Content by New York Yacht Club. Photo credits: ROLEX/Daniel Forster (3)
Different year, different boat, same outstanding performance for San Diego Yacht Club. Through four races in the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the premier Corinthian one-design keelboat championship, the West Coast team has shown the blazing boatspeed, precision teamwork and tactical acumen that qualified them for this prestigious international championship a year ago. With a first, third and first today, San DIego skipper Tyler Sinks has staked his crew to a 17-point lead after just four races. There’s a lot of sailing left in this event—up to eight more races over three days—but the early marker by the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) has put the rest of the fleet on notice: either find a way to keep Bow No. 7 in the rearview mirror, or start fighting for second place.
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The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a biennial regatta hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I. Since the event was first run in 2009, it has attracted top amateur sailors from 43 of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs from 21 countries. After five editions in the Swan 42 class, the 2019 event will be sailed in the IC37, designed by Mark Mills and built by Westerly Marine in Santa Ana, Calif., and FIBRE Mechanics in the United Kingdom. The strict one-design nature of this new, purpose-built class combined with the fact that all 20 boats are owned and maintained by the New York Yacht Club, will ensure a level playing field never before seen in amateur big-boat sailing. The regatta will run through September 14. A broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube will allow fellow club members, friends, family and sailing fans from around the world follow the action as it happens. Twenty teams from 14 countries and five continents will compete in the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.
“We just tried to sail our own boat, keep the boat moving fast,” said Sinks of today’s sterling performance by the San Diego Yacht Club team. “The team did a great job at minimizing mistakes, and our tactician Jake LaDow kept us heading the right direction. The team was sailing really well. It was one of those days we felt the conditions played in our favor; windy, but also very shifty. We just connected the dots and ended up having a really good day.”
Thanks to 10 days of practice and racing in the IC37 by Melges over the summer, the San Diego Yacht Club came into the regatta confident in their boat handling and boatspeed, and with a good feel for the local conditions.
“I think when you have speed, you really don’t need to push it,” said Sinks. “We feel comfortable starting anywhere on the line so if we have to win a side, we feel good about that. But, in general, we’re just trying to get off the line with speed and have the ability to do what we want.”
Three solid, if unremarkable starts today, gave LaDow the ability to play the variable breeze, which he did to perfection.
“It was extremely head out of the boat,” says LaDow, who showed wisdom beyond his 26 years during today’s sailing. “My head was on a swivel. Also doing runners, I was balancing how much I had to be tuned into the speed versus looking at puff and shift. There were an infinite amount of decisions to be made today with puff and shift on the racecourse, and the current. I was just constantly evaluating other boats, where they’re going fast, where the breeze is and all that.”
In the last race, San Diego didn’t take over the lead until the final moments of the race.
“That was all Nick Martin, who was trimming the kite and the jib for us all day,” said Sinks. “We had a good shift that allowed us to sail up to the top group, and I think we had a couple of better jibes than the other teams. That was really the difference in the end. We were barely able to get across Southern, who was right behind us and got caught up with the other boats, and we were able to shoot out ahead. It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish. I think the only point in the race where we were leading was at the very end of the race. So it worked out for us.”
While it’s hard to find fault in their performance today, LaDow said that legendary sailor Vince Brun, a SDYC member who is serving as the team’s coach, won’t let them get too cocky.
“Vince has an eye that most people don’t have, and he can always find something we can improve on,” said LaDow. “All the teams are good and getting better, so we’ve got to keep that learning curve steep for us as well. Vince has been a huge part of that, refining our sail shape, crew work on the boat, everything. It’s been huge having his input.”
Behind San Diego is a knot of five teams separated by five points. And just 15 points separates 11th from second, where Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) sits after finishing the day with a first and a third.
“It was a really good day,” said RSYS skipper Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. “We were very happy with the crew work. We’ve only just stepped onto these boats last week, so we’re still learning. [The IC37 by Melges] is a great boat. Compliments to the New York Yacht Club coming up with this design and commissioning it and doing everything they’ve done and getting it so even. It really is about crew work and that’s a lot of good fun.”
Racing for the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup will continue through Saturday, September 14, with a live broadcast of each race via Facebook and YouTube. Racing is scheduled to start at 11 am each day.
2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
New York Yacht Club Harbour Court
1. San Diego Yacht Club, 2, 1, 3, 1; 7 points; 2. Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, 11, 9, 1, 3; 24 points; 3. Japan Sailing Federation, 1, 4, 9, 11; 25 points; 4. Royal Canadian Yacht Club, 7, 3, 12, 5; 27 points;. 5. Royal Cork Yacht Club, 6, 6, 14, 2; 28 points; 6. Yacht Club Italiano, 4, 12, 5, 8; 29 points; 7. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, 3, 7, 13, 9; 32 points; 8. Royal Thames Yacht Club, 5, 5, 6, 19; 35 points; 9. New York Yacht Club, 8, 14, 7, 7; 36 points; 10. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, 9, 2, 8, 18; 37 points; 11. Southern Yacht Club, 14, 19, 2, 4; 39 points; 12. Yacht Club Argentino, 13, 15, 4, 16; 48 points; 13. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, 19, 8, 15, 6; 48 points; 14. Itchenor Sailing Club, 16, 13, 10, 10; 49 points; 15. Royal New Zealand Yacht Club, 12, 11, 11, 17; 51 points; 16. Real Club Náutico de Barcelona, 15, 10, 17, 13; 55 points; 17. Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, 10, 18, 18, 15; 61 points; 18. Royal Yacht Squadron, 17, 16, 19, 12; 64 points; 19. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, 18, 17, 16, 14; 65 points; 20. Yacht Club de France, 20, 20, 20, 20; 80 points.