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Knickerbocker Cup at Western Long Island Sound preview

by Andrea Watson on 18 Aug 2011
Reuben Corbett with the winning teams at the Dennis Conner – Ed du Moulin Junior Match Race. Andrea Watson www.sailingpress.com
Knickerbocker Cup is being hosted by Manhasset Bay YC, in Western Long Island Sound, from Thursday 24th to Sunday 28th August 2011.

This being August, it’s just about time to welcome the international match racers from around the world to Manhasset Bay YC. The Knickerbocker Cup is a qualifier for the World Match Racing Tour, with the winner gaining an automatic entry to the Argo Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious match racing events on the Tour. Twelve teams from around the world have been invited to compete in this year's event. Manhasset Bay will be filled with match racing from mid-morning to late afternoon. And from matches leading up to the Cup, both internationally and in the United States, viewers will be treated to some of the best match racing in recent years.

Teams that have been invited to this year’s event, listed in order of their ISAF ranking: Reuben Corbett, Aon Racing, (NZL), is leading the pack with an ISAF ranking of 14, is back again to reprise his 2009 win. William Tiller, Full Metal Jacket Racing (NZL) ISAF 22, is back for his second year at the KCUP, and he is one to watch closely, for last year his downwind skills had everyone taking notice. Laurie Jury, Zoke Kiwimatch (NZL), ISAF 27, took some time away from the Knickerbocker CUP and is returning this year and from his matches out at the Chicago Match Race Center, he is going to be giving these teams some good competition. Taylor Canfield, Team CMRC, (ISV), at ISAF 32, Intercollegiate Match Race Champion, won the Trifecta (the 2010 equivalent of the Grand Slam), and received an automatic entry in the Congressional Cup, the only Grade 1 match race in the United States. Olli-Pekka Lumjarvi, Siragusawa Sailing Team, (FIN), ISAF 33, is new to the Knickerbocker Cup, but after a strong spring racing season, he will be ready to take on the competition. Nicholai Sehested, TRE-FOR Match Racing (DEN), ISAF 43, is back again this year to vie for the CUP, and from the looks of the competition in Chicago, matches between Sehested and Jury are not to be missed. Jordan Reece, True Blue Racing (AUS) ISAF 48, is somewhat of a newcomer, as he formed his team only last year – with the goal of making the World Tour by 2013. Rising to 48 on the ISAF ranking is a clear indication that this team means business. Shawn Bennett, Team Bennett (USA), ISAF 56, won the United States Match Racing Championship (USMRC) last Sept. at the Bayview YC which gave him automatic entry into the 2011 Knickerbocker Cup – he is another one to watch carefully. Jon Singsen, USMMA Kings Point Sailing (USA), ISAF 58, is our local entry who has risen in the ISAF rankings substantially, and is ready to take on the competition. Robbie Allam, Allam Sailing Team (GBR), ISAF 78, has won two of his events so far this year in Europe and is looking forward to strong results in the US Tour to take his team to the next level. Sally Barkow, Team 7 Match Race (USA), ISAF 159, is returning again this year with her all –female team to try again for the Cup and another one to keep an eye on as she has been doing well in her recent match races. Bruce Stone, Vela Club el Porvenir (USA), ISAF 195, has garnered big wins in fleet racing, and is somewhat new to the match racing scene, but with his long history of wins and years of experience, don’t count him out.

This year the Knickerbocker Cup is part of a series of four consecutive match races (last year it was a three-series event called the Trifecta). Event organizers from Manhasset Bay YC (MBYC) along with Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC), Bayview YC (BYC) and Oakcliff Sailing Center (OSC) announced in early spring the inaugural North American Grand Slam Match Racing Series for 2011. The team with the best combined scores from match racing events raced at each venue will receive an invitation to the 2012 Congressional Cup at Long Beach YC, the oldest ISAF Grade 1 prize money event in the United States. Four competitors will race in all four events: Taylor Canfield (ISV), Laurie Jury (NZL), Nicholai Sehested (DEN) and William Tiller (NZL). Five teams have an outside shot at the Grand Slam as they are competing in two events: Robbie Allam (GBR), Mike Buckley (USA), Olli-Pekka Lumjarvi (FIN), Dave Perry (USA) and Shawn Ryan (USA).

'This growth in interest has been phenomenal,' said US Sailing’s Match Racing Committee Chairman and US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics match racing coach Dave Perry. 'We’ve been fortunate to have some enthusiastic clubs and patrons help support the game, including forming some new match racing centers around the U.S. Plus we have had great response from sailors who see match racing as an exciting form of the game that can lead to more and more competition through a series of qualifiers to the big events.' Perry continued, 'The integration of these regattas will make it much easier now for sailors to compete in their local and regional areas to improve their game and gain valuable ISAF Ranking Points, and as their ranking improves they will have the opportunity to race in higher level events, and maybe even get onto the World Match Racing Tour.'

As a lead up to this year’s Knickerbocker Cup, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club hosted the Dennis Conner-Ed du Moulin Junior Match Race, which was open to all Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound (JSA-LIS) members. With a full day of clinic with on-the-water practice, these young teams were ready to try their new skills out. Reuben Corbett (NZL) who won the 2009 Knickerbocker Cup and is back again this year to try to win it again, stopped by the clinic and spent a good bit of time sharing his match racing experiences with the group, which added significantly to their understanding of the skills involved in match racing. At the end of the day, Jack Parkin of Riverside YC prevailed in the finals over Meredith Krim, MBYC. The Parkin team will receive their trophy on Sun., Aug 28 at the Knickerbocker Cup Awards Ceremony, where they will have a chance to be 'up close and personal' with the international teams.

The Knickerbocker Cup Foundation is happy to extend an invitation to the community again this year to watch the races on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28. Boat tours are free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Enjoy some time on the water, take in the beauty of Manhasset Bay and catch the action as teams from around the world duke it out to claim the title of the 2011 Knickerbocker Champion. To be part of the excitement, email: Knickerbocker Cup website
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