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O'Leary and Monteiro de Barros Set A High Standard

08 is Royal Cork Yacht Club, Anthony O'Leary, in third after five races. Photo by Dan Nerney

Even as a light snow decorated daffodils breaking through the ground around New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court, the realization that the 2011 sailing season in the northern hemisphere is not far off has been confirmed.

That confirmation came by way of the announcement of two skippers who will lead their yacht club teams in the upcoming New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.

The biennial event, which puts its primary focus on Corinthian competition by virtue of allowing only non-professional sailors to compete, made its debut in 2009 to widely acclaimed success and returns to Newport this September 10-17. After a qualifying event for 24 of America’s foremost yacht clubs was run during its off-year, a firm roster of 19 participating clubs was announced and it is now expected that additional entries will bring the event close to its maximum number of 24.

While several participating yacht clubs will hold a sail-off to determine their 2011 team rosters, two clubs have set the standard by confirming their team captains. Royal Cork Yacht Club will return to the event with Anthony O’Leary who led the Irish entry to a fifth-place finish in 2009; and first-time participant Clube Naval de Cascais will have Patrick Monteiro de Barros at the helm of the Portuguese team.

O’Leary made sporting headlines in February when he was awarded the Afloat Irish Independent Sailor of the Year award in recognition of his on-the-water accomplishments during 2010, the highlight of which was his performance at the helm of his Ker 39 ANTIX in the Rolex Commodore’s Cup that allowed Ireland to take a commanding overall win. O’Leary is the head of a well-known sailing family from Cork that includes sons Peter, a 2008 Olympian in the Star class, and Nicholas, who was tactician for the 2009 Invitational Cup and is the only three consecutive times ISA All-Ireland Sailing Champion. Yet to set his crew list for the Invitational Cup, O’Leary has confirmed that he will draw from the crew that sailed together in the Rolex Commodores Cup which included Peter, as well as his youngest son Robert.

“We will continue to sail ANTIX up to mid-season in handicap fleets, as our boat is similar in characteristics to the Swan 42,” said O’Leary of his preparations for the Invitational Cup while also noting that he and his crew had not been on a Swan 42 prior to the 2009 event, or since. “Closer to September we will focus more on one-design sailing, which is really the ultimate challenge as shown in the Invitational Cup. Apart from our not finishing on the podium, there was not a single disappointing aspect of the 2009 regatta! The entire event was a great experience -- strict one-design sailing in a truly international event, superbly organized by a wonderful club.”

With a lengthy and varied sailing resume, Patrick Monteiro de Barros is a legend in sailing circles. Representing Portugal at the Olympic Games, twice in the Finn (1968, ’72) and twice in the Star (‘84 and ’88), de Barros was awarded the Medal for Fair Play by Juan Antonio Samaranch at the 1988 Olympics in Korea after he rescued a drowning woman while on the way to a team dinner. He has twice circumnavigated the globe, dipped his toe in the America’s Cup arena and was instrumental in bringing the 2007 ISAF World Sailing Championship to his homeport of Cascais, a coastal town similar in size to Newport, R.I.

To determine who will compete on the Portuguese team de Barros has established a comprehensive sailing program with some 15 days of sailing planned. In addition to chartering a 40’ yacht which has features similar to the Swan 42, de Barros has also arranged to practice on a Swan 42 in France before leaving for Newport in late August. “Our program is essentially aimed at boat handling, tactics and physical condition,” said de Barros, adding that only one of the team has previous experience on a Swan 42. “We will have a team of 15 candidates, and we rotate some sailors in different positions. Final selection will be made in late July based on performance.”

The NYYC Swan 42 – the eighth one-design class created by NYYC since 1900 – is the competitive vehicle for the NYYC Invitational Cup. The result of a 2005 design contest with a goal of creating a Corinthian class of racer/cruiser, the NYYC Swan 42, unlike previous NYYC one-design classes, was developed to be a global class with fleets run and organized outside NYYC. Known abroad as the Club Swan 42, today there are 50 of the keelboats globally with active one-design racing in the USA and Europe, as well as participation worldwide in IRC events. For the NYYC Invitational Cup presented by Rolex most competitors are sailing chartered boats, while several are bringing their own. Sails are supplied by NYYC, and rigs tuned and then locked down, making the boats as one-design as possible and putting a premium on the sailors' skills.

