Trio of Team Races bring best and brightest to Newport every August

Trio of Team Races bring best and brightest to Newport every August

Trio of Team Races bring best and brightest to Newport every August


11/08/2022 - 19:55

There's an element of equity in annually changing the location of a sport's premiere event. Would the Super Bowl be as popular if it were held in the same stadium each year? But there's also something to be said for the tradition and familiarity of a consistent venue. Would Wimbledon lose some of its charm if it were played somewhere other than the hallowed confines of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club?

For the moment, team racing, which features two teams of two to four boats each battling over a short racecourse, favors the latter solution. The most respected events are held annually in the same location: the Wilson Trophy on England's West Kirby Marine Lake, the Baldwin Cup in California's Newport Harbor and the trio of team races hosted out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., each August: the Morgan Cup (August 12 to 14), the Hinman Trophy (August 19 to 21) and the Grandmasters Team Race (August 26 to 28). While this arrangement provides the respective host clubs with a home-court advantage in each event, for the moment competitor satisfaction far outweighs any worry regarding a slight tilt to the playing field.

Trio of Team Races bring best and brightest to Newport every August

"I have indelible memories of winning the 2005 Team Racing Worlds hosted by the New York Yacht Club," says Ery Largay of Corinthian Yacht Club, in Marblehead, Mass. "The New York Yacht Club boats are set up and maintained perfectly thanks to the bosun, Shaun Kilbride, and Racing Coordinator Beth Duggan is wonderful to work with. The wind and weather of Newport can't be beat. It's a special place because it keeps team racing going for us all at very high levels across multiple generations."

The New York Yacht Club helped usher in a new era of adult team racing with the creation of the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy in 2000. That race, which requires skippers to be at least 45 years of age and crew to be over 40, was soon followed by the New York Yacht Club Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Morgan Cup, an all-ages event, in 2003 and, in 2010, the New York Yacht Club Grandmasters Team Race Regatta, which mandates skippers be at least 60 years of age and crew at least 50. The three team races are traditionally held over consecutive weekends in August at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, using the Club's fleet of 22 Sonar keelboats, and annually attract some of the best adult team racers in the United States and Europe. New York Yacht Club Regatta Association sponsors for 2022 are Helly Hansen, Hammetts Hotel and Safe Harbor Marinas.

"Adult team racing has experienced tremendous growth over the past quarter century," says Susan Daly, the co-chair of New York Yacht Club's Team Racing Subcommittee. "Each year new events are added to the global team racing calendar and existing events are improved. Of course, we feel that Harbour Court and Narragansett Bay are the best venues for team racing, but we nonetheless strive each year to deliver better competition and more onshore fun. It's very gratifying when we have the same clubs, and many of the same individual sailors, asking to return each August to sail in one more more of these three events."

No one better personifies this affection for team racing at Harbour Court than Largay (far left). She participated in the Women's 2v2 event in early June and the Global Team Race Regatta in July. She will crew for her husband Tim Wadlow, a two-time Olympic sailor in the 49er class, in the Morgan Cup and will skipper a boat in the Hinman Masters.

"Ninety percent of my competitive sailing these days is team racing," she says. "Team racing requires boat speed, boat handling, solid tactics and strategy, and the ability to be a good teammate. Our CYC team consists of elite and driven team-racing specialists who thrive in their keelboat positions. We also have lot of fun together on and off the water. This trust and understanding pays off at future events. That's why I love team racing and make it a priority in my life."

Trio of Team Races bring best and brightest to Newport every August

The Corinthian Yacht Club team is a growing force in team racing. The crew from Marblehead Neck is the defending champion and a favorite for the Morgan Cup and will be a team to watch in the Hinman Trophy, which Corinthian Yacht Club is entering for the first time in 2022. Largay, Wadlow and former Sonar world champion Doug Sabin form the core of the squad and will sail in both regattas, with Sabin and Largay crewing in the former and skippering in the latter. Wadlow will skipper in both regattas.

While the skippers usually get the lion's share of the credit when it comes to team racing success, Largay says that a big part of the reason Corinthian Yacht Club has been able to quickly rise to the top of the discipline is the dedicated crews on the roster.

"A top notch crew in keelboat team racing is everything," she says. "All of the small details from each position add up to overall performance. This is why we practice often and share lessons learned across our team.

"Thanks to an extremely well implemented strategic plan, Corinthian Yacht Club has a deep team. This extends beyond the skippers and includes talented and intense keelboat team-racing specialists at the bow, middle and trim positions that thrive under the constant pressure team racing maneuvers require."

Racing in the Morgan Cup starts on Friday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon between Rose Island and Goat Island on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. The other two regattas will follow a similar schedule on the following weekends.

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