NEWPORT, R.I. – A year ago, the host New York Yacht Club won the Grandmasters Team Race for the first time by the thinnest of margins. This year, the home team emphatically defended the title, compiling the most points in the round robins and then losing just one of six races in the knock-out portion of the event.
"We had the same team as last year," says Ted Moore, skipper and team captain for the New York Yacht Club squad. "We've all done this a whole bunch of times so we didn't have to talk to each other. Everybody knew what the other person was supposed to do, and they just did it. Last year we were lucky to win because we were tied with Newport Harbor, which could've gone either way. It was not overwhelming or dominant. This year felt different because we were ahead most of the time and most of the time were winning [individual races] comfortably."
The New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race was first run in 2010. Skippers must be at least 60 years of age while crew must be 50. The Grandmasters Team Race is sponsored by AIG Private Client Group.
Originally the Grandmasters regatta was sailed three-on-three in Sonars with just the jib and main. This year, in a nod to the increasing competitiveness of the event and skill of the sailors, spinnakers were used in light and moderate winds.
"I think it just made it a better regatta for everybody," says Moore (top photo, at left in red bib) "When the wind was light, everybody got to use the spinnakers and when the wind came up we all put them away. We would've been used to [sailing them in heavier winds], but most people would not have been. It would've added an advantage for people who have used spinnakers a lot before, so it's a good thing we didn't [use them in heavier air]."
With eight teams competing, including squads representing clubs from Louisiana, California and Sweden, there was little down time. En route to its win, the New York Yacht Club team sailed 31 won races, winning 25.
After three full round robins and then a mini round robin with the top five teams, New York Yacht Club was two points ahead of Newport Harbor, with Southern Yacht Club in third and St. Francis Yacht Club in fourth.
While New York dispatched St. Francis in two races in the semifinals, Southern came back from a loss in the first race to beat Newport Harbor 2-1 to advance to the finals. There New York proved too strong, however, taking the championship by a 3-1 score.
Noroton Yacht Club won the Grandmasters Regatta the first six times it was sailed. New York finally broke that streak a year ago. This year, in addition to the convincing win in the Grandmasters Team Race, the New York Yacht Club also won the Peter Wilson Trophy, which is awarded to the club that performs the best in all the grandmasters team races around the country. Is a new dynasty on the rise? Moore wouldn't quite go that far.
"We have a deal at the New York Yacht Club that if we win a team race, we bring the same team back next year," says Moore. "So we'll be back with the same team in 2019. We'll see how we do."
Winning team from New York Yacht Club: Commodore Phil Lotz (skipper), Zach Leonard, Wendy Lotz, Peter Benedetto, Bill Trip (skipper), Chip Whipple, Danielle Tripp, John Hele, Ted Moore (captain, skipper) Sal Altreuter, George Hinman, Amy Drinker.
2018 New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta Gold Knock-Out Round Results
August 24 to 26, 2018
New York Yacht Club Harbour Court
Click here for full results
Finals: New York (N.Y.) Yacht Club d. Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans), 3-1
Petit-Finals: St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco, Calif.) d. Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.), 2-1
Semifinals: New York YC d. St. Francis YC, 2-0; Southern YC d. Newport Harbor YC, 2-1 Round Robin Results
1. New York Yacht Club, 20-5; 2. Newport Harbor Yacht Club, 18-7; 3. Southern Yacht Club, 17-8; 4. St. Francis Yacht Club, 15-10; 5. Noroton Yacht Club (Darien, Conn.), 13-12; 6. Annapolis (Md.) Yacht Club, 6-18; 7. Gamla Stans Yacht Sällskap (Stockholm, Sweden). 4-20; 8. Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.), 4-20. Photo credits: Stuart Streuli/New York Yacht Club