Newport, R.I. -- The 7th Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup wrapped up on Saturday after five days of highly competitive racing in an international fleet that saw the Southern Yacht Club (SYC) of New Orleans best a fleet of 19 teams from Europe, Canada, Bermuda and around the US for the second time in this event's seven-year history. The all-Corinthian event was raced in identically rigged IC37s showcasing pure one design boats raced at the highest level. The close contest was also a reminder of how exciting non-professional sailing is and how international club teams ignite a great deal of support and enthusiasm as a result.
SYC won the overall trophy with a score of 48 points after 12 races in variable conditions, with nine top-four finishes and not a single race result outside the top ten. They beat second-place finisher Royal Thames Yacht Club who had 58 points and third-place San Diego Yacht Club with 77 points.
"Our goal going into the last day was to keep on strategy and the anxiety level was high. But everyone did their job and were super quick,” said SYC tactician Marcus Eagan. Their win on Saturday was witnessed by over 1,000 SYC members and supporters both on the water and back in New Orleans.
"What is great about this regatta is it inspires the members of the club and energizes them,” Eagan said. “We are competing in a professional setting yet it feels different as there is a Corinthian spirit that makes it unique."
After five editions in the Swan 42 class, the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup was held in the IC37s for the second time adding a more physical component to this year’s event.
"When we changed from the Swan 42 to the IC37 at the last event we realized these are very, very athletic boats and very tough to sail without some young, quick and strong crew members on board,” said skipper Bill Lynn of the Eastern Yacht Club who placed 8th overall in the event. “If you look around this group, you will see a lot of young people here and they are critical to sailing these boats well. Those that brought older teams struggled a bit more."
Lynn noted that the hope is to see the IC37 fleet continue to grow. "There are 35 IC37s in the world and 20 of them are here at the NYYC."
For Mariah Millen of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club racing with her father John Millen, skipper Terry McLaughlin among others, the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup is "an event that is always on the team's radar. It is a tough event and we have a very talented team," said Millen. "There are at least five or six teams here that could have won it all. It has been a dream to be here at the New York Yacht Club and they have done a fantastic job."
The RCYC holds the honor of winning the event twice, and the Canadians came into this event having just won the Canadian Cup. The team placed sixth overall in this year’s event.
The Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup began in 2008 and was the brainchild of then-Commodore David Elwell who wanted to create a truly Corinthian international event. It has now become one of the high points on the yachting calendar for all of the invited clubs. The requirements to join means that all but one member of the team must belong to the respective yacht club. All teams are mixed gender.
"The competitors always ask how can they come back next time? I think that the combination of the Corinthian spirit and the passion and energy for one design sailing is why the teams want to come here time after time," said event chairwoman Robbie Benjamin. "Normally, we have Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan participating, but because of Covid restrictions in their country they could not attend this time."
From the race committee to the social events, this special event is unique for all who attend in part because of the international friendships that have formed over the years.
"The level of sailing is great but it is also clear the competitors are having a lot of fun being together," said commentator Tucker Thompson, who was one of three TV commentators for the event. "The format of having international club teams doing this type of sailing could really help grow the sport in the US. What it does is achieve that national and club pride while getting the membership involved and behind it. It is really fun to have a stake in how your team is doing."
1. Southern Yacht Club, Boat 3, USA, 48pts
2. Royal Thames Yacht Club, Boat 10, GBR, 58pts
3. San Diego Yacht Club. Boat 17, USA, 77pts
4. Royal Cork Yacht Club, Boat 13, IRL, 81pts
5. New York Yacht Club, Boat 19, USA, 83pts
6. Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Boat 5, CAN, 88pts
7. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Boat 14, ITA, 104pts
8. Eastern Yacht Club, Boat 16, USA, 106pts
9. The San Francisco Yacht Club, Boat 2, USA, 109pts
10. American Yacht Club, Boat 8, USA, 115pts
11. Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Boat 6, SWE, 123pts
12. Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Boat 15, CAN, 136pts
13. Noroton Yacht Club, Boat 7, USA, 146pts
14. Nyländska Jaktklubben, Boat 12, FIN, 147pts
15. Yacht Club Argentino, Boat 9, ARG, 150pts
16. Yacht Club Italiano, Boat 18, ITA, 160pts
17. Itchenor Sailing Club, Boat 11, GBR, 171pts
18. Howth Yacht Club, Boat 4, IRL, 175pts
19. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Boat 20, BER, 209pts
For more on the NYYC, visit nyyc.org