If the previous days of sailing in the New York Yacht Club US Qualifying Series were any indication, all the skippers in this week’s event knew today was going to be the toughest day. With a perfect 12- 17-knot sea breeze, the top seeded Gold fleet teams faltered from near capsizes to breakdowns and penalties allowing hope for the lurking pack close behind.
J/70s in the final day of the 2012 New York Yacht Club U.S. Qualifying Series won by Larchmont YC
In the end, the last qualifier for the Gold fleet, Larchmont, climbed to the top as Seattle and San Francisco yacht clubs held on to gain the final two spots and berths in the 2013 Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.
'We struggled in the qualifying round, but really started to feel comfortable finally today,' said Danny Pletsch, skipper for Larchmont. 'The left side of the course was heavily favored today so we started there, then began starting at the boat to be more conservative near the end.'
In the Silver fleet, Southern Yacht Club was more than one minute late to one of today’s starts, and that was just enough of a window for the consistent American Yacht Club to grab the overall win. Now American has secured a position in the 2014 U.S. Qualifying Series.
For the top three in the Gold fleet, preparing for the Invitational Cup is potentially more intimidating than facing the tooth-and-nail racing each day this week. 'They’ll probably be shocked to find out we qualified,' said Shawn Bennett, skipper of third place San Francisco Yacht Club. 'It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for the club.' Bennett, who has experience preparing for national and world championships, said that he is sure the members will step up the training for next year’s event.
Larchmont is in the enviable position of being the first name on the Resolute Cup, a re-dedicated New York Yacht Club trophy that dates back to 1915. Now Larchmont will join Seattle, San Francisco, New York and around 20 international yacht clubs in next year’s Invitational Cup to be sailed in the NYYC Swan 42.
Larchmont Yacht Club Gold Fleet - 2012 New York Yacht Club U.S. Qualifying Series
U.S. Yacht Clubs represented this week include American Yacht Club, Bay Head Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Carolina Yacht Club, Eastern Yacht Club, Edgartown Yacht Club, Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Florida Yacht Club, Fort Worth Boat Club, Grand Maumelle Sailing Club, Grand Traverse Yacht Club, Indian Harbor Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Little Traverse Yacht Club, Nantucket Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Pequot Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Seattle Yacht Club, Southern Yacht Club, St. Francis Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, Texas Corinthian Yacht Club and Youngstown Yacht Club.
US Qualifying Series website