For a number of years, the measure of a serious regatta has been strongly tied to how well the course axis is aligned with the wind direction and whether the starting line is perfectly square to the wind. But the pendulum of participant opinion is moving slowly toward less rigidity and more fun. Peter Cummiskey, the event chairman for the 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, aims to get ahead of the curve.
The ninth biennial Race Week at Newport, which will run July 12 to 19, will still be, at its core, all about providing the best possible racing for some of the United States’ most competitive big-boat sailing programs. But there will be a few new twists to prevent the event from getting stale and keep competitors on their respective toes.
'The science of regatta management is constantly evolving,' said Cummiskey. 'Whether its introducing new courses, tweaking the regatta schedule or utilizing social media to connect with participants, fans and the media, the New York Yacht Club will do whatever it can to ensure the best possible regatta experience for all competitors. Race Week at Newport was first run in 1998, but the Club has a history of running great events—often in Newport—that dates back to just days after the club was founded in 1844. This is a tradition of which we are quite proud.'
One of the most significant changes for 2014 involves the inclusion of a middle distance race in Part II of the regatta. A distance race of some fashion has traditionally been a part of Race Week, but it’s usually been scored separately from the buoy racing. This year, a middle distance race—the date will be at the discretion of the race committee—will count toward the overall standings for the IRC and one-design fleets that will compete during the second half of Race Week.
Another new feature will be 'stadium' racing on a compact course inside Narragansett Bay. The 2012 America’s Cup World Series stop in Newport, R.I., proved the viability of racing large, fast boats on short courses close to spectator viewing at Fort Adams. In addition to providing a great venue for friends and family to watch, racing inside the bay—specifically in the area south of the Newport Bridge—will bring to the fore different skills. Properly negotiating the current and the land-induced wind shifts will be paramount, as will be traffic management.
A final new addition to the week will be a Saturday night closing awards party presented by Rolex. Past Race Weeks at Newport have ended on a Sunday, forcing competitors to choose between the awards ceremony or an early start home. With this year’s regatta ending on Saturday, Rolex will host one of its signature parties at the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court (at left). This evening will celebrate all competitors with great food, camaraderie, and live music.
Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex is also pleased to announce a new regatta sponsor for 2014, Sentient Jet, one of the country’s leading providers of private aviation.
'We are thrilled to be an official sponsor of the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport,' said Andrew Collins, President of Sentient Jet. 'This exciting and historic event provides Sentient with the opportunity to introduce regatta participants and NYYC members to our sensible jet card approach to flying, superior customer service and flexibility, and best-in-class safety standards.'
During the second half of Race Week at Newport, Sentient Jet will welcome regatta participants, both before and after racing, to its lounge under the regatta marquee.
Entries for the 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex are due by 1700 EDT on July 4. For more information, please click here