Southern Yacht Club Soundly Wins the 2017 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup
The 5th edition of the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup was held this past week in Newport, RI. Fourteen teams representing eight countries came for this spectacular event of One Design racing in Swan 42s with equally superb on-shore social activities. This is the last year the event will be sailed in the Swan 42s so it was a celebration of the past ten years of success with the Class, whether in One Design, IRC, ORC, and/or cruising events.
From the first day of racing it became quite clear there would be two teams to watch: Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans, LA) with SOUTHERN, owned by Stephen Murray and helmed by Marcus Eagan, and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's BLAZER owned by Chris Culver and helmed by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. After three races the first day of racing Southern had a mere 5 points and Royal Sydney 7 points. The gold spinnaker was awarded to Southern and they retained it for the remainder of the regatta.
The NYYC Race Committee did a terrrific job working around almost daily postponements due to lack of wind and sometimes fog, but were able to complete three races a day for the first three days of competition, two races the fourth day, and one race the final day following the always moving Parade of Nations around Newport Harbor. The goal of 12 races was reached with two days of racing held outside and three days in the Bay.
Third and fourth positions in the regatta proved to be more difficult to predict with Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, MA) and Bill Lynn helming Ken Colburn's APPARITION making his third apparance at the IC and looking strong. But there were also other teams looking like they could make the podium with Yacht Club Argentino (ARG) and Paul Zabetakis's IMPETUOUS co-helmed by Juan Pablo Alvarez Gallesio and Martin Ramos, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's (RHK) QUINTESSENCE owned by Roger Widmann and co-helmed by Laurence Mead and Mark Thornburrow, Royal Thames Yacht's Club's (GBR) MUTINY owned by Ted Madara and Gibb Kane and helmed by John Greenland, as well as John Hele's DARING representing the New York Yacht Club. The NYYC made an amazing comeback demonstrating local sailing knowledge once the boats moved into the Bay to come from 11th place after two days of racing to 4th.
After Day 3's races it looked like the duel would be down to Southern and Royal Sydney and the battle would be for third. Final results placed Southern in 1st, Royal Sydney 2nd, Eastern 3rd, NYYC 4th, Royal Thames 5th, and Royal Hong Kong 6th. Upon accepting the 1st Place awards, Marcus Eagan (holding the Rolex Watch box) spoke that New Orleans was in recovery from the devastation of Hurriane Katrina in August 2005 and every member of his crew was responsible for re-builiding sailing in his home state of Louisiana.