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Royal Cork Yacht Club in Final Fight for Podium Place at New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

18th September 2021
Howth Yacht Club had its best two results on Friday
On Friday, Howth Yacht Club counted its best two results of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup so far Credit: Daniel Forster/Rolex

Anthony O'Leary's Royal Cork Yacht Club is lying fourth overall but can retain its 2019 bronze medal if strong results are secured in Saturday's final two races of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

Ireland's second team at the event, Howth Yacht Club had its best two results on Thursday at Newport, Rhode Island scoring a 7, 9, their first top tens of the series to be 16th overall.

The story line at the sharp end of the fleet on Day 4 of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup was much the same as on Day 3. San Diego Yacht Club played from in front, starting fast and stretching away to another two wins. For those keeping score at home, that's four consecutive wins across two very different race arenas for Tyler Sinks and crew. Meanwhile, Southern Yacht Club's crew showed again that no one can work out of a jam quite like they can, turning a potential clunker into a ninth, and following that up with a lunch-pail second.

When the dust cleared from a very challenging day on Narragansett Bay's East Passage, Southern Yacht Club remained the overall leader, with a nine-point advantage over second place, which is now occupied by San Diego. Royal Thames Yacht Club sits third. And that's the extent of the teams with a realistic shot at the championship, though Royal Cork Yacht Club and the host New York Yacht Club shouldn't be ruled out for a podium.

"It really comes down to technique and working together as a team," said San Diego tactician Jake LaDow, when asked about the team's speed advantage over the past two days. "That [includes] weight on and off the rail, loading the boat up, and really fine tuning the sail trim. That’s been what we’ve been getting better and better at. In these really tight races, you need these two-foot crosses every once in a while. The first couple of days, our speed wasn’t as good as it is at this point in the regatta, and we had a couple of unlucky breaks. Sometimes you need those small victories throughout the race to really punch through and allow your race to free up."

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

After a punishing day on Rhode Island Sound on Thursday, the Race Committee moved the fleet inside Narragansett Bay, north of Gould Island. The flatter water and more moderate breeze was a welcome change for many competitors, but what today's conditions lacked in physical challenge was more than compensated for on the mental side of the sport. The breeze was shifty and puffy, and the tide was a factor, and few teams were immune to a bad race. In fact, of the top seven teams to begin the day, Southern and San Diego were the only two to avoid at least one double-digit finish.

San Diego stuck with a similar playbook to yesterday, starting at the pin and using superior speed to jump into the lead. Southern, once again, had to battle, particularly in the day's first race.

"We had a pretty decent first beat and rounded the weather mark in about sixth and everyone in the lead pack bore off initially on starboard," said Rick Merriman, Southern's main trimmer and a two-time winner of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. "The boats behind all jibed and got a jump on everyone. We went to jibe back, and there was a starboard tacker that pushed us to the right, and by then we’d pretty much lost everyone. We tried to keep our attitude strong and keep moving. We know we’ve got decent speed, so we just hung in there on the second beat and the run, kept passing boats and got in the top 10 again."

A second in the second race salvaged a very solid day, which will send the Southern Yacht Club team (Bow 3) into the final two races with a solid, but far from unsurmountable advantage.

Behind Southern, it was tough sledding for many top teams. Eastern, New York, Royal Cork, and Royal Canadian all saw their dreams of a podium, if not a win, take a significant hit.

Of the 19 teams in the regatta, just five put together two single-digit finishes on Day 4. The San Francisco Yacht Club, which has shown flashes of speed in multiple races, had a fifth and a fourth. The other two teams were more surprising.

Royal Swedish Yacht Club (Bow 6, at right) recorded its best two results of the regatta, a sixth and a seventh, and moved from 14th to 11th.

"I think the main reason was the starts," said tactician Johanna Sommarlund. "We got off the line today finally. We’ve been trying to find a way for the timing for the acceleration. We finally got that right today and then we played the shifts on the upwind.

"We’ve been trying some different things, working on, OK, let’s turn a little bit earlier, don’t think about the bias, just get clear air. Today we finally found the recipe to get off the start."

Then there were the viking hats. The team broke them out for Thursday evening's Lobster Bake, and at least one crew member decided to wear it on the water today.

"Some people say it’s bad luck to wear hats during the race," she said. "But apparently it’s been really good for us. We’ll be quicker with the viking helmets [tomorrow]."

Howth Yacht Club improve

Howth Yacht Club also had its best two results on Friday. Tactician Laura Dillon also chalked it up to trying something new. In the case of the Irish team, it was more input from the regatta's youngest participant, 15-year-old Rocco Wright.

