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Royal Cork Fourth, Howth 18th as New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Goes to Southern YC for a Second Time

19th September 2021
Anthony O'Leary's Royal Cork crew finished fourth overall at the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
Anthony O'Leary's Royal Cork crew finished fourth overall at the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Credit: Daniel Forster

For the second time in three editions, Southern Yacht Club will leave the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court with the most prestigious trophy in Corinthian sailing, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, firmly in its collective grasp.

Ireland's two teams at the week-long event from Cork and Howth finished fourth and 18th respectively. 

The team from New Orleans—led by skipper John Lovell and tactician Marcus Eagan, and supported both here and in New Orleans by hundreds, if not thousands of family, friends and fellow members—were incredibly consistent through 12 races over 5 days, with 9 top-four finishes and not a single race result outside the top 10.

In some races, it looked simple as the team parlayed solid starts, prescient tactical calls and superior boatspeed into an express pass to the head of the 19-boat fleet of international yacht club teams. But in other races, particularly in the second half of the regatta, it was a battle as Southern Yacht Club spent a fair bit of time in the back half of the fleet.

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

"It’s never easy," said Eagan, who skippered the team's winning 2017 entry, with Lovell as his tactician. "The leads are always marginal, it’s just crazy. Especially when you’re up the Bay in a light northerly. It was very dicey. It’s all about that one cross or that good start."

After four straight wins on Day 3 and Day 4, San Diego Yacht Club started the final day looking every bit a legitimate threat to overtake Southern for the championship. But the first race of the day couldn't have gone any worse; an 18th knocking San Diego out of contention. Royal Thames Yacht Club took the gun, and assumed second place in the overall standings.

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

The regatta's final race was perhaps its most mentally challenging, with the breeze fading in and out and shifting frequently. Royal Thames started on the wrong foot by fouling Southern just seconds before the gun. But RTYC tactician Ian Dobson and skipper John Greenland made quick work of the variable breeze to climb right back into the hunt, rounding the first mark one place ahead of Southern.

Being in front was one small victory, but getting enough separation to overcome SYC's 13-point advantage proved too steep a climb. Greenland continued to slice through the fleet for a third, but Southern was able to follow suit, finishing sixth and becoming the second yacht club, after the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in 2011 and 2013, to win the trophy for a second time.

As is tradition at the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the final day started with a Parade of Nations around Newport Harbor, complete with multiple cannon salutes. That ceremony completed, all 19 teams and assorted race committee and support craft headed north of Gould Island in Narragansett Bay's East Passage for an on-time start at 11 am.

It was apparent before the first gun that the day of racing would be anything but straightforward. The breeze, forecast for the middle teens, was barely holding onto double digit windspeeds and regularly dancing right or left of the median wind direction. For a crew with solid boat speed and a lead to defend, it was far from ideal.

"I was pretty stressed, I couldn’t even eat in between races," said Lovell, an Olympic silver medalist in the Tornado class. "You don’t want to choke. Our goal going into the day was 10 points, and I think we got nine. I can’t thank the crew enough.

"Our team just put it together. Everyone did their jobs and did them well. Marcus said it best at the beginning of the event, 'If everyone does their job, we’re going to be there.' And everyone did their job, and we didn’t make any real big mistakes, and that was it."

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

Also on the Southern team were Andrew Eagan, Dwight LeBlanc IV, Christian Gambel, Jay Kuebel, Miia Newman, Katy Lovell and Rick Merriman. Kuebel, both Eagans, Lovell and Merriman were all part of the winning team in 2017. Merriman is now the only three-time winner of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, having also won the inaugural edition as part of the New York Yacht Club team.

For host New York Yacht Club, it was an up-and-down regatta that included two race wins, but also a quartet of double-digit finishes. It ended on a strong note for Commodore Christopher J. Culver and his crew (Bow 19, at left) as they won the pin, hit the left corner and took the victory in the final race of the regatta.

