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New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race

by New York Yacht Club 15 Aug 2021 22:53 PDT
Grandmasters Team Race © Stuart Wemple / NYYC

Part of the allure of the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race - and all the events on the grandmasters circuit, for that matter - is the chance to reconnect with old friends and like-minded sailors for three days of racing and onshore socializing. In that respect, the teams from Texas Corinthian Yacht Club in Kemah, Texas, and the host New York Yacht Club got their money's worth this weekend, racing head-to-head ten times over the course of the three-day regatta.

Each race was a battle and after nine races, the scoreline had the host Club on five wins and the team from the little club in Texas on four. But, regardless of the results to that point, the outcome of the 10th race would be definitive. The championship for the 10th edition of the Grandmasters Regatta would go to whichever team won the 64th and final race of the weekend.

"They were ahead at the first mark and the second mark," said Clark Thompson, a skipper and team captain for Texas Corinthian Yacht Club. "We were ahead at the third mark. Going up the last weather leg, it could've been either one of us and then right at the finish it all worked out. I'll bet we were each ahead two to three times during the race, we just happened to have the lead at the end."

The win was a first, in seven tries, at the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters event for Texas Corinthian Yacht Club, though the team has been on a roll this year, winning the two other grandmasters events held in 2021, and as a result, also taking home the Peter Wilson Trophy, which rewards the outstanding team in grandmasters team racing in the United States during the course of the year.

Each August the New York Yacht Club hosts three team-race regattas on consecutive weekends: the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Morgan Cup (July 30 to August 1), the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy (August 6 to 8) and the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta (August 13 to 15). Each event utilizes the Club's fleet of 22 Sonars (designed by member Bruce Kirby, who recently passed away).

The latter two have age minimums for skippers and crew to encourage team racing as a life-long pursuit. Founded in 2003, 2000 and 2010, respectively, the three regattas are among the most competitive adult team-racing competitions in the world, annually attracting top sailors from across the country and abroad.

Texas Corinthian, which it situated on Galveston Bay, has roughly 160 members, making it approximately 5 percent the size of the New York Yacht Club. But team racing has become one the club's points of emphasis.

"We have a big team and we're able to practice a lot with the weather in Texas," says Thompson. "That helps a lot. We probably have 30 people come out, enough so we can get out and get some practices in."

Thompson was also quick to credit some of the more established yacht clubs in helping the TCYC climb team racing's steep learning curve.

"What I love about the team racing is how much everybody helps each other," he says. "Noroton [Yacht Club in Darien, Conn.] came down and helped us when we first started, and we all talk afterwards and compare notes. Even there at the end, we were kind of pulling for New York, we knew they were kind of pulling for us, just not quite as much as for their own team. It was a fantastic series, it was nip and tuck the whole way and it came down to the final race."

Shortly after the results were posted online, Thompson's phone start to vibrate with congratulatory messages. Scoring a win against some of the biggest and most regarded yacht clubs in the world isn't something the membership of TCYC will take for granted.

"They were all pulling for us and sending text messages the whole time," Thompson said. "My phone is blowing up. I've probably got 20 messages of congratulations since we won. It was great knowing the whole club was behind us."

With the finish of the Grandmasters Regatta, the team racing for 2021 has concluded at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court. The Club is anticipating again hosting four great inter-club team races next year, adding the second annual Women's 2v2 Team Race - which debuted this year in late May - to the historic trio of team races it runs each August.

Final Standings: scoring matrix / race results

1. Texas Corinthian Yacht Club (Kemah, Texas), 13-2 in Round Robins 1-3, 4-3 in Championship Match
2. New York (N.Y.) Yacht Club, 13-2, 3-4
3. St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco), 7-8, 5-1 in Silver Round Robin
4. Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans)
5-10, 3-3; Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.), 3-12, 4-2
6. Annapolis (Md.) Yacht Club, 4-11, 0-6

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