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New Formats, Championship Titles on the Line

NYYC Rolex J109 start.jpgSome new racing formats were tried Thursday at New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, and though the wind was fairly light, anything was better than yesterday, when racing on opening day of the biennial event’s Part II was cancelled due to the threat of severe thunderstorms. (Part I was comprised of sailing over the weekend of July 12-13 for 26 Classic yachts.) After an hour postponement ashore for some classes and more delays on the water for all, a northerly that had become a gentle southwesterly finally had enough power to allow one-design classes for Swan 42, J/44 and J/109 to complete three races “outside” on Rhode Island Sound while three class for IRC completed two (also on Rhode Island Sound). “Inside” in the stadium arena between Rose Island and Fort Adams, PHRF and Marstrom 32 classes completed three and five races, respectively.

J/109 class start.  Photo courtesy Rolex/Daniel Forster

“People come to Newport, Rhode Island to sail, because the sea breeze is reliable, and today it didn’t disappoint,” said Race Chairman Peter Cummiskey (Greenwich, Conn.), explaining that in the past, Race Week’s latter half has been Thursday through Sunday with an optional Wednesday Around the Island (Conanicut) Race that won’t necessarily be part of this year’s racing. “This year, we have moved the awards to Saturday for the convenience of travel and also to allow the competitors to have one last big party together at the Rolex banquet. Races sailed from Wednesday through Saturday are all included in the final results to determine winners, and we are mixing things up a bit to add variety to the traditional windward-leeward courses.”  Today that meant a spectator finish off Fort Adams in the second race for IRC classes.  “They have to sail home that way, anyway, so it makes sense!”

Stakes are high for the Swan 42s and J/109s, the two largest classes here: they are racing for their National Championship and North American Championship, respectively.

The Swan 42 fleet is 13 strong, and there are few secrets to success left in this fleet as it enters its eighth national championship. Among the teams who have come close to, but not yet won, a national title is Glenn Darden/Philip Williamson’s (Fort Worth, Texas) Hoss, which won both races today.

Earlier this summer, Swan 42 Class newcomer Charles Kenahan (Swampscott, Mass.) went “all in” and won the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex with his recently acquired Mahalo (formerly Mustang). Now his chips are again on the same table as those of Darden/Williamson and former Swan 42 national champions Phil Lotz (Arethusa), John Hele (Daring) and Ken Colburn (Apparition). Speaking of his Annual Regatta victory, he said “Wins are never easy, but after having the boat for only one year and being out of the sport for 20 (to raise triplet boys), winning the Annual Regatta was a thrill.” Kenahan explained that when his triplets went off to college, he was sitting with his wife on the beach when she told him it was time to do something for himself.  After thinking about it a few days, he told her he’d like to start yacht racing again.  “She said, ‘Go do it!,” said Kenahan, “and I looked at her and said ‘Mahalo’ (thank you  in Hawaiian)…hence the dawn of this campaign.”

After today’s two races, Kenahan claims seventh overall on the scoreboard. (Arethusa, Daring and Apparition are sitting in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.)

“The Swan 42 fleet is as competitive as ever,” said Peter Cummiskey, who is racing as Navigator onboard John Daring. “It is the most intense and enjoyable sailing that I’ve ever done.  The level of competition is very high, and the distribution of skill is very even, and that shows up in the results.”

In the 17-boat J/109 fleet, Jonathan Rechtschaffer’s (Montclair, N.J.) Emoticon won two of today’s three races, but he, too, is a relative newcomer to his class and is up against known champions, including three-time North American titlist Ted Herlihy (South Dartmouth, Mass.) aboard Gut Feeling, currently in eighth overall.

“This is our first time to race this boat at this event, and it is our second year of campaigning it,” said Rechtschaffer, explaining that a strategy for conservative starts in clear air paid off in the first two races, but getting off the line in the third race didn’t go as well, and the team turned in a sixth. “I can’t really complain about that. I can attribute the success to everyone onboard; we are really gelling as a team, doing a lot of communication.”

As for tomorrow, Rectschaffer says he has realized that there are so many boats that have the potential to do well, that he’ll focus on staying calm, cool and collective.  “We are not going to swing for fences, and we certainly are not going to want to get overly conservative, as the race courses they’ve set so far are long, and there are so many opportunities to pass other boats either upwind or downwind.”