"I'm so proud of the team," said Culver of his crew. "They worked so hard, first to qualify as the New York Yacht Club representative and then all week during the regatta. We feel we left a little bit out there on the racecourse, but every team probably feels that way. So it was really special to finish on a high note. I love our team, they really came together well and were so competitive. The camaraderie is really special as well."

Another team ending with a bang was the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, which followed New York Yacht Club across the line in the final race to record its best finish of the regatta.

"We were building up to this for three days," said Royal Swedish Yacht Club skipper Filip Engelbert. "We started off a little bit too hot tempted on board, I think, and then we decided, three days to go, just have a little bit of fun. We were gradually building up and finally we came through in the last race. A happy boat is a good boat."

New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup

Thanks to a second in the first race of the day, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda moved from ninth to seventh in the overall standings, by far its best finish in three Invitational Cup appearances.

"We changed our tactics for the start, and we had a really good start in the first race," said Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti, the team's main trimmer. "We had a really good tactician, we went on the left and turned the first mark first. It was a really good race for us and we gained two places in the final standings. This was my second Invitational Cup here in Newport, I just love this place and the IC37 is fantastic."

But no one was more pleased than Southern. A proud club with a strong sailing tradition, it has established a new standard of excellence at this event, and its domestic championship the Resolute Cup, which it won in 2016.

"It’s just incredible, a wonderful event," said Lovell. "This is, in my opinion, the best big boat regatta in the world."

2021 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Final 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, 3, 6; 48
2. Royal Thames Yacht Club, Boat 10, GBR, 2, 2, 1, 8, 8, 9, 9, 2, 10, 3, 1, 3; 58
3. San Diego Yacht Club. Boat 17, USA, 12, 4, 5, 6, 12, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 18, 11; 77
4. Royal Cork Yacht Club, Boat 13, IRL, 3, 3, 11, 1, 6, 6, 4, 9, 2, 16, 11, 9; 81
5. New York Yacht Club, Boat 19, USA, 4, 1, 7, 3, 5, 12, 7, 11, 15, 10, 7, 1; 83
6. Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Boat 5, CAN, 13, 9, 16, 9, 2, 4, 5, 5, 3, 14, 4, 4; 88
7. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Boat 14, ITA, 7*, 12, 3, 16, 7, 8, 6, 14, 4, 12, 2, 13; 104
8. Eastern Yacht Club, Boat 16, USA, 12*, 6, 4, 5, 3, 2, 8, 16, 18, 8, 16, 8; 106
9. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Boat 2, USA, 17, 7, 9, 2, 11, 1, 14, 15, 5, 4, 9, 15; 109
10. American Yacht Club, Boat 8, USA, 9*, 11, 8, 13*, 13, 16, 2, 6, 11, 6, 15, 5; 115
11. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Boat 6, SWE, 10, 8, 18, 14, 9, 13, 16, 10, 6, 7, 10, 2; 123
12. Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Boat 15, CAN, 7, 5, 6, 7, 19, 17, 19, 12, 19, 5, 8, 12; 136
13. Noroton Yacht Club, Boat 7, USA, 15, 14, 10, 10, 14, 10, 17, 8, 14, 15, 12, 7; 146
14. Nyländska Jaktklubben, Boat 12, FIN, 6*, 18, 13, 15, 10, 15, 12, 7, 17, 19, 5, 10; 147
15. Yacht Club Argentino, Boat 9, ARG, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 7, 10, 3, 13, 17, 13, 17; 150
16. Yacht Club Italiano, Boat 18, ITA, 10*, 17, 12, 17, 16, 14, 11, 13, 12, 18, 6, 14; 160
17. Itchenor Sailing Club, Boat 11, GBR, 19, 15, 15, 18, 4, 18, 13, 17, 8, 11, 17, 16; 171
18. Howth Yacht Club, Boat 4, IRL, 16, 16, 14, 13, 17, 11, 15, 19, 7, 9, 19, 19; 175
19. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Boat 20, BER, 18, 19, 19, 19, 18, 19, 18, 18, 16, 13, 14, 18; 209

*Race score includes 1-point penalty for early extension of sprit

Published in Royal Cork YC
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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 www.royalcork.com/membership) 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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