2022 Safe Harbor Race Weekend

Published on August 14th, 2022

Sixty-two boats competed in ORC, PHRF, or IC37 at the 2022 Safe Harbor Race Weekend on August 12-14 in Newport, RI. After squeezing in one race amid the light winds that opened the event on Narragansett Bay, the 11 divisions enjoyed better conditions on days two and three to fill the scorecard. – Details

Full report from Media Pro International:

The second annual Safe Harbor Race Weekend, held August 12-14 for 62 teams in 11 classes, did not disappoint in the competition department, and ashore, the regatta’s fun meter seemed always to be pegged at max, whether at official social functions or dockside minglings at the three host venues: Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, Safe Harbor New England Boatworks, and Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard.

How it Played Out – Division 1
“It all came down to the last race,” said Doug Newhouse (Newport, RI), owner/skipper of Yonder, which topped a fiercely competitive 11-boat IC37 class and won overall honors for Division 1 (comprised additionally of one class for ORC, four for PHRF, and three for PHRF Performance Cruising).

After sailing three races on Saturday and the first of two races on Sunday, Newhouse found his team tied with eventual second-place finisher and current IC37 National Champion New Wave, skippered by Jeff Liebel (Tampa, FL). “In that last race, my tactician Jeremy Wilmot (Newport, RI) said, ‘You need to hit the starting line at seven knots.’ When we crossed, I looked up and we were going 7.8 knots to take the lead off the line.”

Yonder finished third in that race to New Wave’s eighth, enough to give the team a winning margin of five points in overall scoring. “The competition level was very high, really the best boats around,” said Newhouse.

Predicting frustratingly light air on Friday, the Race Committee wisely moved up the racing by one hour from a scheduled noon start; however, the planned windward/leeward buoy racing for the IC37s had to be cancelled completely while an Around Prudence Island race that started for all other Division 1 classes had to be shortened to two-thirds of its original length.

Division 1 sailed their regatta on Narragansett Bay, while Division 2, comprised of two classes for Superyachts, sailed theirs “outside” – just beyond the Bay’s entrance on Rhode Island Sound. In a more solid breeze there, the Superyachts completed a 15-mile navigator’s race on Friday, just fine.

“My viewpoint is that with talent, energy, mental processing, and competitive desire, you will always come out on top,” said Newhouse. His comment, reflecting admiration for his Yonder team, might just as well have applied to the Race Committee’s doggedness in making sure the IC37s and other classes got their fair share of the racing pie.

For Saturday, the Race Committee moved up racing by two hours, allowing all classes to benefit from a brisk northerly that delivered 14-15 knots for racing in the morning before slowly tapering off by early afternoon. Sunday, the schedule reverted back to the noon start to take advantage of a seasonally more typical afternoon sea breeze (from the southwest).

While Division 1’s IC37s, ORC, and PHRF racing classes sailed multiple windward-leeward courses on Saturday and Sunday, the Division 1 PHRF Performance Cruising classes toured the Bay with a single navigator’s race on each of those days.

John Santa’s (Southport, CT) Swan 46 Galadriel, which won its class here last year, also found himself in a tough position before the last race in Performance Cruising F; it was one point behind the McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina, which was skippered by Safe Harbor President Rives Potts (Westbrook, CT) and also won in a different class here last year.

“If we finished behind Carina, we would have been tied but the tiebreaker wouldn’t have favored us,” said Galadriel’s skipper Stephen Devoe (Jamestown, RI). “We wanted to eliminate that possibility, so we worked hard to finish ahead of them.”

Galadriel’s second-place finish to Carina’s third tied the two boats in final scoring, with the tiebreaker going to Galadriel. About the navigator’s courses around government marks, Devoe spoke to a push to get more people interested in the Performance Cruising classes next year.

“We happen to have done a lot of around-the buoys racing, but anyone could jump into this type of racing here and do well,” he said. “It doesn’t require vast experience; you need a good navigator, of course, but friends and family can definitely do it.”

Also winning Division 1 classes on a count-back for the tie breaker: in ORC, the TP52 Vesper, skippered by David Team (Newport Beach, CA), over the Botin 52 Fox, skippered by Victor Wild (San Diego, CA); in PHRF A, the J/V66 Denali, skippered by Michael D’Amelio (Boston, MA), over last year’s overall winner Stark Raving Mad IX, a Carkeek 47 skippered by Jim Madden (Newport Beach, CA).

Division 1 winners who led going into Sunday and maintained leads for victory: Bruce Chafee’s (Boston, MA) R/P 42 Rikki in PHRF B; Jack LeFort’s (Jamestown, RI) Eggemoggin 47 Tink in PHRF C; Richard and Katie Barker’s (Newport, RI) Evelyn 32 Hawk in PHRF D; Steven Eddleston’s (Bristol, RI) Weatherly in PHRF Performance Cruising E; and Marc Holdaway’s (Bristol, RI) Mutinous Dogs in PHRF Performance Cruising G.

A Spectacle of Racing – Division 2
The majestic 91-foot custom yawl Bequia might have been the most visually arresting of the Superyachts competing at the Safe Harbor Race Weekend had it not been for the equally magnificent profiles of six other Superyachts that, along with Bequia, comprised the event’s Division 2.

Aesthetics aside, Bequia turned in the finest performance over three navigator’s races to win the Superyacht B class and take overall honors for the division. Winning Superyacht A was the 76’ sloop Zemphira.

“We took advantage of collective local knowledge aboard and were able to tack quickly and go into places where some of the other Superyachts didn’t want to go,” said Bequia’s tactician Mike Toppa (Newport, RI). “Delta House [the 98’-footer that finished second in Class B and was most closely matched in speed with Bequia] went to the same areas, but we were pretty aggressive in playing the wind shifts and the current.”

This applied especially on the first two days of racing when Bequia won. The team conceded to Delta House on the last day, and with a score line of 1-1-2 to Delta House’s 4-2-1 finished three points ahead in overall scoring.

Zemphira’s perfect score line in Superyacht A put it four points ahead of its closest competitor Sunleigh. Zemphira’s Captain Kirsty Morrison (Newport, RI) said it was the commitment by the owner and crew to make Zemphira race-worthy after a recent refit that made it all come together.

“Our tactician Tony Rey told us in the beginning, ‘We will never sail a perfect race, but just make sure that if we make mistakes, they are new ones.’”

The 15-mile navigator’s courses around government marks on Rhode Island Sound didn’t stray far from the shore, and under predominantly blue skies and bright sunshine the Superyacht sailors enjoyed unparalleled views of famous coastal landmarks such as Newport’s Castle Hill and Cliff Walk.

“Overall, it was a fantastic regatta,” said Toppa. “The Race Committee did a nice job, modifying the schedule based on the wind forecasts and giving us good, high-quality racing. As for the shoreside hospitality, we enjoyed it all…the morning breakfast, the big parties on Friday and Saturday nights, the Awards on Sunday…everyone was happy and there was lots of food, music and fun…you couldn’t have asked for more.”

For more information on Safe Harbor Race Weekend and daily releases/full results, visit https://shmarinas.com/safe-harbor-race-weekend/.

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