All set for 25th Canada’s Cup in 2021

Published on August 15th, 2021

by Allan Megarry
The Canada’s Cup, the second oldest Match Race Trophy in the world, was first raced in 1896 when Royal Canadian Yacht Club (Toronto, ONT) and Lincoln Park Yacht Club (Chicago, IL) met for the inaugural race in Toledo, Ohio. Amelius Jarvis, sailing a yacht named Canada, was victorious winning three straight races.

After 125 years of racing, which has seen 13 wins for the USA and 11 wins for Canada, the 25th edition will see these nations face off as Youngstown Yacht Club (Youngstown, NY) challenges cup holder Royal Canadian Yacht Club on September 2-5 in Toronto, ONT.

The Canada’s Cup has traditionally been contested every three to five years, but a 23-year gap in 1907 and another 20 year silence in 1934 had the Cup residing at the Rochester Yacht Club (Rochester, NY) for 51 consecutive years. In 1954, David Howard Sr. of the RCYC was victorious aboard Venture 11 and successfully returned the Canada’s Cup to Toronto after a 53-year absence.

In 1969, the Canada’s Cup saw a resurgence in its appeal with 13 more matches contested until now.

In the first 105 years of the Cup’s history, teams were required to design their own boat based on specific design parameters (including IOR Rule and 8M Rule). The Canada’s Cup was leveraged to promote advancements in yacht design and technology in the Great Lakes.

By many accounts, the most advanced boat in the history of the Canada’s Cup was Don Green’s 1978 sailboat named Evergreen. Its’ four spreader mast, gybing daggerboard, complex hydraulics and experimental mylar sails made it the most advanced racing boat in the world.

In 2001, competitions shifted to one design sailing where all boats were identical, putting more focus on the sailors’ skills and ability. The selection of the Farr 40 boats, used for ten years between 2001 to 2011, resulted in the closest and most competitive racing ever seen in the Canada’s Cup’s history.

In keeping with the competitiveness of One Design sailing, the Melges IC37 was selected for the next three Canada’s Cup matches, originally to begin in 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic to 2021, 2022, 2024).

Commissioned by the New York Yacht Club in 2017, the IC37 have not yet been used in a match race series, so it will be exciting to see how they respond under tight match race conditions where maneuvers are numerous and rapid.

The racecourse has been modified to incorporate three windward/leeward laps with each leg shorter than what has been sailed in the past. Shorter legs reduce the time to lay lines keeping the boats close together and maneuvering often.

The challenger from the Youngstown Yacht Club is no stranger to the Canada’s Cup having been defeated in 2016 when the 24th edition was raced in 8 Meters. Skipper Adam Burns helmed Y’Quem after defeating two other challengers in the US trials.

Y’Quem surprised everyone with a light air win in race 3 of the match which was ultimately won by Bryan Gooderham and Hollandia. Robert Hesse is the owner of the US challenger Zing and has had success racing his Beneteau 36.7 in Lake Ontario. Representing YYC will be:

Owner: Robert Hesse, Skipper: Adam Burns, Crewmembers: Chris Doyle, Scott Walker, John Goller, Shannon Walter, Bridget Dedatio, Ben Doyle and Charlie Kegler.

Terry McLaughlin of RCYC is also no stranger to the Canada’s Cup. With wins in 2001 and 2003, Terry is one of three skippers to win back-to-back events. Team RCYC finished 4th in the 2019 Invitational Cup and with a 2-boat training program current underway at the RCYC, McLaughlin will be a formidable defender.

With the support of Paul L’Heureux, the owner of Defiant and David Howard and John Hele, the co-owners of Vigilant, RCYC has embarked on a training program giving members and juniors of the club an opportunity to join the campaign and experience firsthand what is required to establish a world class campaign and compete at a world level.

While the Defiant campaign is truly an RCYC effort, the sailors representing the Club are:
Owner: Paul L’Heureux, Skipper: Terry McLaughlin, Crewmembers: Mariah Millen, Ingrid Merry, Sandy Andrews, John Millen, Lance Fraser, Andrew McTavish.

Event schedule:
Monday, August 30 – Boat and Sail Measurement
Tuesday, August 31 – Registration
Wednesday, September 1 – Opening Ceremonies
Thursday, September 2 – Races 1,2,3
Friday, September 3 – Races 4,5,6 – First warning signal
Saturday, September 4 (if required) – Races 7,8,9
Sunday, September 5 ( if required) – Races 10,11

The first boat to 6 points wins the Canada’s Cup.

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