2013 Morgan Cup - NYYC team returns to the top

2013 Morgan Cup
Stuart Streuli/©New York Yacht Club
At the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta, New York Yacht Club’s top team regained the top spot on the podium, after three years of frustration, beating three-time defending champion Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in the final race to clinch the championship for the Morgan Cup. The regatta was held out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, August 9th through eleventh.

'We’ve been called New York Yacht Club 1 for the last three years and the other New York Yacht Club team has beat us all three times,' said Clay Bischoff, a skipper for the winning team and the 2003 Intercollegiate Sailing Association Sailor of the Year at Harvard University. 'I was actually pushing to call us New York Red or Blue or something because the New York 1 title was almost a jinx. But finally we’ve earned that title back.'

The Morgan Cup, now in its 11th year, is one of the most competitive, if not the most competitive, keel boat team race regatta in the country. Each team is comprised of three crews of three or four sailors each. There are no restrictions on the age of the competitors. As a result the rosters are stacked with former Olympians, America’s Cup veterans, former college All-Americans, and current college hot shots. The action on the water is furious. This year, the tide schedule made the racing even more exciting as a majority of the races were sailed with the current running counter to the wind. This makes the downwind legs quite long and provides ample opportunity for teams to turn a losing combination team races are decided by the totals of each team’s finishes, with the lower one winning the race into a winning one.

'You take nothing for granted, the run is a great equalizer as everyone compresses,' said Bischoff of sailing in the tide against wind conditions. 'When you’re ahead it’s incredibly hard, because it’s very easy to get the kite on someone’s breeze.

'It’s mainly crew work, having talented crew and time to sail with the crew again and again so no maneuver is new,' added Bischoff when asked what makes the difference downwind. '[You need to nail] the sets and the jibes and being able to get downwind and sail the low road.'

The New York team with the Morgan Cup and keeper trophy
Stuart Streuli/©New York Yacht Club

The New York team (above, with the Morgan Cup and keeper trophy) was strong throughout the regatta, winning 10 of 11 races in the opening round robin, four of five in the gold-fleet round robin, and two of three in the final top-four round robin. But that record of success was matched by Seawanhaka, which produced the exact same win totals in each three round robins. The tie was broken based on head-to-head competition, where the New York team held a decisive 3-0 edge. In third place was Larchmont Yacht Club with 11 race wins. Yale Corinthian Yacht Club rounded out the top four with nine race wins.

A team of current college sailors was pulled together at the last minute to fill a vacancy in the regatta. Despite not previously racing together as a team, and limited experience with Sonars, the College All-Stars picked up four wins in the round robin and finished 10th.

1. New York Yacht Club 1 (New York), 16 race wins;
2. Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), 16;
3. Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club, 11;
4. Yale Corinthian Yacht Club (Branford, Conn.), 9;
5. Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.), 7;
6. Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.), 6;
7. New York Yacht Club 2 (New York), 5;
8. Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, Conn.), 4;
9. Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans), 4;
10, College All-Stars, 4;
11. Team Woodworth, 3;
12, Annapolis (Md.) Yacht Club, 2.

Winning team: Clay Bischoff, Monique Singer, Colin Gordon, Joy MacDougall, Brit Bischoff, Brian Fox, Alden Reid, Shane Wells, Matt Duggan, Caroline Levesque, Benjamin Kinney, Peter Levesque and Rear Commodore Phil Lotz.

Click here for more information on the Morgan Cup.