By John Storck III
The third running of the Seawanhaka Invitational for the Cruise Cup was held on October 29 & 30, 2022. The fleet racing regatta hosts yacht clubs and sailing associations from throughout the region surrounding Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, NY. Each team is required to have at least one sailor of each gender. Races are targeted at 30 minutes, and teams rotate through the provided Sonars throughout the event.
The collegiate-style racing has been a hit with the wide range of generations that have competed in these early editions. A competitive fleet, in evenly matched boats, on a short track often leads to exciting and crowded mark roundings. The regatta also has no drop races, which emphasizes consistency and the ability to fight for every point.
Saturday brought a comfortable, albeit shifty breeze. The Race Committee, led by Park Benjamin, worked hard to maximize the day. That approach would prove important as Sunday brought glassy conditions and no further racing.
Stu Saffer of American Yacht Club is the only person to have skippered in all three editions of the Cruise Cup. That experience showed this year, as Stu and his team of Gunnar Wey, Megan Ploch, and Sean Walsh emerged victorious after the seven-race series. Aside from one race, the American YC team found remarkable consistency at the front of the pack. Staffer remarked that his team’s main goal going into the event was to “have fun and try to win a race or two.” He added that “starts are really hard at this event, and clear air is a real priority.” Perhaps one of American YC’s most important aspects of their weekend was, as Staffer says, “minimizing the big numbers.”
Newcomers Sayville Yacht Club, helmed by Dan Cameron, sailed an impressive series, finishing in second place. “We gained boats downhill on every leg we sailed,” said Cameron. “We didn’t have many top-5 first mark roundings but were always in contact with the fleet. Our success downwind on the second leg allowed us to get to the favored side and then we would pick up boats again downhill.”
The Dartmouth Corinthian Yacht Club, with Sam Williams on the helm, rounded out the podium. This group of former college teammates sailed well enough to secure the group’s second consecutive podium finish at the Cruise Cup.
Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club is delighted with the early success of this regatta, and envisions many years of combining competitiveness and friendly spirit. The fourth running of the Cruise Cup is currently slated for September 23 & 24, 2023. If you and your sailing club have interest in participating, look for more information at Seawanhaka.org in the upcoming weeks. ■
A multi-class champion and coach, John Storck III is the creator and Chair of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club Invitational for the Cruise Cup. He lives in Northport, NY.