National Yacht Club is a match racing center. It is the home of the NYC Match Racing Club and several teams. Three teams (and counting) from NYC will be traveling to match racing events this season. Team NYC has been competing since 2010, and is currently the 2nd ranked match racing team in Canada, 8th in North America and 64th in the ISAF world rankings. The team has been training at NYC in the Match Racing Club boats since April 14th.
In May, we traveled to Oakcliff Sailing Center for the Spring Clinigatta where a two-day clinic was taught by Dave Perry who is a renowned match racer, sailing author, rules expert, advisor to Team Artemis, and coach of the women’s US Olympic Match Racing team. This on-the-water clinic focused on boat handling, including various maneuvers that are unique to match racing. Not an easy task in a Swedish Match 40 with only five sailors! Off the water, the focus was on match racing tactics – quite different from fleet racing – and Dave’s match racing “playbook”.
The regatta kicked off with a round robin for the eight teams. It was tough racing, quite close to shore with huge shifts from an offshore breeze and tidal currents. Team NYC sailed against teams from the US, the UK and Canada and finished with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses – losing only to the two local teams – Team Q (skippered by Mike Quaglio) and Riptide Racing (skippered by Chris Poole). Team NYC was thrilled with big wins over the two top-ranked teams: Peter Wickwire (from RCYC/RHYC, Canada) and Team Echo (skippered by Mark Lees, from GBR). On the final downwind against Wickwire, Team NYC was behind and carrying a penalty. While they were dealing with a spinnaker problem, we overtook them close to leeward. Rule 17 limited us from luffing them, so we gybed our boom twice which turned off this rule. Then we luffed them hard three times (in medium breeze) and called for a penalty each time. The umpires called a penalty on them on the third luff, which offset our penalty. With our spinnaker stronger and in clear air in front of them, we headed for the finish line and the win.
On the final downwind against Team Echo, Team NYC was slightly behind with no penalty. We judged that they’d sailed just a bit further than ideal (the so-called “soak line”) before they gybed. So we gybed at the same time as them and they luffed hard. We kept our kite full while beam reaching in the medium breeze, kept clear (as required) and rolled them as we headed for the finish line. The team was thrilled with such a strong first day – the first time that team had ever competed together. We were on to the semi-finals on Sunday.
The semi-finals were best-of-three series, and we drew Riptide Racing. We lost the start in the first race, and never caught up. In the second race, we capitalized on a mistake by Riptide and put a penalty on them in the pre-start. It was a close start, and we stayed close and intentionally just behind them the whole race. They were unable to do their turn at the finish line and finish ahead of us, so we won match 2. The final semi-final match was a thing of beauty and horror! We pushed Riptide over the start line early and built a commanding lead while they restarted. As we approached the three weather marks, we realized that in the excitement nobody picked up on the flag that indicates which weather mark we were to round. We guessed – and guessed wrong and lost our semi-final on an unforced error!
It was an unfortunate error that cost us a shot at winning the regatta and at worst coming in 2nd. Instead we battled Team Echo for 3rd in the petit final and lost. The second race shaped up exactly like our round robin race against them. Unfortunately this time we didn’t quite roll them and took a penalty without enough room to offset or exonerate it. Team NYC had a strong showing against a strong fleet – 6 of the 8 teams are in the top 100 in the world! We finished 4th which will help us move up the ISAF world rankings and we know we could have done better.
We’re looking forward to our next Clinigatta at Oakcliff, in early June. This clinic will be coached by Will Tiller and Harry Thurston, of Team Full Metal Jacket (7th in ISAF world rankings, and training for the RedBull Youth America’s Cup). We will compete in the Stolze Cup regatta in Rochester the following weekend.
Thank you to NYC and the NYC Match Racing Club sailors and volunteers for all of your support!!
Stay tuned for regatta reports! Follow us at www.facebook.com/TeamNYCMatchRacing.
See more information on the NYC Match Racing Club online, including how to join. Also check out our Facebook group. Or come down to the blue crane any Monday night at 6pm.
Match Racing Club Chair & Team National YC Tactician
Photos from: http://www.facebook.com/degrees42