After sailing in fresh breezes Saturday, 26 pristine classic yachts, divided into four classes, were faced with challenging 20-25 knot winds on Sunday that determined their overall positions in Part I of New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. The biennial event, in its ninth edition, is known for its split format whereby IRC, PHRF and One-Design Racing sailors will get their shot at the action during Part II, scheduled for this Wednesday through Saturday (July 16-19).
Wrapping up Part I with impressive first-place finishes across the board were Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) New Zealand (KZ-3) in 12 Metre Class and past New York Yacht Club Commodore Charles Townsend’s (Middletown, R.I.) Sparkman and Stephens 39 Fidelio in Classics Class Two (Spinnaker).
'I think that this was the breeziest two-day regatta that we’ve participated in, at least in a long time, but Fidelio likes the heavier winds, so this was our weekend,' said Townsend, adding that all classes on both days raced north of Newport’s Pell Bridge on Narragansett Bay. 'I think the lighter-air boats were struggling more during this regatta, and the heavier-air boats were struggling less; however, all of us struggle when it gets over 20 knots like it did today! For the final race of the day, Fidelio was really on her ear; seldom does she heel over like that.'
The S-Class, the oldest one-design class still actively racing and sailing in its original boats, certainly felt the power of the wind today, as five of the eight boats competing either did not finish or did not compete in the second and final race. 'It was an interesting weekend with lots of ups and downs,' said Walter Bopp (Greenwich, Conn.) who luckily experienced more 'ups.' His Mischief won the class overall, despite starting prematurely (and restarting) in two of the four series races. 'Today was quite rough in terms of wind, but we worked as a team and hung in there,' said Bopp. 'This is a great event to compete in. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee really runs some first-class racing.'
Due to today’s brisk conditions, the Race Committee was able to make a seat-of-the-pants decision to send the Classics Class One (Non-Spinnaker) on an 18-mile course around Prudence Island. (The class had yesterday sailed two Navigator Courses, using government marks, while the others raced around-the-buoys.) Jed Pearsall’s (Newport, R.I.) 50-foot P Class Sloop Chips took first place in the race and claimed overall victory in the class, as well. 'We have never raced around Prudence Island before, so I think it was good, because nobody had a home-court advantage,' said Pearsall, a Race Week veteran. 'What was great was that our entire fleet was so close in distance throughout the entire race. It made the competition really exciting; we have had a fantastic day and a fantastic weekend.' Top-three results follow:
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points Classics - Class 1 (non-spinnaker) (CRF - Five Boats)
1. Chips, Jed Pearsall, USA - 1, 3, 1; 5
2. Angelita, Skelsey / Croll, USA - 2, 1, 2; 5
3. Black Watch, Trevor Fetter, USA - 3, 2, 6/DNF; 11 Classics - Class 2 (spinnaker) (CRF - Seven Boats)
1. Fidelio, Charles Townsend, USA - 1, 1, 1, 1; 4
2. Belle, Jonathan Loughborough, USA - 3, 2, 2, 3; 10
3. Vixen (spin), Andrew Norris, USA - 5, 5, 3, 2; 15 12 Metres (One Design - Five Boats)
1. New Zealand (GP), Gunther Buerman, USA - 1, 1, 1, 1; 4
2. Victory 83, Dennis Williams, USA - 2, 2, 5, 4; 13
3. KZ5 Laura (GP), Kip Curren, USA - 6/OCS, 3, 4, 2; 15 Herreshoff S Class (One Design - Eight Boats)
1. Mischief, Walter Bopp, USA - 5, 2, 2, 2; 11
2. OSPREY, Michael McCaffrey, USA - 2, 3, 1, 9/DNF; 15
3. Aquila, Geoffrey Davis, USA - 3, 1, 3, 9/DNF; 16