trophy for the second time, but the first time in more than a decade.
The entry requirements for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy stipulate that all skippers must be at least 45 and all crew at least 40. While many of the teams feature a trio of skippers who have just recently become eligible, Seawanhaka went with a more generationally diverse line-up, including team captain Al Constants, who was on the SCYC team when it first won the trophy in 2008, and 1992 America’s Cup-winning tactician David Dellenbaugh.
“We put together good skippers and good crew and did very well this year,” said Constants. “Dave Dells and I have done this regatta a number of times. Tim Fallon joined for the third skipper [this year]. He just turned 45. He was crewing for me for years before he turned 45.”
Each August the New York Yacht Club hosts three team-race regattas on consecutive weekends: the Morgan Cup (July 30 to August 1), the Hinman Masters Trophy (August 6 to 8) and the NYYC Grandmasters (August 13 to 15).
Each event utilizes the Club’s fleet of 22 Sonars (designed by member Bruce Kirby, who recently passed away). The latter two have age minimums for skippers and crew to encourage team racing as a life-long pursuit. Founded in 2003, 2000, and 2010, respectively, the three regattas are among the most competitive adult team-racing competitions in the world, annually attracting top sailors from across the country and abroad.
In contrast to today, when the wind started light and died away to nothing, the first two days featured lots of sun and a classic Newport seabreeze coming in from the southwest, which allowed the race committee to rip through two full round robins among the nine teams and even start a third. When the regatta was called off early in the afternoon of day three, the 15 completed races of Round Robin 3 were wiped from each team’s scorecard, per the event rules.
“On Friday and Saturday, it was the seabreeze just pumping and it was unbelievable,” said Constants. “I don’t think it was about picking one side or the other side [on the first leg]. It was about hammering your starts. After you hammered the start, you’d go upwind and see what you could do.”
Sometimes, Constants added, getting into a winning combination required a bit of work over the remaining four legs of the race. And, there were a few fortuitous breaks. But it takes a lot more than luck to win 16 consecutive races over two long days of sailing.
Seawanhaka’s only blemish came in its second race of the regatta, to Eastport Yacht Club, from Maryland, which would finish fourth with 8 points. The New York Yacht Club team captained by Brian Doyle finished second with 12 wins and Southern Yacht Club, from New Orleans, was third with 10.
1. Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) 15 points; 2. New York (N.Y.) Yacht Club-Doyle, 12 points; 3. Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans), 10 points; 4. Eastport (Md.) Yacht Club, 8 points; 5. New York (N.Y.) Yacht Club-Fallon, 7 points; 6. Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, Conn.) 6 points; 7. St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco), 5 points; 8. Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club, 5 points; 9. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Yacht Club, 4 points.