The Swan 42 U.S Nationals was held July 12-15 at the New York Yacht Club, Newport, RI. Ten entries were on hand to compete that included teams from Sweden and two from the UK. For some it was training with the team they will be competing with at the NYYC Rolex Invitational Cup in September. For others it was the last qualifier to be the one entry for the NYYC slot at the Invitational Cup in September, and for others a chance to compete in the premiere event of the sailing season in One Design – the Swan 42 U.S. Nationals.
Paul Zabetakis was hoping to win his first U.S. Nationals title and also the NYYC entry to the Invitational Cup for the second time. However, with a family illness he handed the helm over to his Alternate Helmsman, Bob Slattery (MN). With Slattery at the helm and over three days of racing, the IMPETUOUS team rallied to the occasion to put the very best effort forward for Zabetakis and they stunned the competition with four bullets and a low score of 13 points after three days of racing. On what was to be the final day of racing Zabetakis was on the water, but with a seemingly endless postponement due to lack of wind, racing was called off.
When asked how it felt to win his first U.S. Nationals title, Zabetakis responded, ”I have an awesome crew.” He added, “The team worked very hard last year and we filled in with some great new members: Chafee Emory, and Michelle Miltenberger, who I have known since she was a 1-year old.” “Eric Zeller, Seth Cooley and Casey Brown are new to the team this year and they all worked together at the Leukemia Cup, the NYYC Annual Regatta, and Block Island Race Week, earlier events this season. “ Zabetakis credits, “Finding the right personalities that enjoy being together both on and off the water is key and they just get better and better.” He concluded, “John Mollinari did an awesome job as tactician and my team did a great job at every mark with perfect roundings.”
The Royal Thames Club’s (GBR) entry, MUTINY, helmed by John Greenland would take the bullet in Race 2 and would finish on the podium in 2nd Place and also won the Corinthian Trophy for the highest scoring Swan 42 with a 100% amateur crew. Southern Yacht Club’s SOUTHERN (LA) claimed the bullet in Race 7 - the last race of Nationals and finished 3rd with Marcus Eagan at the helm. Bill Lynn of the Eastern Yacht Club (MA) won Race 5 and finished 4th.
With Zabetakis not able to helm and having an Alternate Helmsman he added a Group 3, John Mollicone, to his crew for a couple of days and eliminated IMPETUOUS from the Invitational Cup selection. The decision was then down to two teams: Chris Culver’s BLAZER and John Hele’s DARING. This was a close contest, but with no racing on the final day the results from Day 3 stood and DARING won the spot.
Quantum Sail Design Group sponsored a dock party for all competitors at Newport Shipyard after racing on Day 1 and the Swan 42 Class dinner was held at the NYYC Here John Hele was presented with the 2016 East Coast Championship award as well as the Asprey Trophy for winning the Around-the-Island Race at this year’s NYYC Annual Regatta.