"From its inception, it was envisioned that the NYYC Swan 42 would be used to encourage ‘friendly competition’ between world-class yacht clubs,” said Dr. Paul Zabetakis, president of the NYYC Swan 42 Class. “In part due to the success of the first NYYC Invitational Cup, the class has indeed experienced a healthy growth beyond the enthusiastic support of NYYC members. That growth led to the ability of NYYC to host an Invitational Cup in 2009 that witnessed two yacht clubs bringing their own Swan 42s. This year about 19 yacht club teams will compete, and of those, five will be sailing their own boats. Clearly, the boat has exceeded the growth expectations and vision as outlined in 2005.”

About the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex

From September 10-17, 2011, the biennial event returns to NYYC’s Harbour Court where at least 19 yacht club teams – representing 13 nations from six different continents – will race NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay. Taking cues from the halcyon days of the America’s Cup, competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors; members of the yacht clubs they represent; and also be nationals of their country.

By country, the current roster of participating teams is: Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP); Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN); Itchenor Sailing Club and Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL); Yacht Club Capri , Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA); Japan Sailing Federation (JPN); Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Royal Cape Yacht Club (RSA); and Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.); Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md.); Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.); and New York Yacht Club (Newport, R.I.) from the USA.

For more information on the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, contact John Mendez, jmendez@nyyc.org

Rolex and Sailing Among the sports with which Rolex has partnered for many years, sailing holds a special place. The association dates back to the late 1950s, and the close ties that bind the company to the world of yachting grow stronger every year. Rolex's approach to sport is to link with disciplines and events in alignment with its philosophies and ideals that exemplify its values. In the sport of yachting, the primary associations are with the Maxi Yacht class of yachts, significant offshore races, select championships and classic yacht regattas that unite historic and beautiful vessels. Off the water, Rolex participates in the development of the sport through its support of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the world governing body, and the annual ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, which recognize male and female sailors who have distinguished themselves over the course of a year. Rolex has also cultivated close relationships with the sport's best-known yacht clubs, those that organize landmark events and hold traditions that Rolex respects and appreciates. As part of its Testimonee programme Rolex counts among its ranks a number of exemplary sailors: those who practice the sport in a spirit and manner universally admired. Through this interaction with yachting, Rolex has become more than a mere sponsor of the sport. It is a true partner.

www.rolex.com

About Sperry Top-Sider Since 1935, Sperry Top-Sider has been the leading brand of footwear for those with a Passion for the Sea. From its introduction of the world’s first siped rubber outsole for non-marking traction, to advanced technical fabrication to combat the elements, Sperry Top-Sider remains the vanguard of high-performance amphibious footwear. Available through independent, marine, outdoor and department stores, Sperry Top-Sider is the official footwear of the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regattas, the US Sailing Team Alpha Graphics, the US Sailing Association, the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the Salt Water Sportsman Seminar Series and the National Safe Boating Council. In early 2010, the brand launched seven Sperry Top-Sider retail stores in the U.S. -- retail formats dedicated to the Passion for the Sea lifestyle.

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About Nautor’s Swan A leader in the luxury sailing yacht market, Nautor’s Swan is globally recognized as the producers of exquisitely crafted yachts, capable of offering the perfect balance of style, performance and comfort, ideal for both high-performance racing and relaxed, luxurious cruising. The company was founded in 1966 by Pekka Koskenkyla in Pietarsaari, Finland. The hundreds of years of Finnish boat building history inspired the vision of the founder to start production of high-quality and high-performing sailing yachts. Today Nautor’s Swan continues to push forward a whirlwind of innovations and changes that firmly place the Swan yachts at the forefront of the international sailing world.

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Media Contacts: Michael Levitt NYYC Communications Director levittm@nyyc.org

Barby MacGowan or Jan Harley Media Pro International for Rolex Barby.macgowan@mediapronewport.com, jan.harley@mediapronewport.com +1 401-849-0220

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