After putting to bed a lively weekend of racing for classic yachts, the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex continues tomorrow (Wednesday, July 18) with an Around the (Conanicut) Island Race, followed by buoy racing on Thursday through Sunday (July 19-22) for IRC, Swan 42, J/109, Melges 32, Beneteau 36.7, J/105, J/111 and PHRF classes. Though the Around the Island Race is optional and separately scored, it has been targeted by 33 boats as a “shakedown” for the rest of the week when no less than 98 boats will be on the race courses planned for either Narragansett Bay or Rhode Island Sound, depending on the wind.
Kevin Dailey (Greenwich, Conn.) will enjoy the best of both sessions by trimming main on Gustav Carlson’s (Bedford, N.Y.) Reichel Pugh 66 Aurora for the Around the Island Race and then switching to do the same job on John Bailey’s (Darien, Conn.) Farr 395 Talisman. Aurora, he says, is signed up only for the Around the Island Race and will match up against Bob and Farley Towse’s (Stamford, Conn.) Reichel Pugh 66 Blue Yankee, which is signed up for the buoy racing as well.
“Aurora is the old Blue Yankee, so it will be fun to duke it out with the new Blue Yankee,” he said. “Of course, it might be a bit like bringing a knife to a gun fight, since Aurora is older and has a way less favorable IRC rating. But that said, in a distance race, even a short one like this (19 miles), there are so many points of sai-- as opposed to what there is in buoy racing--that there’s a much better chance for us to do well.” As for Talisman, the boat was new to owner Bailey last year and he is “having a ball with it,” according to Dailey. “We’re still ramping up the program, and everyone is very excited to see how we do against the other IRC boats.”
Included in the IRC division for both events will be Stephen Murray’s (New Orleans, La.) Carkeek 40 Decision, which recently won the Onion Patch Series and was first in class and fifth overall in IRC for the Newport to Bermuda Race. “We love sailing in Newport,” said Murray, who will share the helm with his father, also Stephen. “It’s kind of our summer home, which we first were forced to come to after Hurricane Katrina hit. We came to take delivery on a new boat here and fell in love with it; this is our sixth summer, and we’ve done the Around the Island Race a total of about ten times.”
Christian Zibailo and Steve Spangler brought their co-owned Superstition from its homeport in Boston to compete in the J/109 North American Championship, to be held concurrently with the final session of Race Week. “We did this race week in 2004 when we first bought the boat and were so far in over our heads it wasn’t even funny,” said Zibailo, who also competed in the 2006 and 2008 editions of the biennial event and aspires to finish in the “single digits” among his 18-deep fleet. “We do really well sailing PHRF with our boat in the Boston area, but when we come here, the level of sailing is phenomenal. We learn so much.”
Zibailo says he has never taken the trip around the island but one of his crew members, Jerome Taylor, has probably done it 30 or more times, since he is local. “Our goals are to not hit anything,” he laughed, “to see how we do compared with the IRC boats, and to get race-ready for Thursday.”
Race Week’s “second half” also features a National Championship for the Swan 42 class and a Northeast Championship for Beneteau First 36.7s. Sailors with PHRF-rated boats will sail Navigator Races on Saturday and Sunday only, using government marks and courses that emphasize navigational skills over around-the-buoys boat handling skills.
For complete results, daily video and blog for the 2012 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, visit www.nyyc.org
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