"Rocco was feeding a lot of input today, and it was really helpful to have those extra pair of eyes looking around," said Dillon. "We definitely found today that the waves were less and we had good enough boatspeed across the course, so it was much more about the shifts and the gusts. That definitely helped level the playing field.

"We’re really enjoying the event, and it’s showing as we’re getting better every day."

Howth currently sits 16th in the regatta, but Dillon and her teammates were smiling wide tonight in the tent after racing and eagerly looking ahead to more progress over the final two races.

"A steady gain is really good," she said. "If we’re ending on a positive trajectory, then we’ll be hopefully looking forward to, in the future, coming back and continuing on that upward trajectory. We’d all love a podium position, but a steady gain would keep us all very happy."

2021 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Day 4 Provisional Results

(Place, Club Name, Boat Number, Country, Race results; Regatta Total)
1. Southern Yacht Club, Boat 3, USA, 1, 10, 2, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 9, 2; 39
2. San Diego Yacht Club. Boat 17, USA, 12, 4, 5, 6, 12, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1; 48
3. Royal Thames Yacht Club, Boat 10, GBR, 2, 2, 1, 8, 8, 9, 9, 2, 10, 3; 54
4. Royal Cork Yacht Club, Boat 13, IRL, 3, 3, 11, 1, 6, 6, 4, 9, 2, 16; 61
5. New York Yacht Club, Boat 19, USA, 4, 1, 7, 3, 5, 12, 7, 11, 15, 10; 75
6. Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Boat 5, CAN, 13, 9, 16, 9, 2, 4, 5, 5, 3, 14; 80
7. Eastern Yacht Club, Boat 16, USA, 12*, 6, 4, 5, 3, 2, 8, 16, 18, 8; 82
8. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Boat 2, USA, 17, 7, 9, 2, 11, 1, 14, 15, 5, 4; 85
9. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Boat 14, ITA, 7*, 12, 3, 16, 7, 8, 6, 14, 4, 12; 89
10. American Yacht Club, Boat 8, USA, 9*, 11, 8, 13*, 13, 16, 2, 6, 11, 6; 95
11. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Boat 6, SWE, 10, 8, 18, 14, 9, 13, 16, 10, 6, 7; 111
12. Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Boat 15, CAN, 7, 5, 6, 7, 19, 17, 19, 12, 19, 5; 116
13. Yacht Club Argentino, Boat 9, ARG, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 7, 10, 3, 13, 17; 120
14. Noroton Yacht Club, Boat 7, USA, 15, 14, 10, 10, 14, 10, 17, 8, 14, 15; 127
15. Nyländska Jaktklubben, Boat 12, FIN, 6*, 18, 13, 15, 10, 15, 12, 7, 17, 19; 132
16. Howth Yacht Club, Boat 4, IRL, 16, 16, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 19, 7, 9; 137
17. Itchenor Sailing Club, Boat 11, GBR, 19, 15, 15, 18, 4, 18, 13, 17, 8, 11; 138
18. Yacht Club Italiano, Boat 18, ITA, 10*, 17, 12, 17, 16, 14, 11, 13, 12, 18; 140
19. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Boat 20, BER, 18, 19, 19, 19, 18, 19, 18, 18, 16, 13; 177
*Race score includes 1-point penalty for early extension of sprit

Published in Royal Cork YC Team

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Royal Cork Yacht Club

Royal Cork Yacht Club lays claim to the title of the world's oldest yacht club, founded in 1720. 

It is currently located in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, Ireland and is Cork Harbour’s largest yacht club and the biggest sailing club on the south coast of Ireland.

The club has an international reputation for the staging of sailing events most notable the biennial world famous Cork Week Regatta.

In 2020 RCYC celebrated its tricentenary under its Admiral Colin Morehead.

Royal Cork Yacht Club FAQs

The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world, and celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2020. It is one of the World’s leading yacht clubs, and is in the forefront of all branches of sailing activity. It is the organiser of the biennial Cork Week, widely regarded as Europe’s premier sailing event. It has hosted many National, European and World Championships. Its members compete at the highest level in all branches of sailing, and the club has a number of World, Olympic, continental and national sailors among its membership.

The Royal Cork Yacht club is in Crosshaven, Co Cork, a village on lower Cork Harbour some 20km south-east of Cork city centre and on the Owenabue river that flows into Cork Harbour.

