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Request for invitation period opens for New York Yacht Club's Summer Team Races

by Stuart Streuli 16 Jan 06:59 PST
2019 Grandmasters Team Race © Stuart Streuli / New York Yacht Club

While team racing has been a popular pursuit for scholastic and collegiate sailors for the better part of a century, it's development as a popular racing format for post-collegiate sailors has come mostly in the last two decades.

Each August, the world of post-collegiate team racing turns its focus to Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay and the majestic grounds of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court for a trio of prestigious team race regattas. The request for invitation period for all three is open through Monday, February 3, with invitations to be mailed out by Monday, February 24. Interested competitors can click here to request an invitation.

The oldest of the New York Yacht Club's three team races is the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy, aka the Hinman Masters. Skippers must be at least 45 years old, while crew must be 40 or older. It was first sailed in 2000 and was an immediate success; demand for entries quickly outstripped capacity.

In 2003, the Club added the Morgan Cup, named in honor of former Commodore J.P. Morgan, to the schedule. There is no age minimum for this event, and it's traditionally the most intense of the three regattas, with many former collegiate all-stars eager to show they haven't lost a step.

The New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta was first raced in 2010. Skippers must be at least 60, while each crew must be on the back nine of his or her first first century (aka, at least 50 years old). The Grandmasters regatta, which known for the great camaraderie shared by the competitors, will be sailed for the 10th time in 2020, while the Hinman Trophy will celebrate its 20th running. Both regattas lost a year due to hurricanes.

"We are very proud of the Club's trio of team racing regattas, and the role the Club has played in the development of team racing for post-collegiate sailors," says Ben Gent, a co-chair of the Club's Team Racing Subcommittee. "Our team racing events are known for the great competition on the water and the unmatched hospitality ashore, and we're always looking for ways to improve upon the competitor experience."

The New York Yacht Club's team races are run in a three-versus-three format utilizing the Club's fleet of 22 identical Sonar keelboats. Designed by Club member Bruce Kirby, the 23-foot Sonar is an ideal choice for team racing. Each boat is crewed by three or more sailors, with the use of symmetric spinnakers adding a boathandling component that isn't seen much in dinghy team racing. The Sonar moves well in light air, but remains manageable in stronger winds.

While boatspeed is important, races are more often won by the team that works best together, knowing when to sacrifice distance, or position, in order to help out a teammate and ultimately solidify a winning combination.

"One of the things I like best about the team racing events is connecting with people I've been competing with and against for decades," says Gent, who was a standout collegiate sailor at Boston College. "But the Club also recognizes the need to bring in new teams on a regular basis. So we encourage any club that has an interest in team racing to apply. Team racing is the best bang-for-the-buck experience in sailing."

Interested teams can request an invitation for any of the three events by clicking here. The Hinman Masters Trophy and Grandmasters Regatta are open to teams representing established yacht clubs around the world. For the Morgan Cup, no yacht club affiliation is required.

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