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Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex: Day 1

by New York Yacht Club 19 Jul 07:22 BST 17-21 July 2018
Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex - Day 1 © Daniel Forster / Rolex

"It was a fantastic day," said Ray Pepi (New York, N.Y.), of Day 1 of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. "One of the most enjoyable days of the season. The wind behaved itself and piped up when some of the forecasts were dire, and the race committee did a fantastic job as usual of plotting out the coure and getting us racing on time. We had three terrific races." High praise for the any day of racing. All the more impressive considering this review was offered before the skipper of Cleo found out that his team had built a 2-point lead over second place in the eight-boat J/109 class.

The New York Yacht Club's Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex was first run in 1998, and takes place July 17 to 21 out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport. R.I. The biennial summer classic has established itself as one of the premier summer race weeks in the Northeast thanks to its attractive combination of great racing conditions off Newport and the superlative shoreside hospitality at the Club's waterfront Clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor. Partners for the 2018 edition of Race Week at Newport include presenting sponsor Rolex, regatta sponsor BMW and regatta supporter Helly Hansen.

Pepi and his team on Cleo closed out the day by winning a hard-fought third race—anyone in the fleet could've won it, he said—and started the day with a second. But it was the fourth, in the day's second race, in which Pepi found the most satisfaction.

"The competition is tight, one-design racing is like that," he said. "If you have a bad start, it's very difficult to recover. We were over early in the second race and we still managed to climb back toward the middle of the fleet and that was the key for us, fighting our way back into the middle. That was the high point of the day."

But any elation Pepi found in his fast start to the regatta was tempered by the realization that three more days of tough racing stand between the team on Cleo and the opportunity to walk on stage on Saturday night and collect one of three Rolex timepieces being awarded to select class winners at Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex.

"It's very early in the week, and we have a long way until the real finish," said Pepi. "We're not getting ahead of ourselves."

New York Yacht Club Rear Commodore Chris Culver (Newport, R.I.), the skipper of the Swan 42 Blazer, was similarly cautious with his optimism after a pair of seconds placed his crew in the lead of the six-boat IRC 3 division.

"It's the first day of the regatta, so we just talked a lot about trying to get dialed into consistency, that's what we focus on for a long regatta like this," said Culver. "We put ourselves in a hole in the first race at the start and really clawed back. The team did terrific job working the shifts and staying focused. Coming from last to get second in that first race; we felt that was a big win."

Staying in tune with the the breeze was crucial for Culver and his team who sailed on Rhode Island Sound. The velocity varied quite a bit throughout the day, while gradually dying and becoming less stable in the afternoon.

Culver's team may be in the lead, but each of the six boats in IRC 3 has proven in previous regattas that it can win a big event. Two boats are tied for second, a point behind Blazer, with another pair of boats three points further back.

"We absolutely have to focus on our own boat," he said. "It's a smaller fleet, but it's really competitive. We have three Swan 42s, and they all go the same speed, Entropy and Cool Breeze, which are very well sailed, and Ticket to Ride, the Swan 45, which is a great boat. As we get more and more dialed in, we'll take a look at some fo the other boats and how we want to position against them."

Dual Scoring Offers Potential Preview of 2020 World Championship

The use of two distinct scoring formulas—and an average of the results—to score a fleet isn't new to the sport of sailing. But the idea of using this system to determine a major championship is. This week, in The Hague, Netherlands, the Offshore Sailing World Championship is being held, with IRC and ORC, the two leading handicap systems for larger yachts, being used in tandem to decide the winners.

For Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, the New York Yacht Club is scoring all IRC competitors in two ways. One set of results are based on each boat's IRC rating while a second set mirrors the arrangement in use at the world championships: each race is scored using both IRC and ORC, and a boat's score for an individual race is the average of its finishes under the two systems.

"This system is what World Sailing has agreed upon for the offshore world championship," says NYYC Commodore Phil Lotz (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Newport, R.I.). "The New York Yacht Club is bidding on the worlds in 2020, and optimistic we're going to get it. We want to do a trial run this year to give American sailors a chance to experience first-hand this scoring method."

