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Home Team Erases Six Years of Frustration With Win in 2017 Grandmasters Team Race

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NEWPORT, R.I. — In the six previous editions of the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race, the home team has finished second five times and third once. That track record of consistent success would be something to crow about were it not for the fact that Noroton Yacht Club, from Darien, Conn., won the event each time.

The New York Yacht Club team, which included current Commodore Phil Lotz, was able to flip the script this year, excelling in the round robin portion of the regatta before knocking off Noroton in the semifinals and then winning the championship on a tie break when the breeze evaporated with New York Yacht Club and Newport Harbor tied on one win apiece. The 2017 New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race was held at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., and sponsored by Porsche and AIG.

"We’ve always been the bridesmaid," said New York Yacht Club Team Captain Ted Moore (above at right). "Year one, two, three, four and five. Last year we wound up third because a fishing boat sailed through the fleet [in the semifinals]. It felt good to beat [Noroton] finally. They’re an excellent team. We worked hard to practice and try to be equally as good as them.

"We put together the best team we’ve ever had. Every boat had really good sailors and chemistry. I think Noroton lost a couple of their people from years past, so that was probably an advantage for us."

DSC 0030Noroton has one of the most active adult team racing programs in the country and practices regularly throughout the summer. As a result, the team is usually firing on all cylinders from the first start. This year, the Connecticut crew lost two of its first three matches, opening the door for other teams. New York and Newport Harbor took full advantage, each winning 12 of 14 races in the round robin portion to tie for the overall lead going into the knockout round. By virtue of the fine print in the tie-break policy—the two teams split their head-to-head matches—New York Yacht Club earned the top seed. Normally that's not a significant advantage. But when the event doesn't play out to the end, the round robin results come back into play.

"Newport Harbor had a team as good as ours," said Moore. "We were tied at the end of the first day, tied at the end of the second day, tied at the end of the third day. It doesn’t get any better than that. We were the two best teams this year. They were amazingly good."

But in the race to become just the second team to win the Grandmasters Team Race, the California-based team fell just a hair short. And in winning the NYYC Grandmasters trophy, the home team also clinched the inaugural Peter Wilson Trophy, which is given to the best performing club at a quartet of masters-level team races.

"[Former NYYC Commodore] Jory Hinman and I came up with a season championship, for the Grandmasters team that does the best throughout the whole year," said Moore. "Between Noroton, Newport Harbor and New York, whichever team won this regatta would win the season title. We got this really nice trophy and we named it after Peter Wilson, who won the Grandmasters the first five years for Noroton. Now he’s the best judge."

The 2017 NYYC Grandmasters Team Race, sponsored by AIG and Porsche, is a one of the most competitive team race regattas for sailors of a certain level of experience. Each crew must be at least 50 years of age and skippers at least 60.

The winning New York Yacht Club team was (left to right, in top photo): Tom O'Brien, Danielle Tripp, Sam Altreuter, Commodore Phil Lotz, Martha Altreuter, Bill Tripp, Dan Hadley, Wendy Lotz, Peter Benedetto, Jory Hinman and Team Captain Ted Moore. Missing: Amy Drinker and Zach Leonard)

New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta
New York Yacht Club, Newport, R.I.
August 25 to 27

Gold Knock-Out Round
Finals: New York YC d. Newport Harbor YC, 1-1*
Petit-Finals: Noroton YC d. Southern YC, 2-0
Semifinals: New York YC d. Noroton YC 2-0, Newport Harbor YC d. Southern YC 2-1
* With round incomplete, the results from the round robin portion were used to break the tie.

Final Results (with Round Robin Win Totals)
1. New York Yacht Club (12), 2. Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Newport Beach, Calif. (12) 3. Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, Conn. (9), 4. Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans (9), 5. Annapolis (Md.) Yacht Club (5), 6. Storm Trysail Club, Larchmont, N.Y. (4), 7. St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco (4), 8. Gamla Stans SC (1), Stockholm, Sweden.

Full Results and Regatta Rosters

Photos: Katie Malafronte/NYYC

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