MAJESTIC J CLASS YACHTS HEADLINE 2017 NEW YORK YACHT CLUB SAILING SEASON
NEWPORT, R.I. — With a sparkling mix of tradition, technology, camaraderie and cutthroat competition, the 2017 racing season at the New York Yacht Club will be one of the most exciting, and diverse, in the Club’s rich 173-year-history.
The coming summer’s regatta schedule will feature the magnificent J Class yachts—which will be returning to the site of their 1930s America’s Cup glory to contest the class’s first world championship—and the unmatched tradition of the 163rd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, which will renew its claim on June 9 to 11 as the oldest annual sailing competition in North America and the unofficial start to the Newport sailing season.
The fifth Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup—the world's premiere Corinthian one-design keelboat regatta—and the Melges 20 World Championship (October 3 to 7) will see top amateur and professional sailors fighting tooth-and-nail for every inch. And that’s just the high-profile items. Between invitational team races, fleet-racing regattas and member-only competitions, the summer schedule at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court is packed full from May through the middle of September.
“I know winter has a firm grip on many parts of the United States right now,” says Philip A. Lotz, the 65th Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, “but the flag officers, members and staff of the New York Yacht Club are well into our planning for an historic summer of sailing at our on-the-water clubhouse in Newport, R.I. It’s hard to single out one event from such a busy schedule, but we’re particularly proud that the J Class Association chose Newport and the New York Yacht Club for its first world championship, scheduled for August 21 to 26. Seeing these yachts thunder en masse through Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The J Class rule was used for the America’s Cup match in 1930, 1934 and 1937. Most of the original J Class yachts, which range from 120 to 140 feet in length, were scrapped not long after they were built. But three survive, and the class has seen a remarkable resurgence of new boats, all built to original designs, over the past decade. As a result the competition among fleet is quite close. Currently there are nine J Class yachts sailing, with the majority expected in Newport for the world championship.
“The J Class 2017 season is extremely busy with several significant firsts,” says Louise Morton, J Class Association Secretary. “These include our inaugural World Championship in Newport, hosted by the New York Yacht Club and contested on the same waters where these magnificent yachts battled for the America’s Cup. Unlike the match racing duels of 80 years ago, seven J class yachts are expected to compete off Newport, making a magnificent starting-line spectacle for spectators on the water and TracTrac followers around the world.”
Another spectator-friendly event on the calendar is the fifth biennial Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup (September 9 to 16), which has become one of the premiere Corinthian sailing competitions. Clubs from all six inhabited continents and more than two-dozen countries have competed in the event. The reigning champion, London’s Royal Thames Yacht Club, will return to defend the trophy it won in 2015.
“With each running of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the field becomes more competitive and the trophy harder to win,” says event chair Patricia Young. “Teams will put in a year or more selecting the crew and training for the event. In 2015, the podium places were decided on the last leg of the 12th and final race.”
The New York Yacht Club will unveil one new event, the One-Design Regatta, which will take place June 2 to 4 and overlap with the Leukemia Cup. The Etchells class will be hosting its national championship during this debut event.
Other regattas of note include Tiedemann Classic Regatta (July 1 and 2), the IRC East Coast Championships and Swan 42 Nationals (July 12 to 15), the Queen’s Cup (July 16) and the Club’s trio of team race events in August.
2017 NYYC REGATTA ASSOCIATION CALENDAR
June 2-6 Annapolis to Newport Race
June 2-4 NYYC One Design Regatta (Etchells Nationals)
June 4 Leukemia Cup (racing on Sunday, June 4)
June 9-11 163rd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
July 1-2 Tiedemann Classic Regatta
July 12-15 Swan 42 Nationals / IRC East Coast Championship
July 16 Queen’s Cup
August 4-6 Morgan Cup Team Race
August 18-20 Hinman Masters Team Race
August 25-27 NYYC Grandmasters Team Race
August 21-26 J Class World Championship
September 9-16 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup
October 3-7 Melges 20 World Championship
November 9 Annual Awards Dinner in New York City
Photo credits: Jesus Renedo, Rolex/Daniel Forster