In the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup U.S. Qualifying Series, sponsored by Atlantis WeatherGear and J Boats, after seven races in a brilliant sunlit sea breeze, preliminary scores show little light between the top seven teams in the Gold fleet vying for three Invitational Cup slots. Though Seattle and San Francisco yacht clubs had been distancing themselves from the group in the first five races, each swallowed a bottom half score in the last two races to allow the fleet to catch up. St. Francis had been tied for second until a DSQ in race five dropped them to fourth.
Beneficiaries of the top group’s misfortune were Larchmont, who won race seven and also received redress in race four, and Texas Corinthian Yacht Club, a team that was finally on the positive side of the subtle shifts and strong current lines on Narragansett Bay Course ending with a 1,5,5 score line. There is no throwout for the Gold and Silver series, putting more pressure on each race.
For fellow Texans in the Gold fleet, Fort Worth Boat Club, just one too many bottom half places put them at the bottom of the fleet despite several top five finishes. Only ten points separated them and the next four places, roughly the same difference between first and seventh.
'It’s a very tight fleet and you can’t make any mistakes,' said Fort Worth skipper Glenn Darden after the long day of racing. 'They’re all good and somebody is going to get a twelfth in each race.'
The sailing wasn’t any easier in the Silver series as boats rounded the weather mark bow-to-stern and most overlapped at the leeward gates. Four points separate the top three and an invite to the next qualifying series in 2014 is on the line. Though American, Nantucket and Southern yacht clubs have a point cushion at the top, anything can happen in tomorrow’s predicted strong southerlies.
With one more day of racing, race officials are confident whoever ends up on top by Saturday afternoon will be hungry to win the 2013 Invitational Cup.
The winner of the Championship series will not only hold a berth along with second and third place finishers for the 2013 Invitational Cup but will also win the Resolute Cup. And though only one Silver fleet team gets a guaranteed invite to the Qualifiers in 2014, all the sailors are racing for the pride of their clubs. And with a large contingent spread out on the array of spectator boats with burgees flying, that’s just as important as a trophy.
U.S. Yacht Clubs represented this week include American Yacht Club, Bay Head Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Carolina Yacht Club, Eastern Yacht Club, Edgartown Yacht Club, Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Florida Yacht Club, Fort Worth
Boat Club, Grand Maumelle Sailing Club, Grand Traverse Yacht Club, Indian Harbor Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Little Traverse Yacht Club, Nantucket Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Pequot Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Seattle Yacht Club, Southern Yacht Club, St. Francis Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club, Texas Corinthian Yacht Club and Youngstown Yacht Club.
U.S. Qualifying Series website
by Christopher J. Museler
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11:22 PM Fri 7 Sep 2012GMT
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