Newport, R.I. — Two teams built in very different ways clashed in the deciding race of the second annual Women’s 2v2 Team Race, hosted over the weekend the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court. The team from Lauderdale Yacht Club (Fort Lauderalde, Fla.) was based around a core of young sailors who currently race for Boston College and recently finished second at the inaugural InterCollegiate Women’s Team Race Championship. Bristol (R.I.) Yacht Club used a grass-roots approach, cultivating interest and skill with regular Monday night team racing sessions each summer for the past four years. By the slimmest of margins, the kids from Florida won out.
“We were really slow off the starting line,” says Lauderdale team captain Erika Reineke, recalling the deciding race. “So, we struggled to get out ahead immediately. Bristol rounded [the first mark] in [first and second] and [fellow Lauderdale skipper] Sophia [Reineke] and I split on the downwind. Luckily the girls in our boats were really good at flying the kite. We got ahead and had a small luffing match at Mark 3. We just kept fighting, and fortunately it went our way. You never know in team racing.”
The Women’s 2v2 Team Race took place June 4 and 5 out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I. In 2021, this event joined the Club’s fabled trio of coed keelboat team races—the Morgan Cup, the Hinman Masters and the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters. Ten yacht clubs from around the country sent their top team racers to Newport for a weekend of competition and camaraderie. The regatta was sailed on Narragansett Bay utilizing the New York Yacht Club’s fleet of 23-foot Sonar sailboats.
Erika Reineke is now two for two in this regatta, having been a part of the winning New York Yacht Club team in 2021. The opportunity to sail with her younger sister, and introduce to the regatta a number of younger sailors, enticed her to sail for the club where she learned to sail and remains an active member.
“Last year was the first edition, and I knew as soon as it happened that I wanted to come back,” says Erika Reineke, who is currently campaigning a 49erFX for the 2024 Olympics in France. “Luckily, my sister wanted to sail with me. This weekend was good one.”
The Bristol Yacht Club team, from nearby Bristol, R.I., came to event with limited expectations, but plenty of enthusiasm.
“We did zero days of practice, so we’ll take it,” says team captain Amanda Callahan of the team’s runner-up finish. “For the last four years, Bristol has been building our team-racing program. [BYC Racing Chair] Nick Cromwell got the ball rolling, acquired enough J/22s to do team racing. We just got new sails this last year. Every Monday night we go out and have a great time team racing.”
After winning six of seven races on Saturday, the team was pleasantly surprised to find they were tied for first with Lauderdale. The Bristol squad’s strong form continued on Sunday as the team rolled off five straight wins before a loss in the team’s penultimate race set up a winner-take-all final race with Lauderdale, which had an identical record to that point in the regatta, 11 wins and 2 losses.
“Coming around Mark 3, it was really up in the air,” says Callahan, who serves as the sailing coach for Roger Williams University. “We hard luffed Erika, but she was able to get over the top of us, so then we had a 2-4 coming out of Mark 4. [Bristol skipper] Steph [Hudson] was able to clamp down out of the first tack and make it happen. We were trying to build our boat speed, and it sort got away from us.”
After a dizzying weekend of mark traps and passbacks, the Lauderdale Yacht Club team could be forgiven for not even knowing they’d won the regatta until they were informed by a regatta official five minutes after crossing the finish line for the final time. The news prompted a spontaneous cheer from all nine women. But up and down the standings there was nothing but enthusiasm for the event and appreciation for the dramatic increase in interest and skill level among female team racers.
“There’s going to be a lot of ladies coming out of college sailing with a lot of experience in team racing,” says Callahan. “Now there’s all these paths they can take to stay involved in the sport, and that’s awesome.”
Lauderdale Yacht Club Team: Erika Reineke (captain, skipper) Katherine Downey, Martha Taylor Gavula, Lily McGrath, Sophia Reineke (skipper) Laura Ferraris, Lilly Mathieu, Nicole Moeder and Elizabeth Shanahan, with New York Yacht Club Vice Commodore Jay Cross (center) and Rear Commodore Clare Harrington (far right).
2022 New York Yacht Club Women’s 2v2 Team Race
New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, Newport, R.I.
June 4 and 5, 2022
Click here for detail results
1. Lauderdale Yacht Club, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 12 points; 2. Bristol (R.I.) Yacht Club, 11 points; 3. Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club, 10 points; 4. College of Charleston (S.C.) Yacht Club, 8 points; 5. Corinthian Yacht Club, Marblehead, Mass., 6 points; 6. New York (N.Y.) Yacht Club, 3 points; 7. Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, 3 points; 8. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Tiburon, Calif., 3 points; 9. Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, Mass., 2 points; 10. American Yacht Club, Rye, N.Y., 1 point.
Text: New York Yacht Club. Photos: Stuart Streuli / New York Yacht Club