Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

New York Cup about to Kick Off

16th September 2009
New York Cup about to Kick Off


Newport, R.I., USA (Sept. 15, 2009) – Seemingly overnight, the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court facility has transformed into an international village teeming with hundreds of people, including sailors from 14 nations who have arrived to compete in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. Two Irish teams are in the line-up.

“It’s obvious that a lot of work has gone into this,” said Craig Healy, a Soling world champion who will skipper the St. Francis Yacht Club’s team.  “It’s very well organized.”  With a Wednesday (Sept. 16) through Saturday (Sept. 19) racing schedule, most of the 19 teams – all of which represent yacht clubs and have adhered to strict guidelines for crew composition -- checked in this past weekend, attended a Swan 42 Performance Symposium, and began practicing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound on the course once used for America’s Cup races when the New York Yacht Club last hosted that contest here in 1983.

By Monday, a 7900 sq. ft. tent and another at least half its size had been erected on the lower half of the yacht club’s sprawling lawn, famous for its gloriously steep sweep down to the Newport harbor front.   In the smaller of the tents, where post-racing hospitality had already started, sponsor Sperry Top-Sider, known for inventing the world’s first boat shoe, was busy outfitting every sailor with a new pair of its “Ventus” model shoes and happily servicing a steady stream of visitors who were checking out the merchandise at Sperry’s “Beach Cottage.”

“I have had many of these,” said Bruno Trouble, pointing to his own pair of traditional leather Sperry boat shoes on his feet, “but now I will try these!”  Trouble, a name familiar to those with America’s Cup knowledge, will be skippering the entry from Yacht Club de France.  He and other helmsmen, tacticians, mainsail trimmers and the like sat attentively during post-practice debriefs where notable U.S. sailors such as Steve Benjamin, Brad Read  and Gary Jobson gave tips, reviewed tactics and imparted local knowledge to the visitors.  And since the NYYC supplied every boat with an identical suit of sails, Tom Castiglione (representing North Sails, which made the mains and jibs) and Farley Fontenot (representing Quantum Sails, which made the spinnakers) were on hand as well to share their own tips for getting the most out of the identical NYYC Swan 42s that will be raced.

“Every rig has been tuned exactly the same,” said Paul Zabetakis, president of the Swan 42 class and chair of the impressive Technical Committee that has been formed to oversee every aspect of boat detail,  ”and with the sails absolutely matched, these boats will be more level than they ever have been since the fleet’s formation.”  Event Chair John Mendez added that the sailors also have access to PredictWind, which enables every sailor to have equal wind and marine forecast information.  “I don’t know how much more equal we can get,” said Mendez.

Since the NYYC owns the suits of sails and plans to use them again in two years for the second running of this event, it took the liberty of emblazing them with the event’s logo and clear identification of each team so spectators can root for their favorite entries.  And spectators don’t even have to be in Newport to follow the action.  At 11 a.m. on each racing day, they can log on to Kattack for “Live Race Tracking” (, which according to Kattack representative Mark Fortin is not only entertainment for those who can’t be on the race course watching but also a performance report for the sailors, who will be able to view the day’s happenings on a big screen under the hospitality tent.  “It is not a new system, as Kattack is used regularly at many regattas,” said Fortin, “but this is the first time we’ve made it live so you can see what’s happening second-by-second on the race course.”

By the time a Parade of Nations takes place this Saturday (Sept. 19) on Newport Harbor, it will be clear which teams have the most talent going into the finals that follow, and certainly many friendships will have been forged, despite some language barriers that are evident with a quick tour of the club grounds. “We made a bet with Ken Read (tactician aboard the New York Yacht Club’s team) that if we beat him today in the practice race, he buys us beers,” said Kazuhiro Takatsuki, from the Japan Sailing Federation Team, in his best English.  At the end of the day, however, it was the other way around.  “We buy beers for his team!” said Takatsuki, laughing.

One local sailor will have an experience of a lifetime when he sails with the Yacht Club Italiano team.  Platt Johnson, who was filling in for practices on the Royal Danish Yacht Club’s team while they awaited the arrival of a crew member, was asked to sail for real on the Italian team when one of its crew members had a family emergency and couldn’t make it at all.  “I can’t wait,” said Johnson, who qualifies to sail as one of two crew members who don’t have to be from the competing yacht club or hold passports from the nation it represents.  “And I’ll probably learn a little Italian along the way!”

Nightly reports, blogs, daily video and results will be available at  On October 25th at 5 p.m. a one-hour ESPN2 show about the event will air.

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 Club (Toronto, 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)

Published in News Update Team

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