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SDYC Yachting Cup 2024 kicks off - Light winds, with heavy competition

by San Diego Yacht Club 5 May 05:16 BST May 3-5, 2024
2024 Yachting Cup © Mark Albertazzi

What's Yachting Cup without on the water fierce competition, tasteful strategy, and a hint of chaos? The outside courses on the Coronado Roads gave way to quite the interesting turn of events for some. Though the course was square with light and shifty winds, there was still plenty of energy in the air to create that chaos.

On the City Front course, winds died down a bit causing a postponement to the start of the race. Some sailors at the beginning of the day noted that they were afraid of the winds being too light - looks like it started out that way!

Though there was a postponement, the race went under way with lots of smiles to be had. Winds shifted in the last race of the course which made the race committee have to move the mark to better utilize what little wind the racers did have. J22 standing is currently led by Charlie Miller while the J24's are currently led by Susan Taylor, skipper of Take Five.

Each class seemed to have fierce competitors which made for very close encounters at the marks. All sailors are in good spirits though and know that "stuff" happens and at the end of the day they are there for a good race.

On the far course, ORR- EZ 1 may have only had four boats in the class, but it was an exciting set of races none the less.

Co-skipper Chuck Skewes of Velos started off the day noting that their biggest challenge for the day was going to be the light winds due to the boat being older and heavier. Lighter winds don't bode well for their tacking, but as soon as the breeze is up, so are they. Though the breeze wasn't "up" today, Velos still managed to take lead for the class with the Adjudicator right behind them by only one point!

Crew of the Adjudicator, Ben Mitchell, mentioned not only was it a beautiful day out on the water weather wise, it was a fun competitive day for their class. It was a close race which filled them with eager anticipation for their races tomorrow. They are most excited about the weather front coming in that will bring stronger winds, perfect conditions for this class.

Another class competing well against each other were the J111s. North American Champions Skeleton Key had an aggressive (but safe) strategy against Creative nearly all three races.

Ed Sanford, skipper of Creative, was excited to get out on the water and race against the champs. It was their first time racing Yachting Cup as a One Design and he mentioned that they gave them hard but good lessons that they needed to learn to better themselves as J111 competitors.

Skeleton Key hadn't raced in San Diego before so they were excited to race the One Design event as well. They have raced all around the world, but never in San Diego! They are gearing up for their North American Championship, so Yachting Cup was the perfect way to get some practice in. Skipper Pete Wagner described their experience with the shifty winds as a learning experience and that though they "got on the wrong side of it, they gradually figured it out," which proved to be true seeing as they are in the current lead for their class.

Gradually figuring it out seemed to have been the theme today for the entire regatta. The winds were light between 9-15 knots making it a little hard for the boats to grab onto/

Current First in Class Standings:

  • Ben 36.7- Buenos Aires - Mark Williams
  • Classics- Brushfire - Peter La Dow
  • J/105 - J- Aquatic - Jim Dorsey
  • J/111 - Skeleton Key - Peter Wagner
  • J/22 - Charlie Miller
  • J/24- Take Five - Susan Taylor
  • Navigator- El Sueno - Brad Alberts
  • ORR-EZ 1- Velos - Kjeld Hestehave
  • ORR-EZ 2- Cheeky - Mark Stratton
  • PHRF B- Holy Toledo! West- Timothy Forderer
And, of course, the beginning of the Yachting Cup can not go without a special note on the tradition Ton Cup, raced Friday, May 3. The May gray cleared way for a sunny day with typical San Diego sailing conditions. Light but consistent with lots of learning curves and fun to be had.

The Ton Cup gave some sailors practice on a new format to the Ton Cup which utilized SDYC's J/22's in La Playa. Some sailors quickly learned that this boat isn't as easy to sail as it seems, especially in a basin instead of out in the San Diego Bay as it the race is typically held. Scores fluctuated for many, but one team always comes out on top, which in theory, would give them some gusto and confidence for Yachting Cup's first day of racing.

Ton Cup Top 3:

J-Aquatic - Jim Dorsey
J Almighty - Mike Hatch
Blink! - Shala Lawrence

After today's racing, skippers and their crew were invited to the Spinnaker Deck to enjoy a buffet dinner, special Mount Gay cocktails and cold beer provided by Ballast Point. Many spend this time recapping with their teams and embracing the camaraderie that is the Yachting Cup.

Tomorrow, competitors take back to their course for the 1130 warning signal, where they will race in the final day of the 2024 Yachting Cup followed by a Cinco de Mayo celebration and Awards Ceremony.

Spectators are welcomed on the Bay and Ocean courses. If you're watching from home, follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram for interviews and updates through the day.

For more information, please visit

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