Newport Harbor Rules at the Global Team Race Regatta
Newport, RI – You could be forgiven for thinking Newport Harbor Yacht Club was the home team for the 2022 Global Team Race Regatta. That’s the name, for starters. But also the level of ease displayed by the team of eight people during the three days of testing. Newport Harbor looked right at home winning 23 of 25 races, including the last nine in a row, to win the third edition of this international two-on-two team racing championship. In fact, Newport Harbor Yacht Club originated across the coast from Newport Beach, California. The home team was the New York Yacht Club, which hosted the event and finished second. Corinthian Yacht Club of Marblehead, Mass. beat St. Francis Yacht Club of San Francisco in the battle for third place. The top international team was the Royal Cork Yacht Club of Ireland, fifth.
“For us, that’s huge,” says Newport Harbor Yacht Club team captain Justin Law. “The Newport Harbor Yacht Club is first and foremost a team racing club. We put our heart and soul into two-on-two, 3-on-3, 4-on-4 and basically our entire calendar year is geared towards team races. To come here and win is fantastic.
The World Team Racing Regatta was designed by the New York Yacht Club, which hosted the first edition in October 2018. A second edition of the Global Team Race Regatta took place in England in 2019. The third edition was planned for Italy in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-10 pandemic, and ultimately rescheduled to this summer in Newport, RI, where it was held July 22-24 at New York Yacht Club Harbor Court.
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Team Racing, which features two teams of two of four boats each sailing against each other in a tight win or lose format, is popular around the world. World Sailing held the World Team Racing Championship 10 times between 1995 and 2015. This event featured a three-on-three competition in two-man dinghies, which favored teams of younger, lighter sailors.
Although the fundamentals are pretty much the same, the Global Team Race Regatta uses the two-on-two format, which makes the competition easier to follow. The team whose last boat crossed the finish line in an individual race loses the race. The Global Team Race Regatta also uses keelboats instead of dinghies, making competition accessible to a wider variety of sailors, both in size and age, and bringing the added complexity of spinnakers into The mixture.
According to Law, it was the use of spinnakers that helped Newport Harbor get off to a good start in the round robin portion of the regatta.
“The first two days [it was] lots of boat handling [that gave NHYC an edge]Law explains. “In this medium-light air, if you can just keep the spinnaker full, keep your boat moving, things are much easier.”
Newport Harbor won all 10 races in the first full fleet round robin, then dropped only two of 10 races in the double Golden Fleet round robin, which featured the top six teams. Momentum can be fleeting in team races, and that’s especially true when, as was the case today, the top four teams are seeded in a knockout tournament. A drastic change in wind conditions and the race committee banning spinnakers due to the increased breeze only added to the feeling that the regatta was effectively starting again for the top four teams.
“We didn’t really know what was going to happen today,” Law said. “Once you took the spinnakers down it sort of reset the race, and with the knockouts you can never get too comfortable.”
Any fear of disappointment was largely unfounded. Newport Harbor defeated the St. Francis Yacht Club 2-0 in the semifinals, then did the same with the team representing the host New York Yacht Club in the final.
“Today with the breeze it was just about keeping it simple,” Law explains. “There was no race today where we felt faster than a team. Today was all about hanging on and picking your moments.
In the final, the key moment of both races was the start. Newport Harbor wanted to start to the right of their opponents as they felt this gave them a small advantage at the first buoy to windward. In both races, Newport Harbor cleared the first mark first and second.
“It’s really hard in these [windy] conditions for someone to overtake you downwind and really mix it all up,” says Law.
One of the missions of the Global Team Race Regatta is to foster the growth of team racing around the world, particularly outside the traditional centers of power, the United States and Great Britain. While the top four teams all hailed from the United States, Phil Lotz, the event chairman and former commodore of the New York Yacht Club, was encouraged by the enthusiasm displayed by teams from countries such as Japan and Belgium , where team racing is not as common.
“We think we’re making progress,” says Lotz, citing the popularity of team racing events in the Optimist class, the continued growth of two-on-two adult keelboat racing in Europe, and increasing activity in the United States. . “We want to increase international competitions to a high level to the point that all regions of the world are represented.
While most American team races use the three-on-three format, Lotz remains convinced that the decision to run this event using the two-on-two model is correct.
“There are fewer boats needed, and it’s a little easier to learn the skills,” says Lotz. “The two-on-two format has helped growth in Europe and even some growth in the US and outside of traditional team racing venues. We will continue to focus on two-on-two for this regatta as it appears to be the platform supporting the most growth.
The 2023 edition of the Global Team Race Regatta is tentatively scheduled for the Solent in England in September. Further details will be communicated shortly.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club: Justin Law (Team Captain, Skipper), Jake LaDow, Haley Dahl, Chris Segerblom, Alex Curtiss (Skipper), Kayla LaDow, Andrew Person, Colin Voight (with New York Yacht Club Commodore Paul Zabetakis , far right)
|Photos: Stuart Wemple (4)|