Of the 19 yacht clubs, from 11 countries, that will gather September 12 to 19 at the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court for the fourth New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, only one is making its debut appearance. A third of the clubs will be competing in the premiere Corinthian big boat competition for the fourth time.
“The number of clubs asking to return is the best indication that the New York Yacht Club’s initial vision of a global yacht club championship for amateur sailors has come to fruition, in spades, with this event.” says NYYC Commodore Rives Potts. “It also means the fourth edition of the Invitational Cup will be the most competitive ever, as all but one of the teams competing have seen first-hand what it takes to succeed.”
With a second in the inaugural event in 2009 and then wins in 2011 and 2013, the team from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto, Canada, led by former America’s Cup helmsman and Olympic medalist Terry McLaughlin, has set the standard for success in this event. But the Canadian crew was pushed to the wire in 2013 by teams from Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club and England’s Royal Thames Yacht Club.
“In 2013, we almost sailed ourselves out of the regatta on the first day,” says McLaughlin (center, with RCYC team in 2013). “More and more teams are taking time to practice in the Swan 42. I have heard about some teams taking their preparation to a higher level for 2015.
“The NYYC Invitational Cup is a very unique event,” he continues. “The regatta is run extremely well both on and off the water. It gives us a great opportunity to see sailing friends from many different countries that we haven’t seen in many years and also to meet new international friends.”
One of the reasons the Invitational Cup is such an popular competition is that it is one of the truest one-design regattas for large boats. The New York Yacht Club Swan 42s used for the regatta are identical, all built by the Nautor boatyard in Finland. But the Invitational Cup goes further than a traditional one-design event. The sails and running rigging are provided, ensuring no team has an equipment edge. Additionally the boats are identically equipped and the rigging tension is standardized throughout the fleet.
As a result, the racing is extremely close; it’s not unusual to see the entire fleet round the first mark tip to tail. Mistakes, especially during the start, on the first leg or while rounding a mark, can be extremely costly. And few teams are ever truly out of a race.
As tense as the competition can be on the water, ashore it’s a celebration of a shared passion for yachting. The New York Yacht Club, along with presenting sponsor Rolex and other regatta partners, aims to provide the sailors and their friends and family, with a unique, first-class social experience. Each day after racing, competitors gather on the lawn of Harbour Court to renew old acquaintances, make new ones and relive the day’s action.
The regatta also prides itself on its comprehensive media plan. In 2015, this will include daily videos, live regatta coverage and an active social media presence. “We’re always pleasantly surprised at the number of people from each participating club that follow this event in real time, no matter what hour it is at home,” says event chairperson Patti Young. “This year we plan to give them—and any sailing fan interested in top amateur competition—even more reason to tune in.”
Competing Teams, 2015 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex: Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.), Itchenor Sailing Club (GBR), Japan Sailing Federation, Middle Harbour Yacht Club* (AUS), New York Yacht Club, Newport Harbor (Calif.) Yacht Club, Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP), The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL), Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (CHN), The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS), Royal Southern Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR), Seattle Yacht Club, Yacht Club Argentino (ARG), Yacht Club Capri (ITA) and Yacht Club Italiano (ITA).
*First-time Invitational Cup Competitor
– NYYC Media