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Royal Canadian Yacht Club Takes Lead After Three Races On Day One

sept13_icupNewport, R.I., USA (September 13, 2011) – Three races and three race winners within a very tight 22-boat fleet were the hallmarks of the first day of racing at the 2011 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. Racing was in upper Narragansett Bay, north of Newport’s Pell Bridge.

The competitors got down to business in roughly 10 knots of southwesterly breeze, which built through the afternoon to a south-soutwesterly in the upper teens.

The close and intense action provided plenty of work for the 10 umpires, who were on the water in teams of two, and the delivery of instant justice meant that the yacht club teams knew pretty much where they stood at the end of racing without having to wait for protests to be decided.

In a strong start to the series, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) team has taken the overall lead on finishes of 2-1-4 to demonstrate that, having placed second in the inaugural event in 2009, they are back and playing to win. Eight of the 10 crew sailing for RCYC competed in 2009, including helm Terry McLaughlin, a silver medallist in the 1984 Olympic Games and skipper of Canada I in the 1983 America’s Cup Trials.

“We had a good day,” said McLaughlin. “We had no major errors. The first two starts were quite good. The third was not good, but we eventually got out to the right and got a nice shift and rounded the first mark first, but then had some issues.”  Explaining that, in race three, they ended up downwind in the middle, in a safe, conservative spot where they were being gained on and passed by other teams, the RCYC team was glad to salvage a fourth. With the series having no drop races, their strategy will continue on the conservative side although McLaughlin acknowledged a few times when they could have pushed in at the weather mark. “We had three counters today. We kept our nose clean generally, and with the rules and the umpiring and the borrowed boats, I think we’ll probably continue to do that.”

RCYC will fly the Rolex gold spinnaker, indicating their position as overall standings leader, when racing resumes tomorrow, Wednesday, September 14. They hold the lead position with seven points, followed by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club who had finishes of 3-8-2, for 13 points, and defending champion New York Yacht Club who had finishes of 5-2-8 for 15 points. The Japan Sailing Federation won the opening race of the series and followed with 7-9 for 17 points for fourth place overall and Eastern Yacht Club rounds out the top-five, tied on 17 points, after finishes of 6-5-6.

The final race of the day was won by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia after placing 8-11, to stand seventh overall with 20 points.

“Compared to what we knew about the area we were maybe put off a little bit by where the first course was,” said Evan Walker, tactician for Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) when asked if there had been any surprises on the first day of racing. Explaining that the course had been placed further west than they were expecting, the fact that they were over early in the first race actually worked in the CYCA team’s favor. “If we had done what our strategy was and gone left we would have been 15th at the first mark. After returning [to restart], we got a big right-hander and rounded fifth.”  They would eventually finish the first race in eighth.

And while the CYCA team won race three, Walker said they didn’t get a good start and tacked out as soon as they could. “We had a look up the course and because the tide was going out thought we’d put our bets on the right-hand side at the top. So we went across everyone’s stern on port and went to the right where we got a big shift and rounded in third or fourth. Just that right shift got us into the race again. We didn’t really make one big move, we just chipped away at it. We positioned well on the first run, rounded the first bottom gate in second or third and played that next bit well and rounded in first. If we can keep the boat in clear air, we’re fast enough to be top-10.”

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.

Armchair sailors, whether on the other side of Newport harbor or the other side of the globe, can follow the racing via the event website – . The site includes information on the 22 competing yacht club teams, crew lists, photos and news. Follow along on Twitter, or “Like” the event on Facebook. Once racing begins, live race tracking via Kattack, blog posts and daily video will also become available on the event website.

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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.

Media Contacts:

Jan Harley Media Pro International +1 401-849-0220

Michael Levitt, NYYC Communications Director