Ireland's Royal Cork Yacht Club moved up two places overall in the Rolex New York Invitational Cup yesterday after scoring 3,10 and 11 in the 22 boat fleet yesterday. The Anthony O'Leary skppered boat is just three points behind Japan who ties for fourth place after six races with the Newport harbour team on 48 points. Third place is Annapolis Yacht Club on 43 points.
Returning to upper Narragansett Bay for the second day of the fixture has proven beneficial for at least one of the 22 yacht club teams – Royal Canadian Yacht Club – which again displayed remarkable consistency on the race course. And in a repeat of yesterday's prevailing theme of tight competition, today's three races were won by three different clubs which means that there have been no duplicate winners thus far in the six-race series.
A keen start yesterday. Royal Cork is bow number three. Photo:Dan Nerney/Rolex
"We were probably the biggest movers," said Peter McChesney, helm for the Annapolis Yacht Club team who has only sailed in Newport a handful of times previously, including the the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup U.S. Qualifying Series in 2010 in which the AYC team finished second to earn the opportunity to race in this event. AYC was 10th overall after yesterday's first day of racing, and moved up to third overall with 43 points after finishes of 6-1-3 today. "We just got off the line better today in every race, and gave our tactician [John Torgerson] the opportunity to make good decisions. If you get a good start it's easier to make those decisions. Our tactician took what we gave him and did a great job of calling tactics, and the crew work was essentially flawless. Everything just went our way."
The exciting conditions seen today on Narragansett Bay have also proven why Newport remains such a unique place to sail. "Where else can you sail in 20 knots of breeze and have the seas be this flat?," said Chip Whipple, timmer on the New York Yacht Club team. "It really is an anomaly. When you have as much breeze as this [in the Med] you're sailing in big seas and a lot of swell. And in northern Europe you have the cold water and big seas, breaking waves. Being as protected as we are here it's just an extremely fantastic place to sail, and the boats can't sail any faster because they are absolutely optimized for the conditions."
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) team has retained the overall lead position after adding finishes of 2-4-2 to yesterday's finishes of 2-1-4 for 15 points. When they won the second race on the first day of the contest, they were given the Rolex gold spinnaker to fly in the subsequent race. And, as overall standings leader, RCYC carried the golden chute for all of today's races, and will continue that way when racing resumes tomorrow.
"We had to bail on two starts," said RCYC helm Terry McLaughlin after racing today, explaining that the RCYC team was forced to tack in both instances but the moves wound up working in their favor. "It was good breeze most of the day and we were going well. We're trying to do all the fundamentals well and not make mistakes." With eleven races planned, and tough competition, McLaughlin knows all to well that the 13-point lead RCYC currently enjoys can disappear in a hurry. "We had a good battle with NYYC in the last race, caught up to them on the last leg. It was close, but they beat us by three boat lengths."
"The last race was a lot of fun," said Ken Colburn, skipper of the New York Yacht Club team when summing up their win of the final race of the day. NYYC now stands second overall with 28 points, 13 points behind RCYC. "We had a great start, found ourselves in a clean lane and just were able to get in the proper groove. RCYC was there every inch of the race. We stayed together . . . gapped the fleet . . . for both of us it was just a fabulous race." Emphasizing that there was still a lot of racing to come, Colburn noted that, as anticipated, the quality and depth of the competition is remarkable. "Six winners in six races is indicative of how strong this fleet is overall."
Racing resumes today Thursday, September 15, with the warning signal for the first race scheduled for 1100. Competitors leave NYYC's Harbour Court for 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.