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The Inside Track: Canada Makes a Charge

Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster

It was a long hard day on the water for the 20 Yacht Clubs competing for the NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. The start was delayed by several hours waiting for the breeze to fill but when it came, three spectacular races were completed with some of the best racing imaginable. The 200 competing didn't reach the dock until after 5 p.m. and the NYYC apres sailing hospitality was very much appreciated.

During the day, the wind speed ranged from just 5 knots to a feisty 18 knots and with bright sunshine bathing the racing area, between Gould Island and Prudence Island, the second day of racing at the NYYC Invitational Cup was a joy to behold. Mark roundings were not for the faint hearted, as a multitude of boats came barrelling in, often overlapped at virtually every corner.

Race 3 of the series belonged to the Australian team from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, consolidating their 1-5 scoreline on the first day and putting pressure on the overnight leader, Larchmont (N.Y.) YC. However, RPAYC scorecard faltered in the last two races of the day, as costly errors pushed the team down to sixth overall.

Meanwhile Larchmont YC continued the charge taking another second place to consolidate their position at the top of the leader board. However in Race 4, Larchmont YC was shut out at a top mark in a ball of traffic and didn't recover, scoring 16th for the race. The Royal Yacht Squadron started the day strongly, taking third in Race 3 but fell away in the following two races. wrapping their spinnaker around their bow on the last bottom mark.

After five races, Larchmont YC still lead the regatta, but two teams are just a few points behind. The Royal Cork Yacht Club, skippered by Anthony O'Leary have yet to score a better result than fifth but their consistency has propelled the Irish team into second place. Anthony is sailing with two of his sons, Nicholas and Robert.

“We just concentrate on getting away clean from the line.” said Nicholas O'Leary, the team’s tactician. “We don't sail a Swan 42 at home, but the whole team races in one-design 1720s in Cork and that has been a real bonus, especially downwind, as we have a lot of experience with asymmetric kites. I have to say that we had a real battle on today. Fighting with the other boats in the pack behind the race leaders, is hard work, you have to scrap for every place.”

The reigning NYYC Invitational Cup winners, Royal Canadian Yacht Club have moved up to third place having won two of today's races. “ The day didn't start so well, we actually had a good start in Race 3 and then we tried to tack inside the New York Yacht Club and we didn't make it.” said RCYC skipper, Terry McLaughlin. “I should have called to duck them and that was a mistake and we did our turns. However we got our act together in the last two races, as we know we can. We got the shift right in Race 4 and we won the favoured side in the last race, so the last race turned into an easy win, we had a big long debrief after today, as we like to sort out our problems. After the way we sailed yesterday, we feel very fortunate to be in third place. We will see how we go tomorrow, but this is a long series.”

Spare a thought for the kind generosity of the Swan 42 owners who have kindly chartered their yachts for this regatta. Chuck Kenehan is the owner of Mahalo, which has been chartered to the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. “I was itching to get out there and race today.” admitted Kenehan, whilst watching from a spectator boat. “That was just fantastic racing and I am so glad to see so many yacht clubs from overseas enjoying the wonderful sailing grounds that Newport has to offer.”

-- Louay Habib

Racing is scheduled to continue at 1100 local time tomorrow. Full detailed results.

Standings after 5 races:

1. Larchmont YC, USA, 25 points
2. Royal Cork YC, IRL, 31.3
3. Royal Canadian YC, CAN, 32
4. Japan Sailing Federation, JPN, 35
5. New York Yacht Club, USA, 36
6. Royal Prince Alfred YC, AUS, 36
7. Royal Thames YC, GBR, 40
8. The San Francisco YC, USA, 45
9. Royal Southern YC, GBR, 47
10. Royal Freshwater YC, AUS, 50
11. Royal Yacht Squadron, GBR, 51
12. Seattle Yacht Club, USA, 54
13. Royal Belgian Sailing Club, BEL, 56
14. Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, AUS, 59
15. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, HKG, 61
16. Yacht Club Italiano, ITA, 62
17. YC Argentino, ARG, 70
18. Real Club Nautico de Barcelona, ESP, 79
19. Royal Swedish YC, SWE, 88
20. Nylandska Jaktklubben, FIN, 88.8