Published on Tuesday, 5th December 2017 - 2:27PM12/05/2017
The 20th anniversary of the Rolex race week headlines the 2018 sailing season on Narragansett Bay for the historic New York Yacht Club.
The mid-summer celebration will attract top keelboats and booming multihulls from all over New England for five days of racing. The regatta, which culminates with a banquet at Harbour Court, is highlighted by the Rolex timepieces that are awarded to the worthiest class winners.
The remainder of the schedule represents a strong focus on the club’s core races, including the 164th annual regatta, the oldest continuous sailboat race in North America. Sailors also will compete for the Queen’s Cup and the Resolute Cup, which has become the de facto Corinthian keelboat championship in America.
Paul Zabetakis, a Jamestowner and chairman of the club’s sailing committee, said the diverse schedule appeals to virtually every sailor, from the “hand-to-hand combat of keelboat team racing” to the “purity of one-design sailing” to the “complex challenge of the handicap rule.”
The season begins with the Leukemia Cup in June and concludes in September by showcasing the club’s new IC37 yacht.
“We’re especially eager for the Newport debut,” Zabetakis said.
After a decade of competition with the Swan 42, Zabetakis’ boat of choice, the yacht club is trading that class for the Mark Mills design. While the fleet of 20 boats is not expected to be complete until spring 2019, the club said a handful of them will race between Jamestown and Newport less than a year from now. Zabetakis said it will provide “aficionados around the world with a preview of what we think will be the next great one-design keelboat.”
Unlike the Swan 42, which was built to cruise around buoys and offshore, the IC37 is built for competition. The flush deck, square-top main, open cockpit and wide beam carried all the way to the transom are hallmarks of a thoroughbred boat, designed to be pushed hard on all points of sail. It will measure 37 feet with a 6-foot retractable sprit. The beam is just shy of 12 feet and the displacement is scheduled to be approximately 8,000 pounds with 50 percent of that in a Tbulb that will draw just more than 8 feet. A two-spreader carbon rig will support 900 square feet of upwind sail area and 2,000 square feet of downwind sail area. The projected ratings for IRC, ORC and ORR are 1.180, 542.7 and 545.3, respectively.
“We anticipate the switch to the IC37 will increase both the interest in competing and the effort each invited club puts toward winning Corinthian sailing’s top prize,” said Jamestowner Phil Lotz, the club’s commodore.