Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Newport Harbor YC Eclipses YCCS J/70 International Team Race Challenge

J/70s sailing YC Costa Smeralda team race (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)- The second edition of the YC Costa Smeralda Invitational Team Racing Challenge regatta in Porto Cervo concluded with a resounding victory for California's Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Over the course of three day's racing the six participating teams completed a total of 62 matches in varied sea and wind conditions!

Newport Harbor YC wins J/70 YC Costa Smeralda team raceThe team flying the Newport Harbor burgee (skippers Justin Law and Mac Mace with crew of Dan Geissman, Whit Batchelor, Rod Rader and Bill Menninger), together with the crews from New York Yacht Club and Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club, proved to be strong contenders from the beginning of the series. While New York YC racked up a perfect scorecard in the first day's Round Robin, winning 5 out 5 races, Newport Harbor YC managed to consistently win each one of their races in the Round Robins of days two and three. The battle to attain second position overall, and consequently a place in the final knock-out round, was fought between New York YC (consisting of skippers Stu Saffer and Senet Bischoff with crew of Carrie Saffer, Ned Glenn, Monique Singer and Roland Singer) and Eastern Yacht Club (consisting of skippers Matt Hook and Doug Sabin with crew of Chris Remelka, Sinan Kunt, Peter Lynn and Callie Naughton). However, after a lackluster performance in the final Round Robin from the New York team, it was Eastern that pipped their New York YC counterparts to the post by just one point.

The final, which took place in 15 knots of Mistral breeze accompanied by warm sunshine, once again saw Newport Harbor dominate as they immediately tucked away two wins in the best-of-three competition. The final leaderboard, therefore, saw an all-American top three with Newport Harbor YC followed by Eastern YC in second and New York Yacht Club in third place. The team representing host club YCCS claimed fourth place ahead of Royal Thames Yacht Club and Gamla Stans YC of Sweden.

J/70s sailing off Sardinia- YC Costa Smeralda team raceThe J/70 fleet provided by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for the event proved to be agile even in Friday’s light airs and the Race Committee had no problem fitting in the full programme of flights scheduled for the day. The New York Yacht Club enjoyed a perfect scorecard so far, with Newport Harbour Yacht Club in second place with three wins and two defeats.  While racing Friday was fast and fun, teams were looking forward to a stronger breeze Saturday as the infamous Sardinian Mistral moves in. Forecasts had it blowing at 15-20 knots on the course. Fortunately, staff from both Quantum Sails, technical partner of the event, and J/Boats Italy were on hand on the race course for any technical tweaking that may be required.

In the meantime all concerned relaxed and took in the stunning views from the YCCS Pool terrace at the evening's Team Barbecue!  Tough duty to be team-racing J/70s in Sardinia watching the sun set over the Aga Khan’s empire!

Day two saw the Stars & Stripes flying from the top of all three flagpoles at YC Costa Smeralda at the end of the day.  At the same time, everyone discovered how devastating the teamwork was from Newport Harbor YC’s skippers and crew- wiping the table clean by winning every single race with supreme confidence.  In fact, all three American yacht clubs showed a clean pair of heels to all their European counterparts.

With three round robins and a total of 45 matches completed, Newport Harbour YC sat atop the leaderboard followed by New York YC and Eastern YC.  Fourth was YC Costa Smeralda.  The event would then turn to fourth round-robin, a semi-finals and finals on the last day.

J/70s sailing YC Costa Smeralda team race- Sardinia, ItalyIn two-on-two team racing, easily one of the most exciting formats in this game, each Club takes to the starting line with two boats, the objective is to ensure that one of the opposing Club's boats crosses the line last - thereby decreeing the losing team. Tactics play an important role, as does seamless synergy between the two crews, and the sailors from Newport Harbour YC clearly had their routine down pat as they triumphed in 10 out of 10 races on the second day. Their competitors at New York YC were not far behind, with  7 of 10 wins on the board.

In the finale on Sunday, Newport Harbor YC’s team simply ran the table to take their inaugural YCCS International Team Race Challenge Trophy home to Newport Beach, CA.  Second was Eastern YC from Marblehead, MA and third was New York YC from Newport, RI.

YC Costa Smeralda Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo commented during the prize giving: "Team racing is a fantastic discipline, it really underlines the fundamental values of sailing: teamwork, concentration and tactical ability. This week we were lucky enough to have three American Clubs who have a great deal of experience in this specialty, from whom we can only learn. Conditions were varied but today everyone had the real "Costa Smeralda" experience, with ideal wind and sea conditions and sunshine making for a perfect day's racing. My thanks go to all the teams who travelled here from near and far and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2018."

To round off the event, which combined competitive racing with first-rate social events since day one, the teams were invited to a gala dinner and prize giving at the YC Costa Smeralda Clubhouse overlooking Porto Cervo Marina.  For more YC Costa Smeralda International Team Racing Challenge sailing information