Eastern wins 2022 Morgan Cup
Published on August 14th, 2022
Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, MA) claimed the Morgan Cup, an all ages 3v3 team race event in Sonars held August 12-14 in Newport, RI. Marblehead neighbor and defending champion Corinthian Yacht Club finished second, with St. Francis Yacht Club of San Francisco third and New York Yacht Club-Levesque rounding out the top four.
“A decade ago Eastern wasn’t doing any team racing,” says Clinton Hayes, the team captain for Eastern Yacht Club. “I remember when we got our first invite to the Morgan, and we finished last, then third to last. We just put a lot of effort into this event. New York Yacht Club putting in all the effort to make this such a world-class event makes all of us sailors try so hard and show up year after year.”
While the race committee ran just shy of 100 races over the three days of the Morgan Cup, it wasn’t easy. Light and fickle winds made Day 1 of the regatta quite difficult as the race committee had to keep adjusting the course, and the competitors tried to maintain focus through lengthy delays.
“The first day was a really long day with a long delay,” says Hayes. “Everyone got off the water, and we were totally burnt. The sun and the waiting around makes it really challenging.”
Nonetheless, Eastern Yacht Club finished Day 1 with seven wins against a single loss.
“A big thing was just avoiding mistakes,” says Hayes. “In light air people tend to over team race, a lot of people just get passed. So we were focused on passing other boats, sailing our boats really well, really fast, especially on the downwinds, and avoiding those stupid, unforced errors.”
More consistent sailing on Day 2 and early on Day 3 put Eastern into a strong position after two complete round-robins, with 14 wins, from 18 races, and a two-point advantage over the three teams tied for second. With the typical Newport seabreeze finally filling in, those four teams did a single, gold-fleet round robin to close out the regatta.
Corinthian beat Eastern in the opening race of the Gold Round Robin to reduce Eastern’s lead to just a single point. And since Corinthian had beaten Eastern each of the three times the two teams had sailed against one another—and therefore controlled the tie-breaker—there was effectively no margin for error.
“We knew it was close,” says Hayes of the standings heading into the final races. “We didn’t look at the exact scores, we just assumed we needed to win a majority of the races in the [Gold Fleet Round Robin]. All three races were barn burners, really tight. We were lucky to come away with two out of three.”
Many of the competitors in the Morgan Cup will return for the Hinman Trophy (August 19-21), for which skippers must be over 45 and crews over 40. The Grandmasters Team Race—skippers 60 or older and crews 50 or older—will take place August 26 to 28.