2018 Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex - Day 1 Results

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IRC 1 (IRC - 4 Boats)

1. SPOOKIE, TP52 52, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, South Norwalk, CT, USA - 1 -1; 2
2. FOX, TP52 52, Victor Wild, San Diego, CA, USA - 2 -2; 4
3. Gladiator, TP52 52, Tony Langley, Retford, Nottinghamshire, GBR - 3 -3; 6

IRC 2 (IRC - 5 Boats)

1. Interlodge IV, Botin 44 44, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, RI - 2 -1; 3
2. Temptation/Oakcliff, Custon Ker 50 50, Arthur Santry, Newport, RI, USA - 1 -2; 3
3. White Rhino 2, Carkeek 47 47, Todd Stuart, Key West, FL, USA - 5 -3; 8

IRC 3 (IRC - 6 Boats)

1. Blazer, Swan 42 42.5, Christopher Culver, Newport, RI, United States - 2 -2; 4
2. Ticket to Ride, Swan 45 13.83m, Edward Whitmore, Norfolk, VA, USA - 4 -1; 5
3. Quintessence, Swan 42 42.5, Roger Widmann, Larchmont, NY, USA - 1 -4; 5

IRC 4 (IRC - 5 Boats)

1. Pendragon, X-41 41, Quentin Thomas, Portsmouth, RI, USA - 1 -1; 2
2. Avalanche, Farr 395 39.5, Craig Albrecht, Glen Cove, NY, USA - 2 -2; 4
3. Maxine, J 44 44.9, William Ketcham, Greenwich, CT, USA - 3 -3; 6

IRC/ORC Combination 1 (One Design - 4 Boats)

1. FOX., TP52 52, Victor Wild, San Diego, CA, USA - 1.5 -1.5; 3
2. SPOOKIE., TP52 52, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, South Norwalk, CT, USA - 1.5 -1.5; 3
3. Gladiator., TP52 52, Tony Langley, Retford, Nottinghamshire, GBR - 3 -3; 6

IRC/ORC Combination 2 (One Design - 5 Boats)

1. Interlodge IV., Botin 44 44, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, RI - 2 -1; 3
2. Temptation/Oakcliff., Custon Ker 50 50, Arthur Santry, Newport, RI, USA - 1 -2; 3
3. White Rhino 2., Carkeek 47 47, Todd Stuart, Key West, FL, USA - 5 -3; 8

IRC/ORC Combination 3 (One Design - 6 Boats)

1. Blazer., Swan 42 42.5, Christopher Culver, Newport, RI, United States - 2 -1.5; 3.5
2. Quintessence., Swan 42 42.5, Roger Widmann, Larchmont, NY, USA - 1 -3.5; 4.5
3. Ticket to Ride., Swan 45 13.83m, Edward Whitmore, Norfolk, VA, USA - 4 -1.5; 5.5

IRC/ORC Combination 4 (One Design - 5 Boats)

1. Pendragon., X-41 41, Quentin Thomas, Portsmouth, RI, USA - 1 -1; 2
2. Avalanche., Farr 395 39.5, Craig Albrecht, Glen Cove, NY, USA - 2 -2; 4
3. Maxine., J 44 44.9, William Ketcham, Greenwich, CT, USA - 3.5 -3.5; 7

J 109 (One Design - 8 Boats)

1. Cleo, J 109 35, Ray Pepi, New York, NY, USA - 2 -4 -1; 7
2. Hamburg, J 109 35, Albrecht Goethe, Seabrook, TX, USA - 3 -2 -4; 9
3. Rush, J 109 35, Bill Sweetser, Annapolis, MD, USA - 1 -6 -3; 10

PHRF Navigator (PHRF - 8 Boats)

1. Flying Jenny, C&C 30 One Design 30, Sandra Askew, Salt Lake City, UT, USA - 1 -1; 2
2. The Cat Came Back, Swan 42 42, Lincoln Mossop, Providence, RI, USA - 2 -2; 4
3. Incognito, J 121 40, Chris Brito, Bristol, RI, USA - 3 -3; 6

Offshore Multhull Class (4 boats)

1. Flow, Gunboat 60, Steve Cucchiaro,, Boston, MA, USA - 2 -2; 4
2. Fault Tolerant, Gunboat 60, Robert and Libby Alexander, Rye, NY, USA - 4 -1; 5
3. Nala, HH 66, Jim Vos, Sag Harbor, NY, USA - 1 -4; 5

Preliminary cumulative results

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