Sunday, April 12, 2015

Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs Baldwin Cup 2015

Day 1:
I don’t think I will ever understand Team Racing, but I know an event that is good for sailing when I see one. This week marks the eighth annual Baldwin Cup Team Race put on by the Newport Harbor Yacht club and sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.
This event attracts most all of the top sailors from the United States to compete in this 4 V 4 team race format. As a Harbor 20 owner and fleet one member it feels good to watch this level of competition experiencing our boats. I had to smile when Harrison Turner of the St. Francis Yacht Club said “ I do love the Harbor 20’s, its such civilized racing. You hardly get wet and are able to sail in T shirt and shorts. I love Newport and I love the harbor 20.”

Another thing that grabs your attention is how hard fleet 1 members work at this event. Twenty six boat owners have allowed NHYC to us their boats along with twenty one members volunteer as pit crew. The pit crew has been at the club to close to a week now commissioning the boats, making repairs during the race and will still be around after the event is completed to de-commission the boats. I am noticing Peter Haynes, Mark Conzelman, Gregg Kelly, Jim Kerrigan, John Whitney, Terry Gloege, Rolly Pulaski and the rest of the crew busting their buts and taking pride in their work.
I am headed back down to NHYC now and see if I can’t pick up a few more tips on how to make my boat go faster.
Sea ya there!

Day 2

Standing room only on the dock and in the Pirates Den at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club yesterday for the eighth annual Baldwin Cup. The race was run in a light southerly breeze that lasted most of the day and kept the race course close to the main dock.
One of my favorite features, this event brings to the docks, is a type of class reunion feeling that allows one to sit at the yacht club and watch some close course sailing. Referred to as stadium sailing this is about as close as you can get to the action. While watching and learning you, as a spectator, one also gets the chance to listen to the competitors while they come off the boats after each race.

Yesterday I witnessed the different sailors talking to the umpires, after the race, about the foul that had been called on them. I find it interesting to listen in and learn which arguments and presentations have the most positive effects. I overheard how the wind was shifting off of Lido Isle and Bay Island and because this event is team racing I noticed some boat handling manurers that I did not know was possible in a Harbor 20.
I was also able to pick up on what was some of the favorite bars that our out of town guests went to and why they enjoyed them. But the thing that brings the biggest smile to my face is how so many people can come to one place and enjoy our harbor and our sport of sailing together. I really enjoyed how the different generations would commingle to discuss the days events after a couple of twenty-five cent beverages.
I am on my way down to the docks for day three and the finals.


NHYC Thunder 2015 Baldwin Cup Champions

"You're never as good a sailor as the day you graduate from college." Gary Jobson. The 2015 Newport Harbor Yacht Clubs Baldwin Cup, our what I like to call it the battle of the past Inter-Collegiate All-Americans sailors is completed. 

Twelve teams where invited from across the United States, for more information on the teams and the events history go to There was know surprises in the weather this year with sunny sky’s and the typical Newport Beach breeze of 6-9 knots. On the race course there was really no surprises either with NHYC team Thunder made up of Justin Law & Jeff Gordon, Michael Menninger& Bill Menninger, Jon Pinckney & Gale Pinckney, Brian Bissell & Perry Emsiek. If I am not mistaken all of Thunders skippers where two-time or more All-Americans. 
Team Thunder breezed through the first two rounds of qualifications with only two losses out of sixteen races. The quarter finales came down to NHYC Lighting, Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, Southern Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club. The semifinals teams consisted of Yale, Thunder, Parchment and Southern. All the races where extremely close throughout the quarter finales and semifinals.
During this time, as an observer, you are always wondering who is moving on and which team has come to their end. Because there is a rule that keeps the participants from drinking any alcoholic beverages, .25 cent beers, while competing I quickly noticed that teams with large trays of .25 cent beers had been eliminated from racing. At first you could read the agony of defeat on their faces but by the time the third tray had arrived life was good again.
The finals came down to NHYC Thunder and Larchmont. Thunder are the defending champions and Larchmont had won the event on 2013, they did not attend in 2014. The final rounds where the best of three and Thunder lost the first race. The dock got quite while the teams exchanged boats on the main dock. The words “The Curse” was whispered across the dock because NHYC had lost in the finals at least three of the eight years of the race. 

Thunders skippers and crews had blank stares on their faces and made no eye contact with their supporters on the dock or on the main deck. Just then Thunders team captain Justin Law lights up a huge smile and gives a fan two thumbs up from the helm of his boat. Chris Raab from NHYC team Lighting comes down to the main dock and calls out Gale Pinckney’s name and proceeds to do a type of Haka-war dance to lift the curse.--------->

Race two starts and Thunder appears to be struggling as they round the leeward mark and heading for the finish. This is when the team race dance, which can resemble a country western    dance, starts and you never who is on top until its over. Even then the spectators on the main dock did not know who had won race two until we noticed the competitors heading back out to the starting line for race three and finally the race committee signals Thunders win. By the look of the Larchmont sailors faces the mojo had shifted and the outcome looked bleak. Raab’s Haka dance was working and by ten boat lengths off the starting line, of race three, this race was over. With Thunder rounding each mark of the course with a 1,2,3 game set match.

As a Harbor 20 owner or as a prospective owner you might ask yourself why does this matter to us? This event brings youth to our boats, it brings world wide awareness to the H20’s and it brings All- Americans out to our race course during our summer night series. If this all reads good to you and would like to start a similar event in your area, make sure you mark your calendars for next year, our contact any of the H20 class officers for information

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