When it comes to delivering world-class competition, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex has a long track record for success. One hundred and sixty one years, to be exact.
Tomorrow, the oldest regatta in the country will resume its pattern of excellence, hosting an impressive 167 boats for three days (June 12-14) of racing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. Starting things off is an optional 19 nautical mile sprint around Conanicut Island; it will be followed on Saturday and Sunday (June 13-14) with buoy racing.
Seventy percent of the fleet will participate in tomorrow’s separately scored Around-the-Island Race, including all nine of the C&C 30s, which are sailing for their first time ever here as a one-design class. The Rhode Island-built boats feature teams from Michigan, California, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island.
“The sailors in our fleet are very experienced, but the boat is new to all of us, so this weekend will be a learning curve for everyone,” said Angus Davis (Bristol, R.I) who will be racing with his mostly Rhode Island team aboard Nyabinghi. Davis, whose background until now had only been in classic yachts, grew up sailing Herreshoff S Boats and more recently raced his restored Herreshoff sloop Kestrel.
In addition to the C&C 30s, the regatta also hosts racing for eight other one-design classes (Marstrom 32, 12 Metre, S Class, Swan 42, Etchells, J/30, J/109 and J/111s) as well as divisions for IRC and Classics (Spirit of Tradition, Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker classes). At the other end of the spectrum are PHRF boats that want a more relaxing race experience. For the weekend, they will compete in the Navigator Division, which sails one race per day around government marks.
Last year’s Navigator Division winner Kenn Fischburg (Norwich, Conn.) and his team on the J/111 Wild Child will have their work cut out for them tomorrow as they compete with 18 other J/111s in a one-design class. Since the Annual Regatta is serving as a prelude to the J/111 World Championships, which take place in Newport next week, the class is the largest here. (Wild Child will transition back to the Navigator Division for the weekend’s racing.)
“It will be a different game on the water tomorrow,” said Fischburg, who purchased Wild Child last spring and will race with his crew from last year, which includes local tactician Stuart Johnstone. “I think everyone is going to use this event to get the steam out of their sails, and I expect all the teams to be very competitive.”
In addition to Wild Child, 14 other class winners from the 2014 Annual Regatta have returned. They include American Eagle (12 Metre), Christopher Dragon (IRC), Hooligan (IRC), Jazz Fish (PHRF Navigators), Mahalo (Swan 42), Nighthawk (PHRF Navigators), Osprey (Herreshoff S Class), Rush (IRC), Silent Maid (Classics), Spartan (Classics), Spookie (IRC), Victory 83 (12 Metre), Wild Child (PHRF Navigators), and Wings (IRC).