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Meet the Teams, NYYC Invitational Cup

Bruno Troublé of the Yacht Club de France. Michael Levitt photo.

New York, N.Y., USA (August 12, 2009) – In a year that marks its 165th anniversary, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) is organizing the Invitational Cup, a highly anticipated fleet racing regatta to take place in Newport, R.I. from September 15-19, 2009. “This event is, in fact, the world championship for the main yacht clubs of the world,” said Bruno Troublé, who will skipper the Yacht Club de France’s entry. “Most people do not realize how close the racing will be. Many of the teams will be very strong; although it is too early to say which team will win.“ Troublé’s team will face tough competition from many of the teams including Germany’s Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, winner and defender of the America’s Cup, with whom he collaborated on the 1999-2000 and 2003 Louis Vuitton Cups, the Challenger Series he so famously orchestrated for almost 30 years.

Achim Griese, aft, seen here in a Dragon in the Rolex Baltic Week in 2005,will skipper the entry from the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein. Rolex/Daniel Forster.

Norddeutscher Regatta Verein Norddeutscher

Regatta Verein (N RV) skipper Achim Griese is no stranger to success around the buoys. And he certainly has no trouble sailing well when the buoys are in the United States. In 1983 he won three races and finished second overall at the Star World Championship in Marina del Rey. In 1984, he won the silver medal in the class at the Los Angeles Olympics. Of late, Griese has been an active participant in the X-35 class, finishing eighth in the class’s 2009 world championship earlier this summer. Griese’s son Max Griese will be a member of his crew. Also onboard the boat will be Gunter Persiehl, the Admiral (past commodore and highest-ranking board member) of the NRV. Persiehl is a top-notch judge who has worked two America’s Cup regattas and the 1996 Olympics. Other crewmembers include Dr. Wolfgang Kaefer, Dr. Albert Diesch, Niels Henschtel, Jan Welken, Maximilian Ziegelmayer, Malte Paesler, and Klaas Hoepcke.

With more than 2,000 members, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein is Germany’s largest sailing club. It was founded in 1868 and has been dedicated to yacht racing and to sailing ever since. The club’s home waters are the Outer Alster, a small lake—just 1.5 miles long by half a mile wide—created by damming the river of the same name. The club also has a youth clubhouse on the Elbe River and a facility on the Baltic Sea, in Gramkow, Germany. With involvement in such events as Kiel Week, Travemunde Week, Rolex Baltic Week, the transatlantic HSH Nordbank blue race and transatlantic DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge – the latter two the NYYC started for the NRV – the yacht club helps set the standards on the international sailing scene.

Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron team may be new to the NYYC Swan 42, but these sailors certainly aren’t new to each other. The majority of the team has sailed together as part of the “Melville Family,” a group of Kiwi racers bound less by blood than by a shared love of competitive racing. John Melville is the family’s patriarch and skipper. In 2003, New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup team members Jayson Herbert, Andrew Wills, and Jack Melville (John’s son) helped Melville win the Farr 1020 New Zealand National Championship sailing Max Headroom. For his 2008 BMW Sailing Cup campaign, Melville enlisted his son, Jack, and fellow NYYC Invitational Cup team members Alastair Gair, Michael Naulls, and Jonathan Rankine. The Bobby’s Girl crew won the New Zealand stage and advanced to the finals in Dubai, where they finished third.

The 2008 China Cup, hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, brought the Melville Family together again. John Melville’s crew aboard the Beneteau First 40.7 Yachtfinders Global included son, Jack, at the mast position, Wills calling tactics, Rankineand Herbert as trimmers, and Matt Kelway (who will also join the Invitational team) on the bow. When they’re not racing as part of the Melville Family, the individual members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron team still manage to find their way to the podium.Gair is one of New Zealand’s top small-boat racers.

He won the 1998 Laser Radial Youth Worlds, the 2002 OK Dinghy New Zealand National Championships, and the 2006 Etchells New Zealand Nationals, and finished second at both the 2002 OK Dinghy World Championship and the 2006 Etchells Worlds. Wills won the 2007 Etchells World Championship crewing for Jud Smith and is the 2008 Young 88 New Zealand national champion; Rankine is currently ranked 183rd on the Open ISAF World Match Race Rankings; Kelway won the 2007 Asian Match Racing Championship.One of the team's two female members, Danielle Bowater, is an accomplished dinghy sailor. Crewing for Susannah Pyatt, Bowater placed 10th at the 2007 Open Women’s World 420 Championships and 11th at the 2009 Governor’s Cup.

Rounding out the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron team is Robin McGregor and shore managers Chris andRae Collins. Founded in 1871, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is the country’s oldest and most prominent yacht club. Over the years, boats flying the club burgee have won just about every world-class racing event, including the America’s Cup, the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Kenwood Cup, the Admiral’s Cup, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. As one of only seven Royal Yacht Squadrons in the world and with the support of more than 2,800 members, the club hosts up to a dozen regattas each year and continues its legacy of racing success, hospitality, and sailing education.

Yacht Club de France

Local knowledge, whether it is in regards to deciphering Newport’s famous summer sea breeze or navigating the city’s equally well-known nightlife, won’t be a problem for the team from Yacht Club de France. Skipper Bruno Troublé spent many summers in Newport in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the skipper of Baron Marcel Bich’s French America’s Cup challenges, and has been back numerous times since in his role as Louis Vuitton’s main connection to the America’s Cup. “While everything changes in Europe with a lot of new developments going on everywhere, Newport doesn’t change much,” said Troublé. “It’s the same atmosphere, same bars and restaurants—Black Pearl, Candy Store, etc.—same sticky fog, same smell.Going there is like returning to the 1977 America’s Cup with Turner and Jobson.”

