San Diego Yacht Club Assumes the Lead on Day 3 of Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup

NEWPORT, R.I. — On a taxing day where the wind shifts were as much as 40 degrees with lanes of pressure next to little-to-no wind, the San Diego Yacht Club, led by helmsman Tyler Sinks, moved into the overall lead on the penultimate day of the eighth Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, with the low score of 42 points.

This is the third appearance for the San Diego Yacht Club at the Invitational Cup, previously placing third (2021) and second (2019) at the past two editions. With two races expected tomorrow, the West Coast team stands on the precipice of winning the premiere international regatta for Corinthian sailors.

“I haven’t thought about tomorrow yet,” said tactician Adam Roberts. “I think we’re looking at breezy conditions, and we’re excited to go fast. When it comes down to it, when we’re having fun, we’re sailing well, and that’s probably going to be our main goal.”

While San Diego took the overall lead, it was first-time participant Corinthian Yacht Club from Marblehead, Mass., that won the day. Led by helmsman Wade Waddell, the crew placed 1-8-3 and moved into second overall, with 51 points.

“When we started this campaign a year ago, we just wanted to be in it, we just wanted to have a shot. Now, we have that shot,” said Waddell. “The forecast (for tomorrow) looks a little breezy, a northeasterly breeze. It should be puffy and shifty, but we’re comfortable with those conditions—chutes and ladders. We’ll be looking to close out the regatta as strong as we can.”

Corinthian Yacht Club, however, will need to keep its collective head on a swivel. The club from Marblehead may currently be second, but seventh is only 8 points back. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, with 23-year-old Jordan Stevenson helming, is just 2 points behind in third place. Yacht Club Argentino and Royal Swedish Yacht Club are tied on points for fourth with 57 points. New York Yacht Club, 58 points, and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, 59 points, round out the knot of teams with legitimate designs on a podium finish.

Nineteen teams from 14 countries are on hand to race the eighth Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, a biennial regatta hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I. Since the event was first run in 2009, it has attracted top amateur sailors from 51 of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs from 22 countries.

After five editions in the Swan 42 class, the 2023 event will be the third sailed in the IC37, designed by Mark Mills. The strict one-design nature of this purpose-built class, combined with the fact that each boat is owned and maintained by the New York Yacht Club, ensures a level playing field not seen in any other amateur big-boat sailing competition. The regatta will run through Saturday, September 16. Racing started on Tuesday, September 12. A live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, starting on Wednesday, September 13, will allow fellow club members, friends, family and sailing fans from around the world to follow the action as it happens. Nineteen teams from 14 countries will compete in the 2023 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, which is brought to you by title sponsor Rolex and regatta sponsors Helly Hansen, Safe Harbor Marinas, Peters & May and Hammetts Hotel.

Overall results can be found here.

After the passage of a cold front last night, Principal Race Officer Lynn Lynch took the fleet up Narragansett Bay for a racecourse between the top of Conanicut Island and southern Prudence Island. But the northerly lacked punch, and two races were sailed in challenging conditions with a strong ebb tide, before a two-hour postponement.

The San Diego Yacht Club hasn’t been the most spectacular crew on the water, but they’ve been the most consistent by a wide margin, and that is spectacular in itself. The crew posted a 5-5-6 today, despite not always knowing where they wanted to go, and have averaged a sixth in the seven races sailed.

“It seems like we were well positioned off the start line and had the flexibility to sail the direction we wanted to,” said Roberts. “Admittedly, we weren’t sure which direction we wanted to go. So, we stayed patient and waited for our opportunities.”

When asked whether they were looking for more pressure or an advantageous shift, he laughed and said, “Yes. We looked at it as bringing it back to the basics and getting back to the dark water. The current impacted the starts and laylines, but we have a great skipper (Tyler Sinks) that can account for that and make my life easier.”

According to Corinthian Yacht Club, the first two races were about finding pressure over the shifts.

“We’re comfortable in the shifty conditions,” said Waddell. “We’re a bunch of college sailors and coaches, and we stuck to our strengths, sailing to the immediate pressure. The IC37s are so high aspect that with 2 knots more pressure you can be going more than 1 knot faster. So, we focused on the pressure and didn’t care as much about the angle.”

The winner of the day’s second race was another first-time Invitational Cup competitor, the Yacht Club Punta Del Este from Uruguay. Tactician Aldo Centenaro, who put the crew together, said that the win was one of his proudest moments.

“Winning that race is like a dream for us, it’s really nice,” said Centenaro. “This regatta is very important for our club. It is the year before our 100-year anniversary, and to be invited by the New York Yacht Club, one of the best, if not the best, sailing clubs in the world, is like a dream. To be here is perfect.”

The day’s third race was a moment for the two Irish crews to shine. The race was won by Royal Cork Yacht Club, led by skipper Anthony O’Leary, who has sailed every Invitational Cup. Second was Dublin’s Howth Yacht Club, led by skipper David Maguire.

Maguire has ties to Newport and the New York Yacht Club that go back some 30 years.

“I raced boats here for a number of summers in the early 1990s: Tripp 40s, Mumm 36s,” said Maguire. “I did a stint in my last summer, in 1994, running the launch for New York Yacht Club. It was Navette 1, all shiny and brand new. I would race boats during the day and run the launch in the evening. It was great fun, and it’s absolutely brilliant coming back.”

To wrap up the regatta that is being shortened by the passage of Hurricane Lee tomorrow night and Saturday, two races are planned for tomorrow morning, with an early start of 0900 for the first gun

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