The club was founded as The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in 1720, in recognition of the growing popularity of private sailing following the Restoration of King Charles II. The monarch had been known to sail a yacht on the Thames for pleasure, and his interest is said to have inspired Murrough O’Brien, the 6th Lord Inchiquin — who attended his court in the 1660s and whose grandson, William O’Brien, the 9th Lord Inchiquin, founded the club with five friends.Originally based on Haulbowline Island in inner Cork Harbour, the club moved to nearby Cobh (then Cove) in 1806, and took on its current name in 1831. In 1966 the club merged with the Royal Munster Yacht Club and moved to its current premises in Crosshaven.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club today encompasses a wide variety of sailing activities, from young kids in their Optimist dinghies sailing right through the winter months to the not-so-young kids racing National 18s and 1720s during the remaining nine months. There is also enthusiastic sailing in Toppers, Lasers, RS Fevas and other dinghies. The larger keelboats race on various courses set in and around the Cork Harbour area for club competitions. They also take part in events such as the Round Ireland Race, Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race. In many far off waters, right across the globe, overseas club members proudly sail under the Royal Cork burger. The club has a significant number of cruising members, many of whom are content to sail our magnificent south and west coasts. Others head north for the Scottish islands and Scandinavia. Some go south to France, Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean. The more adventurous have crossed the Atlantic, explored little known places in the Pacific and Indian Oceans while others have circumnavigated the globe.

As of November 2020, the Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club is Colin Morehead, with Kieran O’Connell as Vice-Admiral. The club has three Rear-Admirals: Annamarie Fegan for Dinghies, Daragh Connolly for Keelboats and Mark Rider for Cruising.

As of November 2020, the Royal Cork Yacht Club has approximately 1,800 members.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club’s burgee is a red pennant with the heraldic badge of Ireland (a stylised harp topped with a crown) at its centre. The club’s ensign has a navy blue field with the Irish tricolour in its top left corner and the heraldic badge centred on its right half.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club organises and runs sailing events and courses for members and visitors all throughout the year and has very active keelboat and dinghy racing fleets. The club also hosts many National, European and World Championships, as well as its biennial Cork Week regatta — widely regarded as Europe’s premier sailing event.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club has an active junior section with sailing in Optimists, Toppers and other dinghies.

Charles Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club regularly runs junior sailing courses covering basic skills, certified by Irish Sailing.


The Royal Cork hosts both keelboats and dinghies, with the 1720 Sportsboat — the club’s own design — and National 18 among its most popular. Optimists and Toppers are sailed by juniors, and the club regularly sees action in Lasers, RS Fevas, 29ers and other dinghy classes.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has a small fleet of 1720 Sportsboats available for ordinary members to charter.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Club House office can provide phone, fax, email, internet and mail holding facilities for a small charge. Club merchandise and postcards may be purchased. Showers and toilet facilities are available 24 hours a day, free of charge. Parking is plentiful and free of charge. Diesel and petrol are available on site. Marina berths are generally available for a fee payable in advance; arrangements must be made before arrival.

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Club House has all of the usual facilities, including bars and restaurant, which are open during normal licensing hours. The restaurant provides a full range of meals, and sandwiches, snacks etc, are available on request.

Normal working hours during the sailing season at the Royal Cork Yacht Club are 9am to 9pm daily. For enquiries contact the RCYC office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

Yes, the Royal Cork Yacht Club caters for all types of events rom weddings, anniversaries, christenings and birthday celebrations to corporate meetings, breakfast meetings, luncheons, private dinners and more. For enquiries contact the Royal Cork Yacht Club office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

New members are invited to apply for membership of the Royal Cork Yacht Club by completing the Nomination Form (available from and returning it to The Secretary, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven Co Cork. Nominations are first approved by the Executive Committee at its next meeting, and following a period on display for the members, and are reviewed again at the following meeting at which any objections are considered.

No; while ordinary members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club are usually boat owners, there is no requirement to own a boat when submitting an application for membership.

The annual feel for ordinary members (aged 30+) of the Royal Cork Yacht Club is €645. Family membership (two full members and all children aged 29 and under) is €975, while individuals youth (ages 19-29) and cadet (18 and under) memberships are €205. Other rates are available for seniors, associates and more. All fees quoted are as of the 2020 annual subscription rates.

Memberships of the Royal Cork Yacht Club are renewed annually, usually within 60 days of the club’s Annual General Meeting.
For enquiries contact the Royal Cork Yacht Club office on 021 483 1023 or email [email protected]

©Afloat 2020

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