For the third consecutive year, just a single race separated the top two teams at the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy. This year, the deciding race was also the final race of the regatta, with St. Francis Yacht Club and Southern Yacht Club battling for the trophy. St. Francis got off to a tough start, but the team was able to turn things in its favor around the third of four marks, solidify its positioning around the fourth mark, and win its third straight Hinman Masters Regatta, which was hosted by the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court. For the third straight year, Southern Yacht Club was second.
Teams from Riverside Yacht Club and American Yacht Club battle around Mark 2 during the first day of racing.
The annual regatta, which was first run in 2000, sees teams from some of the country’s top yacht clubs converge on Newport for a long weekend of frenetic team race action. This year, the race committee ran 126 races over three days in a wide variety of conditions. As it is a masters event, skippers must be 45 and over, crews each 40 and over, and everyone must be a member of the club they represent.
To get a sense for how seriously the clubs take this regatta, one only has to look at the rosters of the two top teams. Russ Silvestri, the team captain for the St. Francis squad [at right, with the Hinman Masters Trophy], sailed the Finn in the 2000 Olympics. He’s also a veteran of the AmericaOne America’s Cup campaign. Craig Healy and Chris Raab, the other two St. Francis skippers, are decorated one-design sailors. Southern Yacht Club, which finished second for the third straight year, was led by four-time Olympian and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Johnny Lovell.
The host New York Yacht Club, including [left to right] Colin Gordon, Wendy Lotz, Peter Bendetto, and skipper Rear Commodore Phil Lotz [hidden], finished fourth in the regatta.
But talent alone won’t win a team race regatta. With each team comprised of three boats of three or four sailors, it’s truly a team effort. Familiarity with one another—both within each individual crew and throughout the team as a whole—and a lot of team racing experience are essential to victory.
'Same team, same guys, same girl, and everyone wants to do it [each year],' said Silvestri. 'We stick together as a team. We race the [St. Francis] club team race championship, we get out to practice a few times. We do a lot of match racing, as well, and we’re ready for the intensity of the game.'
Silvestri raced at the very top of the sport for many years. He is now passionate about team racing. 'Coming here is fun,' he said. 'The boats are well prepared, and the competition is good. You get to sail with your friends. And the camaraderie is great. You see guys you’ve known for a long time.'
The victorious St. Francis Yacht Club with the Hinman Masters Trophy
The St. Francis captain also made a point to complement the race committee, which was led by club members A.J. Evans and Peter Levesque: 'Their crewwork is impeccable. They do a fabulous job.'
The Hinman Masters is the second of three keelboat team-racing events being run by the New York Yacht Club this summer. The Grandmasters Championship was held July 27-28. The third event is the Morgan Cup, which has no age restrictions and is one of the most competitive team race regattas in the country. That competition will start on Friday, August 9. For more information on the Hinman Masters, please click here.
2013 Hinman Masters Results
1. St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, 22 races won; 2. Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, 21; 3. Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, Conn. 20; 4. New York Yacht Club, New York, 15; 5. Texas Corinthian Yacht Club, Kemah, Texas, 12; 6. American Yacht Club, Rye, N.Y., 10; 7. Riverside Yacht Club, Greenwich, Conn. 10; 8. Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, Mass., 9; 9. Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 7; 10. Annapolis Yacht Club, Annapolis, Md., 0.
For race-by-race results, click here
Winning Team: Russ Silvestri, Craig Healy, Chris Raab, Thomas Iseler, David Kelly, Sean Svendsen, Elisabeth Collins, John Collins, Tom Ducharme, Joseph McCoy, Kurt Wessels, and Mario Yovkov