Like the America’s Cup competitions of the 196 0s, ’70s, and early ’80s, the NYYC Invitational Cup will have a strong amateur focus, something that Troublé thinks is important for the sport. “Sailing is now fully professional at the top level, and we need events where the quality of racing is amazing without so many pro sailors around,” he said. “We are very pleased to participate. It is important for us to come and fly our colors even if we will come with no training.” But don’t discount the French team just yet.

In addition to Troublé, who sailed in the 1968 and 1976 Olympics, the team will also feature tactician Henri Samuel, a 16-year veteran of the French National Team, and mainsheet trimmer Pierre Le Maout, a Formula 40 world champion and an advisor for Dennis Conner’s multihull defense of the America’s Cup in 1988. Rounding out the team are Martin Minvielle, Gabriel de Montrichard, Sebastien David, Daniel Vallencien, Jacques Pelletier, Vincent Roubertie, Eric Vernet, and Bernard Coquelet (with Christian Hunault and Herve Bougeard serving as substitutes). And even if things don’t go well on the water, with Troublé as their guide, the French team should have little trouble making the most of their time in Newport.

The Yacht Club de France was established in 1867 and bestowed royal patronage by Napoleon III. In 1907, the club merged with the Union des Yachts Français, which was founded in 1891. Among its most famous members are author Jules Verne and French ocean racer Eric Tabarly.

NYYC Selects Henri Lloyd as Official Clothing Sponsor NYYC Event Chair John Mendez announced that Henri Lloyd, the premier brand of foul weather gear and marine lifestyle clothing, has joined the regatta as the Official Clothing Sponsor. Henri Lloyd joins previously announced official sponsors Rolex Watch U.S.A., Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan in supporting the event. “We are uniquely positioned to participate as a corporate sponsor,” noted Paul Strzelecki, Joint Chief Executive of Henri Lloyd.

“As a company globally recognized as a leader in high-performance clothing, sailors have looked to Henri Lloyd for the perfect balance of style, comfort and performance.Partnering with NYYC is a privilege and represents a natural kind of alliance for two organizations committed to the advancement of sailing worldwide.” Racing in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup will take place on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, the same waters where the New York Yacht Club hosted the America’s Cup – a trophy it first won in 1851 – from 1930-1983, or from its 14th Defense in 1930 to the 25th Defense in 1983. (Prior to that, it had been hosted in New York Harbor.) The sailing is expected to be tough and demanding, while the on-land activities will celebrate the camaraderie so revered in the sport.

The complete list of competing clubs is as follows: Japan Sailing Federation (Tokyo, Japan) New York Yacht Club (New York, N.Y., USA) Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (Hamburg, Germany) Nyländska Jaktklubben (Helsinki, Finland) Real Club Nautico Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Hamilton, Bermuda) Royal Canadian Yacht ClubToronto, Ontario, Canada) ( Royal Cork Yacht Club (County Cork, Ireland) Royal Danish Yacht Club (Hellerup, Denmark) Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (Hong Kong, China) Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (Auckland, New Zealand) Royal Ocean Racing Club (London, England) Royal St. George Yacht Club (County Dublin, Ireland) Royal Thames Yacht Club(London, England) Royal Yacht Squadron (London, England) St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco, Calif., USA) Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy) Yacht Club de France (Paris, France) Yacht Club Italiano (Genoa, Italy) Rolex, Sperry Top-Sider and Nautor’s Swan are the official sponsors of the NYYC Invitational Cup. Compliments of Rolex, the most prestigious maker of timepieces in the world and a long-time supporter of sailing, video of each day’s racing will be produced by Emmy Award winner and Rolex Testimonee Gary Jobson. The daily shows will air online during the regatta at and as part of a 30-minute television program on ESPN2.

Sperry Top-Sider, the iconic American brand that invented the world's first boat shoe, hereby defining a new category of footwear, is the event’s exclusive footwear supplier.Sperry will debut its latest evolution in performance footwear, the Ventus (the Latin term for “wind”) and will provide this footwear to all competitors, prior to its retail launch in late October.The NYYC Swan 42, the result of a pioneering partnership between NYYC and Nautor’s Swan to develop a one-design for racing by predominantly Corinthian crews in local, regional and international events, is the exclusive sailing yacht of the regatta. Sailing World magazine is the official media partner for the event. About Henri Lloyd LTD. An uncompromising commitment to sailors and exceptional sailing gear has made Henri Lloyd the most recognized and respected clothing brand in the industry. As the premier source of outstanding performance and lifestyle marine clothing, Henri Lloyd has been outfitting sailors for over 40 years. Customers rely on Henri Lloyd to provide fine marine clothing, footwear and accessories that move easily from dock to deck. For more information, visit the NYYC Invitational Cup website or contact Event Chair John Mendez at, +1(401) 862-5202. (end) Press information: Barby MacGowan Media Pro International Tel: + 1 401-849-0220 Email: New York Yacht Club Michael Levitt Tel: +1 401-648-6912 Email: Henri Lloyd North America Thomas B. Healey Tel: +1 770-753-9887 Email: