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Thursday, May 25, 2017 



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2016 Lee Trophy & British-American Cup

The past two weekends saw a great deal of intense team racing activity at Seawanhaka, first with the Lee Trophy and then with the British-American Cup. The Club hosted over 150 sailors for a total of six days of high-level team racing competition.

There was a record number of nine top level teams sailing in the 12th Annual Lee Trophy. The competition has become so competitive that two teams withdrew prior to the event because they did not feel that they had put together strong enough teams. As is typical for fall sailing, the weather offered huge variations, including warm temperatures and light wind, followed by Sunday's very cold, windy and wet conditions. Monday again offered very windy conditions, prompting the RC to postpone on land for a few hours as a cold front pushed away the remnants of Hurricane Matthew. As the time limit for starting a race grew closer, PRO Al Constants and the nine team captains agreed that only the top four teams would continue racing, at which time the RC set up a course in the Cove and conducted the final six races. The Royal Thames improved their position and finished second to the Seawanhaka team, who once again won the event. These results were a prelude to the excellent competition that was to follow as the BA Cup began two days later.

The British-American Cup began in 1921 and is credited with being the first team racing event in history. This year's match was the final match of the Fifth Series. The first team to win seven races would win the match. The American team was ahead in the series after winning two of the first three matches. After three intense days of racing, the American team reached seven wins midday on Saturday and won the Fourth match and the Fifth Series. The final results were 7-3.

This year's events are noteworthy in that the British team sailed with three females, including this year's Rio Gold Medalists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clarke, which reflects that not only the BA Cup, but the Lee Trophy as well, is sailed by the highest level of sailors. (It should also be noted that Olympians Erik Storck (2012) and Annie Haeger (2016) participated in the Lee Trophy, both sailing for New York Yacht Club).

The American BA team included:
Team Captain- Joel Hanneman
Ike Babbit, JP Blaise, Dave Constants, Ryan Costello, Robbie Deane, Nick Ewenson, Jon Hammond, Andy Herlihy, Liz Herlihy, Commodore Hugh Jones, Kyle Shattuck, Avi Lessman, Greg Stevens, John Storck, Ian Storck, and Karl Ziegler.

After conducting negations all week with the Royal Thames's BA officials, PRO Al Constants challenged the Royal Thames to begin the Sixth Series, which will begin next October 2017 in Oyster Bay. In 2019, the bi-annual competition will take place in Britain before returning to Oyster Bay in 2021, marking the 100th Anniversary of this event and Seawanhaka's 150th Anniversary.

-Written by Priscilla Constants

2016 Commodores' International Cup (7/13-7/15/16)
Tuesday saw beautiful conditions with a 10-14 knot southerly breeze to welcome the Scottish team from the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club. The Race Committee, led by PRO Andrew Kennedy got off 5 races. The sailing was exceedingly close and spirited with many lead changes in all races. Seawanhaka managed a 4-1 result on the day. The series runs through Friday with racing every afternoon - A spectator boat has been provided by Joe Barry and it leaves the dock at 1:00 pm each day.           

Thursday brought more southerly breeze which allowed for the completion of three races before the fleet was forced to beat a hasty retreat from a thunderstorm cell. The Americans got off to a strong start with two wins, only to have the Scots roar back in the third race with a well-sailed victory. The score now stands Seawanhaka 9 points and RNCYC 4.5 points, but today, being the final day of racing, will see the stakes increase to two points per race!

Friday's Commodores' International Cup races were cancelled by the Race Committee at 4pm due to lack of wind. Up until then, the teams had enjoyed three straight days of near perfect sailing conditions. With the score remaining Seawanhaka 9 points and the Royal Northern 4.5 points, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club was declared the winner. A festive victory dinner was held at the clubhouse and Seawanhaka has accepted a challenge for the next CIC from the Royal Northern to be held in Rhu, Scotland.

2016 Newport-Bermuda Race (6/17/16)

Approximately 190 ocean racing yachts of all descriptions will start the 50th biennial Newport-Bermuda Race at about 1450 today. In its 110 year history, the 635 mile Bermuda Race has become known as a preeminent ocean race with plenty of challenges for amateur and professional sailors alike. Over the years, countless numbers of Seawanhaka yachts and members have completed the test and successfully finished this race. This year, Seawanhaka will be well represented in the Bermuda bound fleet by Heidi & Steve Benjamin's experienced crew on the TP52, Spookie in the Gibbs Hill (open) division and Morgan McCauley's first-time crew on the Swan 44, Helios in the Cruiser division. The crew on Helios also includes Seawanhaka members Eduardo Canet, James Gardiner, Matthew Restraino and experienced Navigator, Ian Gumprecht. Click here to view more information on the race and an opportunity to watch the action at home via the Race Tracker function. 
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