“We couldn’t have had a better day,” said Tom Coates about today’s racing on Rhode Island Sound during New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. As he did at this event in 2004, Coates with his Masquerade took an early lead in the competitive J/105 class; he won all three of today’s races. Known around New England as an accomplished sailor, he also is known on his home waters of San Francisco Bay for his success in the same class. His secret weapon, however, appears to be tactician Chris Perkins noted by many as the hottest J/105 sailor on the planet for his multiple class titles including one at Rolex Big Boat Series that led to being named St Francis Yacht Club’s Yachtsman of the Year.
“Chris called the course so well, even when we were behind and needed to improve,” said Coates, who with the same crew won this year’s Key West Race Week. “We started where we wanted to start, which is always beneficial. The crew work was flawless, the boat is tuned perfectly. It was a great day.”
Kincsem, owned by Joerg Esdorn (Rye, N.Y.), sits close behind in second place with seven points, while Damien Emery’s Eclipse (Rye, N.Y.) is tied for third with Philip Lotz’s Indefatigable (New Canaan, Conn.) with 10 points.
Another member of the Straight Bullets Club is Roger Wagner (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), who won all four races in the Farr 395 class with his Endurance. Although the class has only five entries, racing is close. “The way things look right now, we’re not comfortable relaxing,” said Wagner. “Tsunami is a major threat; they are tough and very successful when they race. We don’t have it in the bag by any stretch of the imagination!” The next two days could be very interesting on the Farr 395 course as both boats battle it out. The 2005 Farr 395 North American champion, Tsunami is owned by three friends from Maryland: Preben Ostberg, Bud Daily and John Aras, while Endurance features an all-star crew with 2003 Yngling World Champion Joan Touchette and three-time Olympian Bermudian Peter Bromby. “Our group works well together. We always love to come up here and sail.”
On the J/109 course, the 19-boat fleet is currently led by Ted Herlihy’s Gut Feeling (S. Dartmouth, Mass.). Herlihy credited his son Andy’s tactical decisions for the team’s successful starts. “The starting line was skewed about 25% toward the pin end, so it was important to get a good start to get a lead,” said the elder Herlihy. “We’ll have to continue to be consistent – that’s the name of the game in this fleet – tomorrow. The entire fleet is close, it’s close racing with all boats finishing within one minute of each other.”
In the Beneteau First 36.7 class, the new leader of the 17-boat fleet is Tom D’Albora’s Coconut (Warwick, R.I.), which won all of its races today as well. A mere four points behind is John Finkle’s Seaweed (Youngstown, N.Y.) in second, with Elan, owned by John Hammel (Arlington, Mass.) in third.
Yesterday’s leader of the 25-boat Farr 40 class, Nerone, struggled in the light, shifty conditions and posted scores of 17-9-10 to fall into fourth place overall. The new leader is Temptress, owned by Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.), with two foreign entries in second and third: Takashi Okura’s Sled (Tokyo, Japan) and Eivind Ostrup’s Norwegian Steam (Oslo), respectively.
At press time, several protests were pending in the Beneteau 36.7, Farr 40 and Farr 395 classes and all scores are provisional. Full results of each class along with photos can be found online at www.nyyc.org
Race Week’s unique format allows sailors to compete in both handicap and one-design racing at a single event. In some cases, the sailors compete on two different boats, but in others, the same boat competes with the same crew in both sessions. For the second half of Race Week, North American Championships for the Beneteau First 36.7, Farr 395, J/109 and Farr 40 classes will be determined. The Melges 32s will determine their National Championships.
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