Rolex, the luxury watch maker based in Switzerland, is proud to present the New York Yacht Club’s 162nd Annual Regatta this weekend in Newport, R.I. The event marks the 58th year that Rolex and the New York Yacht Club have been in partnership. Commenced in 1958, it’s one of Rolex’s longest-standing relationships.
Rolex’s many achievements in watch making are notable and date back to 1905, when company founder Hans Wilsdorf created the first wristwatch. Since then Rolex has been at the origin of landmark innovations in watchmaking, including the first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster, and the perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism. For more than a century, Rolex watches have accompanied explorers and achievers around the world, from the top of the highest mountains to the deepest reaches of the ocean.
Similar to Rolex’s noted achievements, the New York Yacht Club has a rich history. Founded in 1844, the club famously won the America’s Cup for 132 years (considered the longest winning streak in the history of sport) and also hosted the first Transatlantic Race in 1866.
More than 150 boats are expected to compete in the 162nd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, with racing slated for Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. The event will feature a race around Conanicut Island on Friday, followed by two days of buoy racing for the IRC and one-design classes, and point-to-point racing for the multihulls and navigator classes.
The overall winner of Friday’s race around Conanicut Island will receive a Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner Date watch. First introduced in 1953, the Submariner has a redesigned Oyster case, distinctive dial with large luminescent hour markers, graduated rotatable Cerachrom bezel and solid link Oyster bracelet. Also, the Rolex Cup will be presented to the best two-yacht team in the IRC division.
Austin Fragomen’s IRC-rated 44-footer Interlodge won the Around the Island Race last year and is back to defend this year.
A partial list of sailors includes the reigning US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Steve Benjamin, sailing his 52-footer Spookie, and past recipients Paul Cayard (1998), racing aboard the 52-footer Phoenix, Bill Hardesty (2011), sailing aboard the C&C 30 Stark Raving Mad, and Terry Hutchinson (2008, ’14), tactician aboard the Maxi72 Bella Mente, whose afterguard also includes Mike “Moose” Sanderson, winner of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award in 2006.
Past recipients of the US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award include Dawn Riley (1999), sailing aboard the 12-Meter Victory 83, and Stephanie Roble (2014), racing on the Etchells class boat named Skanky Gene.