Friday, October 27, 2017

J/105 Lipton Cup Preview

J/105 sailing San Diego (San Diego, CA)- Racing for one of the most coveted trophies on the West Coast, the 103rd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup will be sailed on October 27-29, 2017 on a fleet of matched J/105 one-design class sailboats.

Named after Sir Thomas Lipton, the famous yachtsman and tea baron, The Lipton Cup is San Diego Yacht Club’s signature fall regatta. This year twelve teams representing yacht clubs from across the country will race for the chance to win the prestigious trophy and determine which club's team is the “best of the best” of the invited teams (note- it’s an invitation-only event, not based on national qualifiers).

Racers will compete in San Diego Bay, allowing plenty of viewing opportunities for friends and family along the downtown waterfront. To ensure fairness, the regatta will be held in a round-robin format using equalized J/105s, provided by owners of local Southern California boats.

The twelve teams competing this year are: Balboa Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club, and St. Francis Yacht Club.

Newport Harbor Yacht Club won the 2016 Lipton Cup under the leadership of skipper Jon Pinckney. Previously, Newport Harbor Yacht Club had not won the event since 1980. Winners in the past five years have been San Diego Yacht Club (2015, 2013, 2011), St. Francis Yacht Club (2014), and California Yacht Club (2012). Chicago Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club will be vying for their first win of the trophy, while San Francisco Yacht Club’s last win was back in 1916.

Jon Pinckney will return to the San Diego waters to defend the trophy on behalf of Newport Harbor Yacht Club.  Jon commented on this year’s event, “There can be a lot of pressure to win this regatta and you only get so many chances before your club replaces you, so it was a huge relief to win on our third attempt, and an incredible achievement at the same time. By equalizing the fleet of J/105’s, and implementing a round-robin format, SDYC has truly created a level playing field where everyone's speed is the same. Success is determined by execution of fundamentals like starting, decision-making, and consistency. Three years ago we surprisingly found no correlation between our practices and overall results, so we conveniently no longer practice ahead of the event."

Pinckney also shares the challenges behind implementing a winning strategy, “As long as you can get the sails up and down on a J/105, your only focus is to be the most fundamentally sound team for three days. It’s the most basic life-long strategy, and at the same time, the most difficult to execute. Because, eleven other outstanding teams all share the same game plan! Any team can win, and everyone experiences pain and adversity. No throw-outs and it always comes down to the last race. We would love to win again, but you just never know. Welcome to the Lipton Cup!"

The 2017 Lipton Cup will feature three days of competitive sailing with a dockside social on Friday, and a Saturday night banquet for competitors and guests- often a fun-loving “roast” of friendly competitors from decades of sailing in many classes around America. The awards party will take place on Sunday after racing.

Event Co-Chair Tim Fuller shares that view, "Things are shaping up nicely for a great Lipton Cup Regatta. Many thanks to all of our volunteers and SDYC staff for helping organize the event. We encourage you to come on down to the bay to check-out the action."

The 2017 San Diego Yacht Club Commodore, John Reiter, summarizes the reputation of the event; “since a forward thinking group helped us reinvigorate this regatta back during 2011, SDYC has run six incredible competitive and fully subscribed events. With equalized J/105 class sailboats all using the same suits of sails designed and used specifically for the regatta, it has become one of the few 'must sail' events among the most competitive clubs in the U.S.A.  We are proud to host the sailors from competing clubs across the country.  In addition, we would like to thank our event sponsors: Helly Hansen and Cutwater Spirits.”
For more J/105 Lipton Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.