Safe Harbor Race Weekend draws Superyachts to Newport

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A three-day event held at the Newport Shipyard wrapped up the inaugural Safe Harbor Race Weekend featuring eight superyachts and 38 additional teams in six fleets with the overall win going to Jim Madden’s Carkeek 47 Stark, Raving Mad in the ORC division.

"We raced in a very deep fleet that was very well sailed," said tactician Anthony Koutoun of Stark, Raving, Mad on Sunday. "We used the size of our boat to an advantage and we had incredible boat preparation. I think those were key factors in why we sailed so well.” Friday and Saturday were marked by light and variable winds with Sunday’s winds starting out with promise but dying out on Sunday afternoon. The conditions did not dampen the competition and Kotoun added that “It was a great event and inaugural regattas like this one are often hard to start up but we knew that with race organizers like Peter Craig of Premiere Racing and Veronica Brown of Safe Harbor it was going to be excellent.”

The presence of the superyacht fleet, which raced just two days, harkened back to events like the Newport Bucket and the Candy Store Cup, which brought these massive sailing vessels to the starting line. When Newport icon Charlie Dana sold the beloved Newport Shipyard in 2019 to Texas-based corporation Safe Harbor Marinas, LLC (which owns 85 marine facilities across 19 states) many sailors wanted to see superyacht racing continue, and so did Safe Harbor.

"One of our goals for hosting this event was to let people know that Safe Harbor is committed to yacht racing," said Tim Moll the Rhode Island regional Vice President of Sales for Safe Harbor. "As an inaugural event, our goal was to get 30 boats and we ended up with almost 50."

Further, sailor Rives Potts is the former Chief Operating Officer of Safe Harbor Marinas LLC and as well as the former commodore of the New York Yacht Club. Potts participated in the three-day event this past weekend on his Custom 48' Aluminum sloop Carina placing seventh overall in the ORC division.

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For Captain Simon Davison of 116 HJB 36m custom built Whisper—owned by John J. "Hap" Fauth who is the Team Principal and CEO of "American Magic"—placing second in the superyacht fleet still marked a great day on the water.

"This was a great place for the inaugural race to happen and we had great conditions" said Davison. "I also think it is important that we have the superyachts taking part and it shows a great deal of support and encouragement for their continued participation," Davison said. He added that "Whisper owner Hap Fauth was on board racing today and we had a great day. In the past, he has done the Candy Store Cup and Newport Bucket and he was pleased to take part in Safe Harbor's first regatta and its superyacht division. I believe we are lucky to have people like Hap Fauth in our sport,” Davison said. “We are lucky for his participation and love of sailing."

For Joe Brito on board his J121 Incognito placing top in his division with 16 points was reward enough, but he was especially pleased that one of his top competitors was his son Chris Brito who raced on board the third-place finisher and Farr 40 Kathadin owned by Trevor Nelson.

"The beauty of this event is that you can incorporate a high-performance boat but everyone is sailing well. It was a great first event, and I love racing against my son. I hope everyone is back here again next year!” Brito said.

Race organizer Peter Craig of Premiere Racing, Inc. noted that he has been approached by many groups asking him about starting a new regatta. “I knew with the Safe Harbor team that it would be a quality event ashore and a quality event on the water. We saw challenging conditions on the racecourse and overcame them and that bodes well for participation in 2022.”

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The following results are the top three finishers in each fleet:

ORC Division

1. Stark Raving Mad IX, Carkeek 47, Jim Madden

2. Entropy, Swan 42, Patricia. Young

3. Apollo, J 121, Donald Nicholson


1. Incognito, J 121, Joe Brito

2. Settler, Tripp 43, Thomas Rich

3. Kathadin, Farr 40, Trevor W. Nelson


1. Das Blau Max, Farr 30, Mark and Cory Sertl

2. Divided Sky, Mills/Summit 35, Vincent and Kristina McAteer

3. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouline


1. Hawk, Evelyn 32-2, Richard & Katie Barker

2. Memory, J 110, Kevin Dakan

3. Sterling, J 105, Mark Lindquist

Performance Cruising Spinnaker

1. Galadriel, Swan 46, Stephen De Voe

2. Laura, Westerly Marine RP 60, Francis Curren

3. Ghost, Farr 30, Andrew Besher

Performance Cruising Non-Spinnaker

1. Odyssey, Wooden Sloop, David Brodsky

2. Bahay, Dufour 325 Grand Large, Eric and Alanna Schifrine Shultz

3. La Vie Est-Belle, Dufour 390GL, Thomas Joseph

Superyacht Class

1. Perseus3, Perini Navi, 60m, Burger Van Der Walt

2. Whisper, HJB 36m custom, Simon Davison

3. Zenji, Perini 56m Ketch, Matthew Hearsum

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