Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup: The literal storm offers a brief calm before the figurative

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The following was written and provided by the New York Yacht Club.

An unexpected day off in the middle of a racing week is always a great opportunity to recover. When it is announced at 5 p.m. the day before, it really is a giveaway. On Saturday afternoon, with a solid day of training in the rearview mirror and a forecast of over 30 the next day, the 2021 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup race committee made the decision to cancel all sailing activity. for Sunday. The net result was 24 hour leave for the 166 sailors competing in the first Corinthian Sailing Championship.

Once the schedule change was announced, the big question was what to do with the weather. The golf was high. Newport is always good for sightseeing or shopping. An anonymous sailor didn’t bother to weigh the options. “I think we’re going to go big tonight,” he said in the singing brogue of his homeland. While this regatta prides itself on the high level of organization and competition, it is always worth remembering that the participants are Corinthian sailors, taking time away from work and family to compete. In other words, the whole experience is meant to be fun. And in Newport, there are few things more fun than a Saturday night in town.

The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a biennial regatta hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbor Court in Newport, RI Since its inception in 2009, the event has drawn top sailors from 48 of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs in 21 countries. After five editions in the Swan 42 class, the 2021 event will be the second to be contested aboard the IC37, designed by Mark Mills. The strict one-design nature of this specially designed class, combined with the fact that each boat is owned and maintained by the New York Yacht Club, will ensure a level playing field not seen in any other amateur sailing competition on large boats. The regatta will run from Saturday September 11 to Saturday September 18, with races starting Tuesday September 14. A live stream on Facebook and YouTube, starting Wednesday, September 15, will allow fellow club members, friends, family and sailing enthusiasts around the world to follow the action as it unfolds. Nineteen teams from nine countries will compete in 2021. The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup 2021 is brought to you by the title sponsor Rolex and regatta sponsors Helly hansen and Hammett Hotel.

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Dusty, rested or somewhere in between, the teams reconvened at Harbor Court on Sunday afternoon for a series of mandatory briefings, and attention quickly returned to a more serious task ahead – victory. The first race is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. As with many large sailing events, the experience of the event and the venue is often crucial to success. Of the previous six Invitation Cup regattas, only two have been won by novice competitors, and one of them was the inaugural event in 2009, won by the host club. This year, four clubs are competing for the first time.

Karl Ziegler, who will be the skipper Noroton Yacht Club’s first participation in the regatta, was measured to live up to his expectations.

“We got there early because we are just trying to understand the boats,” he said. “We have a lot of good sailors on the boat, we just don’t have experience with this boat. We hope we can set it up and be competitive. “

Like Noroton, the Howth Yacht Club, Dublin, Ireland, and the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, on the West Coast of Canada, both benefited from an optional three-day training period prior to the start of mandatory training on Saturday. .

Howth skipper Darren Wright also relied on his compatriots from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, who have competed in every edition of the Invitational Cup.

“I spoke to [Royal Cork Yacht Club] a little guys and they gave us a few shortcuts to learn the boat, ”said Wright.

The Royal Vancouver team were able to benefit from the expertise of compatriot Terry McLaughlin, who was twice captain of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club at the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, and finished fourth in 2019.

“I know Terry very well, I’ve raced against him in match racing and he’s a fierce competitor,” said Nigel Cochrane, Royal Vancouver co-helmsman. “We will try to learn as much as possible from him. He has already made a bunch of Zoom calls for us and helps us understand the boats. I hope we can get good performances from two Canadian teams here.

“We see this as an opportunity to start something for the long haul; we don’t see this as a performance event. We envision this as a way for us to get our foot in the door and experience it and train our team so that we can continue to participate in this event in the future. “

For at least one of the more experienced teams, however, there is little ambiguity as to the ultimate goal.

“I think winning once can be attributed to a bit of luck on the same day or a bit of conservatism,” said Royal Thames Yacht Club captain William Edwards (far left), who led his team to victory in 2015. “But to do it twice is not in dispute. We have brought the British Olympic coach with us this year to stiffen him up.

When asked specifically how a coach benefits the team, Edwards replied:

“As I said to him, ‘They are amateur boaters. It’s not so much about teaching them how to sail, they’re pretty good at it, it’s keeping them off the bar. ‘ It’s like keeping cats. But now we have an expert for this, and hopefully that will make a difference. “

Photos: Stuart Streuli (2), ROLEX / Daniel Forster

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