New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta was held over the weekend in Newport, R.I. Peter Wilson was succinct when asked about the secret to Noroton Yacht Club’s third consecutive win. 'Practice,' said the NYC’s team captain [above, holding platter, with his teammates]. Then he elaborated: 'The older you get, the more you have to rely on doing what you know as opposed to knowing what to do. The only way your do-what-you-know expands is with practice. You can’t just study it, you have to do it. We practice, on average, one and a half times a week.'
The Grandmasters Team Race—skippers must be 55 or older, while crew must be at least 45—is a relatively new event on the team racing calendar. It was first run in 2010 and Noroton Yacht Club has now won it all three times it was sailed; the event was not held in 2011 due to Hurricane Irene.
As was the case last year and in 2010, the host New York Yacht Club team was a close second. This year, the two teams entered the final race—of the 62 sailed over two days on Narragansett Bay—tied on points, the winner of that race taking the regatta.
'It could’ve gone either way,' said Wilson of the final race, which was decided within feet of the finish line when the New York Yacht Team was whistled for a rules violation. 'The lead changed hands three times in a 12-minute race. They sailed very well.'
Southern Yacht Club beat Texas Corinthian Yacht Club for third place through a head-to-head tiebreaker. The other teams that competed in the event, in order of their finish, were: Ida Lewis Yacht Club/Storm Trysail Club, St. Francis Yacht Club, St. Petersburg Yacht Club and American Yacht Club.
While the grandmasters team racing schedule is currently sparse, Wilson is hopeful more clubs will follow the lead of the New York Yacht Club and create events for veteran team racers.
'For the older sailors like myself and my wife Carolyn, we now have something to really energize us in our later sailing years,' said Wilson. 'You get tired of fleet racing, but team racing is exciting: you sail many more races, you win some, you lose some, and even if you don’t come out with a great record you remember the races you won. It’s just more personally satisfying.'
1. Noroton (Darien, Conn.) Yacht Club, 14 points; 2. New York Yacht Club, 13; 3. Southern (New Orleans) Yacht Club, 11; 4. Texas Corinthian (Kemah, Texas) Yacht Club, 11; 5. Ida Lewis (Newport, R.I.) Yacht Club/Storm Trysail (Larchmont, N.Y.) Club, 6; 6. St. Francis (San Francisco) Yacht Club, 3; 7. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Yacht Club, 2; 8. American (Rye, N.Y.) Yacht Club; 1.5.
by Stuart Streuli
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10:59 AM Mon 29 Jul 2013GMT
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