The three-day 159th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex has a record of 154 yachts preparing to take part. Tomorrow will seem like rush hour on Narragansett Bay when 94 of those entries gather for the start of the event’s optional Around the (Conanicut) Island Race.
Always held the Friday before the separately-scored weekend racing takes place, the 19 nautical mile sprint could be wild and wet, since forecasts predict high winds and more rain for an already saturated Northeast. But Annual Regatta sailors have 'feared not' for over a century and a half as they’ve kept this regatta—the oldest in the country—alive and vibrant, and with Saturday’s weather promising to be nothing short of spectacular, there is plenty of enthusiasm for multiple days of stiff competition in IRC, Classic, 12 Metre and one-design classes as well as PHRF Navigator classes.
A large contingent of sailors participating in both segments of the Annual Regatta made landfall in Newport this week after a long storm-ridden Annapolis to Newport Race. Among them are midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy who will be sailing the TP 52 Corsair, the J/122 Dolphin and the Navy 44 Flirt.
'Annapolis to Newport this year was a pretty challenging race in terms of weather conditions, and for most of our midshipmen it was their first offshore competition,' said the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team’s Head Coach Jahn Tihansky (Annapolis, Md.), who raced aboard Corsair. 'Fifty miles into the race we started into the tail end of a storm and broached to avoid hitting another competitor. It was definitely an experience. Tomorrow’s Around the Island Race is going to be challenging for our midshipmen, but last weekend’s weather has helped prepare them for it. Overall, we’re looking forward to some good competitive sailing all weekend and hope to have at least one team on the podium come Sunday afternoon.'
158th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Newport RI - Billy Black
The odds look good, since Flirt and Dolphin took first and second in their respective classes in the Annapolis to Newport Race. And if Annapolis to Newport performances are to bode well for the Annual Regatta, then the largest boat competing, George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) 90-foot Rambler, will be one to watch as it works to beat, among others, Stephen Murray’s (New Orleans, La.) Carkeek 40 Decision, which finished second overall to Rambler’s first in the Annapolis race.
A Rolex timepiece will be awarded after Friday’s racing to the overall IRC winner. (There are four IRC classes competing.) As in past years, the two-boat team with the best individual finishes in Friday’s race will win the Rolex Bowl.
Last year’s Around the Island Race Champions returning tomorrow include Takashi Okura (Tokyo, Japan) in IRC 2 with the TP 52 SLED (who also won the Rolex watch for best overall IRC performance); Larry Landry (North Kingstown, R.I.) in IRC 4 with the King 40 White Witch; James Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.) in IRC 5 with the J/44 Gold Digger; Rives Potts (Westbrook, Conn.) in IRC 6 with the custom 48 Carina; Dennis Williams in the 12 Metre class with Victory 83; Kenneth Colburn (Dover, Mass) in the Swan 42 class with Apparition; Joseph Dockery (Newport, R.I.) in the CRF class with custom Sparkman & Stephens Sonny; Gerald Harris (Rowayton, Conn.) in the PHRF non-spinnaker class with the Columbia 50 Hermie.
Racing for the NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex takes place on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound for all classes, with a PHRF Navigator Class -- for those who prefer a classic government buoy course to the more prevalent short-course racing -- having the option of racing either one or both of the weekend days. Live music, refreshments and daily prizes greet the sailors as they come ashore after racing each day to the rolling lawn at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse.
For a full list of entries in the Around the Island Race and additional information, please visit the New York Yacht Club’s website at nyyc.org.
by Brad Dellenbaugh
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11:30 AM Fri 14 Jun 2013GMT
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