Counting this 2014 championship, the J/109 Class will have held its North Americans at Race Week five times.

For results and photos, visit www.nyyc.org. Nightly videos produced by T2p.tv are available on the website and at http://bit.ly/1q8JEVD after each day of racing. For more information, contact NYYC Racing Director Brad Dellenbaugh at dellenbaugh@nyyc.org or (401) 845-9633. “Like” us on the NYYC Regattas Facebook Page and use official event hashtag #NYYCRaceWeek when posting on social media platforms.

Top-three Results Follow

 
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
 

HPR (HPR - 7 Boats)
1. zHPR Spookie, Carkeek 40 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , USA - 2, 1, ; 3
2. zHPR After Midnight, CTM 41 41, Paul Jeka , USA - 1, 3, ; 4
3. zHPR Near Miss, TP 52 52, Franck Noel , USA - 6, ; 6

IRC 1 (IRC - 7 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52 52, Jim Swartz , Park City, UT, USA - 1, 1, ; 2
2. SLED, TP 52 52, Takashi Okura , Alpine, NJ, USA - 2, 2, ; 4
3. Near Miss, TP 52 52, Franck Noel , Geneve, SUI - 3, 3, ; 6

IRC 2 (IRC - 9 Boats)
1. SPOOKIE, Carkeek HP 40 40.0, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA - 3, 1, ; 4
2. Cool Breeze, Mills 43 Custom 43, John Cooper , Cane Hill, MO, USA - 1, 3, ; 4
3. Otra Vez, Ker 43 Custom 43, William Coates , Houston, TX, USA - 5, 2, ; 7

IRC 3 (IRC - 11 Boats)
1. Wings, J 122 40, michael Bruno , Armonk, NY, USA - 5, 1, ; 6
2. Avalanche, Farr 395 39.5, Craig Albrecht , Sea Cliff, NY, USA - 2, 4, ; 6
3. DownTime, Summit 40 39'10, Ed Freitag / Molly Haley , Annapolis, MD, USA - 3, 3, ; 6

Marstrom 32 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Bronco, Marstrom 32 32, Michael Dominguez , Barrington, RI, USA - 2, 1, 1, 1, 3, ; 8
2. LIFTOFF, Marstrom 32 32, malcolm gefter , newport, RI, USA - 1, 3, 2, 2, 1, ; 9
3. Ultimate Pressure V, Marstrom 32 32, Peter Denton , Newport, RI, USA - 3, 2, 3, 3, 4, ; 15

PHRF & J Class (PHRF - 8 Boats)
1. Tonto, J 105 34.5, Fred Darlington , Cumberland, RI, USA - 2, 2, 3, ; 7
2. Partnership, J 111 36.5, David and Maryellen Tortorello , Bridgeport, CT, USA - 1, 1, 8, ; 10
3. Kestrel, Herreshoff Fishers Island 31 43.5, Angus Davis , Bristol, RI, USA - 5, 5, 1, ; 11

Swan 42 (One Design - 13 Boats)
1. Hoss, Swan 42 42.5, Glenn Darden/ Philip Williamson , Fort Worth, TX, USA - 1, 3, 1, ; 5
2. Cuordileone, Swan 42 42.5, Ettore Mattiello , Florence, ITA - 2, 2, 4, ; 8
3. Conpsiracy, Swan 42 42.5, Henry Woods , London, GBR - 6, 1, 5, ; 12

J 44 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Maxine, J 44 44.9, William Ketcham , Greenwich, CT, USA - 4, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Challenge IV, J 44 44.9, Jeffrey W. Willis , Huntington, NY, USA - 1, 4, 2, ; 7
3. Gold Digger, J 44 44.9, James D. Bishop , Jamestown, RI, USA - 3, 2, 3, ; 8

J 109 (One Design - 17 Boats)
1. Emoticon, J 109 35, Jonathan Rechtschaffer , Montclair, NJ, USA - 1, 1, 6, ; 8
2. Caminos, J 109 35, Donald Filippelli , Amagansett , NY, USA - 2, 8, 1, ; 11
3. Dragonfly, J 109 35, Skip Young , Guilford, CT, USA - 8, 2, 4, ; 14


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