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Return to battle for bragging rights

Published on October 18th, 2021

It’s that time of year when San Diego Yacht Club gathers up twelve privately owned J/105s and prepares them for consecutive weekends of historic competitions. Using club owned sails, the International Masters Regatta and Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup are up for battle again in San Diego, CA.

The International Masters Regatta was established in 1975 by St. Francis Yacht Club member Don Trask, and for years the worldʼs greatest master sailors would vie for bragging rights on San Francisco Bay. After a hiatus in 2009-11, the trophy shifted south where the 60+ year old skippers and their 45+ year old crew now tell each other how good they are on South San Diego Bay.

Following the Masters on October 21-23, the focus shifts to yacht club teams on October 28-30 with challenges coming from New York to Chicago to California for the San Diego Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup which dates back to the early days of yachting on the Pacific Ocean, circa 1900.

The trophy, which stayed on the shelf during the pandemic, was won by Newport Harbor Yacht Club in 2019 with skipper Justin Law who will seek to defend in 2021. “The talent across all of the teams that participate in the Lipton Cup is off the charts,” observed Law.

Lipton Cup skippers/clubs:
• Peter Duncan, American Yacht Club
• David Wood, Balboa Yacht Club
• Allie Blecher, California Yacht Club
• Will Curtiss, Chicago Yacht Club
• Scott Harris, Coronado Yacht Club
• Shala Youngerman, Cortez Racing Association
• Keith Ives, Long Beach Yacht Club
• Jon Singsen, New York Yacht Club
• Justin Law, Newport Harbor Yacht Club
• Tyler Sinks, San Diego Yacht Club
• Nico Landauer, Southwestern Yacht Club
• Chris Perkins, St. Francis Yacht Club

With the round robin format, competitors make their way to a floating dock after each race to rotate boats, allowing for each team to have balanced boat conditions throughout the regatta.

Coming to the regatta with prior Lipton Cup experience are Tyler Sinks, Allie Blecher, Chris Perkins, David Wood, Justin Law (2019 winner), Shala Youngerman, and Scott Harris. New this year are Peter Duncan, Keith Ives, Will Curtiss, Jon Singsen, and Nico Landauer.

Sinks has won the event three times, in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and will be racing this year with other familiar Lipton Cup sailors Jake LaDow, Max Hutcheson, Nevin Snow, and Nick Kaschak. Also joining them is newcomer Lucy Wallace, who will be sailing in her first Lipton Cup, and Erik Shampain, one the winningest Lipton Cup sailors of all time.

“We rarely sail J/105s and almost never sail in South Bay, so it’s hard to say we have any significant edge over our competitors,” said Sinks. “Maybe that’s why the Lipton Cup is so popular, because other teams know they’re playing on a level playing field.”

Ryan Hunter, captain of the Southwestern Yacht Club team skippered by Nico Landauer, comes ready to race having prepared for the 2020 regatta which was ultimately canceled.

“I have actually been planning for the Lipton Cup with this team for over five years,” shared Hunter. “My plan was to enter my team in 2020 while I was Commodore of SWYC. Unfortunately, a global pandemic put an end to those plans. So here we are in 2021. Better late than never.”

Sir Thomas Lipton, the famous yachtsman and tea baron, requested that a trophy be created in his name for West Coast yacht racing excellence. This exchange soon ushered in a new, prestigious yachting event – the San Diego Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup.

“The Lipton Cup is a cherished tradition here at SDYC that the whole Club looks forward to,” notes event co-chair Tim Fuller. “Every team that joins us on the course has a tremendous skillset and makes the competition exciting to watch.

“A special thank you is in order to the owners of the J/105s, who so graciously lend us their vessels for the annual Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup and International Masters Regatta. Without them, these events would not be possible.”

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