Narragansett Bay was splashed with as much history as color today when 25 show-stopping vintage yachts took to its waters north of Newport’s Pell Bridge to kick off Part I of New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. In its ninth edition, the biennial event hosts a variety of classic yachts for racing over its first weekend (July 12-13) and an additional fleet of IRC, PHRF and one-designs for four days of racing in Part II, starting on Wednesday and continuing through Saturday (July 16-19). After a one-hour delay ashore, this year’s competition started promptly at noon in a building southwesterly breeze (10-14 knots), which allowed all four classes (Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, 12 Metre and S-Class) to each complete two races.
It was an absolutely spectacular day on the water,' said Trevor Fetter (Dallas, Texas), part owner of the 1938 Sparkman and Stephens 68 Black Watch, which is the largest yacht racing and finished today in third place in Classics Class One. 'I love all classic boats, and the more regattas we have like this, the more people we will get interested in racing them. Being part of such a competitive event is one of the highlights of our summer.' Leading in Classics Class 1 is Sam Croll and Henry Skelsey’s (Greenwich, Conn.) eight Metre Angelita, best known for winning the Olympic Sailing Gold Medal in 1932.
Classics Class Two found past New York Yacht Club Commodore Charles Townsend’s (Middletown, R.I.) 56-year-old Sparkman and Stephens 39 Fidelio, a defending champion here, at the top of the scoreboard at the end of the day.
'Fidelio was ahead by a country mile in both races,' said Chris Bouzaid (Cushing, Maine), who sailed his recently restored Luders 24 Leaf in that class. Bouzaid said Leaf 'duked it out with Belle (another Luders 24) all the way around the course in race one' (beating her by 11 seconds). A DNF (did not finish) in race two was due to Bouzaid’s not realizing there was a second race, and it pushed him to fourth overall on the scoreboard while Belle secured second overall. 'We started to head in and by the time we realized it, we would have been seven minutes behind the fleet at the start!' Bouzaid said he took it in stride, however, as this was the shakedown race for the yacht, which he found in Castine, Maine. 'It’s our first time, so it’s a little tricky,' said Bouzaid. 'They built 12 of the Luders 24s; this is hull number seven and there are five left as best as I can tell.'
The Herreshoff S-Class, designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff in 1919, is the oldest traditional one-design class in the country and is the largest class this weekend, with seven boats competing. 'I’ve been racing in the S-Class for 30 years, and I think that what draws sailors to these boats is the competition and camaraderie that goes along with it,' said Fred Roy (Newport, R.I.), former Commodore of the Narragansett Bay Herreshoff S-Class Association, who raced Surprise today.
Roy added that Geoffrey Davis’s Aquila finished the day with third- and first-place finishes and holds the lead going into tomorrow’s final races. 'What I love about this class is the family-like aspect. These are boats that people pass from generation to generation, and they attract sailors of all ages.'
The 12 Metre Class also brings an intriguing past to the table, having been the designated America’s Cup design from 1958 to 1987. Gunther Buerman’s New Zealand (formerly known as KZ3) holds first place overall after winning both races today.
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or (401) 845-9633. Results:
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points Classics - Class 1 (Non-Spinnaker) (CRF - Five Boats)
1. Angelita, 8-Metre 50.33, Skelsey / Croll, USA - 2, 1, ; 3
2. Chips, W.Starling Burgess P-Class 50, Jed Pearsall , Newport, RI, USA - 1, 3, ; 4
3. Black Watch, S&S 68 68, Trevor Fetter, Dallas, TX, USA - 3, 2; 5 Classics - Class 2 (Spinnaker) (CRF - Seven Boats)
1. Fidelio, S&S 39 39, Charles Townsend, Middletown, RI, USA - 1, 1, ; 2
2. Belle, Luders 24 38.25, Jonathan Loughborough , Newport, RI, USA - 4, 2, ; 6
3. SYCE, 6 Metre 34, Bob & Farley Towse , Stamford, CT, USA - 2, 4, ; 6 12 Metres (One Design - Five Boats)
1. New Zealand (GP), 12 Metre 65, Gunther Buerman , Newport , RI, USA - 1, 1, ; 2
2. Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, FL, USA - 2, 2; 4
3. Intrepid, 12 Metre 65', jack curtin, Toronto, Ont, USA - 4, 4; 8 Herreshoff S Class (One Design - Eight Boats)
1. Aquila, Herreshoff S Class 27.5, Geoffrey Davis, Providence, RI, USA - 3, 1, ; 4
2. OSPREY, Herreshoff S Class 27.5, Michael McCaffrey , Newport, RI, USA - 2, 3, ; 5
3. Firefly, Herreshoff S Class 27, Alan Silken, Newton, MA, USA - 1, 5; 6