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Practice Makes Perfect

LONG ECHO, Itchenor Sailing Club (UK), Barry Sampson (helm), Roger Yeoman (tactician). Photo by Kurt Arrigo

Newport, R.I., USA (September 12, 2011) – The organizers of the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex have worked diligently to create a path to success for the 22 yacht club teams who will go head to head on Swan 42s over the next five days.

The competitors, all amateur sailors, not only have participated in two days of practice racing but also attended a performance symposium, local knowledge seminar and a meeting with the Umpires to prepare them for the racing which begins in earnest tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13, with 11 scheduled races that will wrap up on Saturday, September 17.

With the majority of the competitors having little or no direct experience in Swan 42s, it would seem logical to look at teams that competed in the 2009 inaugural running of the event as potential front-runners: New York Yacht Club (USA), Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN), the Japan Sailing Federation (JPN), Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN), and Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL), who, in order, finished top-five, as well as Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER), Royal Ocean Racing Club (GBR), Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG), Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP), Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (GER), and Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR). But that might be a bad bet.

“There are some very, very good sailors here, and it would not surprise me one bit if the trophy leaves these shores at the conclusion of racing,” said Regatta Chairman John Mendez, explaining that the yacht club teams have taken the challenge seriously and prepared accordingly. To facilitiate practice and teamwork, most arranged to charter boats similar to the Swan 42 in the months prior to their arrival in Newport.

Among some of the high-profile Corinthian sailors competing are Olympians such as those aboard Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) from Hamburg, Germany. At the helm of NRV will be Johannes Polgar who raced in the Tornado class at the 2008 Olympic Games. His crew from Beijing, Florian Spalteholz, is tactician for the Invitational Cup, while Gunnar Struckmann, who sailed the Tornado for Germany in the 2004 Games, will work mast or pit. At the helm of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s team will be one of Asia’s top offshore racers, Patrick Pender, and one of it’s top match race champions, Tiger Mok, will be tactician.

Along with bragging rights for the next two years (the bi-ennial Invitational Cup will next be held in 2013), the winning team will take home the stunning new trophy that was recently unveiled. Former NYYC Commodore Robert James commissioned the trophy three and a half years ago from artist Norman McMillan (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), requesting the sculptor take the concept of a tetrahedron-styled trophy and see what he could create.

“It’s been a very interesting journey,” said McMillan of the creation of the trophy which represents wind and water and captures the excitement of a moment in time. The blue water was cast first, and then the tetrahedron; the single stainless steel sailboat loosely represents the Swan 42. “What we’re trying to do is combine an aesthetic with some color and some lighting to depart from a traditional trophy,” he explained.

As the trophy will go to the Invitational Cup winner’s home club for display until it is returned for presentation two years hence, McMillen is also creating a second trophy which will reside at NYYC. In a similar style, the second trophy will be emblematic of a fleet race and will depict three vessels: two approaching the mark and one having rounded the mark.

The warning signal for the first race each day is scheduled for 1100, with competitors heading to the race course at approximately 0930 each morning. The winner of the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will be confirmed at the conclusion of racing on Saturday, September 17.

About The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex

NYYC’s Harbour Court will host 22 yacht clubs – representing 16 nations from six different continents – with racing on NYYC Swan 42s on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay from September 10-17, 2011. The roster of participating teams is: Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, Md., USA); ); Clube Naval de Cascais (POR); Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS); Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass., USA); Itchenor Sailing Club (West Sussex, England); Japan Sailing Federation (JPN); Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif., USA); Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (GER); Nyländska Jaktklubben (Helsinki, Finland); Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP); Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (BER); Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN); Royal Cape Yacht Club (RSA); Royal Cork Yacht Club (Cork, IRL); Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG); Royal Norwegian Yacht Club (NOR); Royal Ocean Racing Club (GBR); Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR); Yacht Club Argentino (ARG); Yacht Club Capri (ITA); Yacht Club Punta Ala (ITA), and host New York Yacht Club (Newport, R.I., USA).

In addition to Rolex, which for 2011 and 2013 is the presenting sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan have also returned, and are joined by Atlantis WeatherGear, as sponsors to enhance the experience of competitors as well as those who will be following the races.