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Final Day of New York Yacht Club Invitational

With a third day of competition completed, the 19 teams from 14 nations at the inaugural New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup have sorted themselves on the race course. Among those teams dominating the top five is the New York Yacht Club, which maintained its lead after another four races yesterday on Narragansett Bay where the winds, seemingly in sync with the rhythms of the regatta, moderated to 10-12 knots under brilliantly sunny skies.

We’re striving for consistency,” said NYYC skipper Phil Lotz, who scored a victory yesterday, oddly enough, for the first time in nine races sailed. “It’s tough sailing out there, lots of shifts. We’ve been back in the pack plenty, and we’ve just tried to dig out and finish in the top third – that’s been the game plan.” Lotz explained that when his team has had a less than a stellar start, other teams have been quick to jump on him, and it has been “hard to dig back.”

With two third-place finishes and a tenth to round things out yesterday, the New York Yacht Club has 39 overall points to the 52 carried by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club team, skippered by Terry McLaughlin. After that 13-point spread comes only a four-point spread between the Canadians and the Japan Sailing Federation, with Makoto Uematsu at the helm.  

When asked yesterday if the New York Yacht Club’s lead was insurmountable, McLaughlin said, “If Phil comes out top five or top seven in the race tomorrow morning to start off  with, then he’s looking pretty good.  If he keeps a lobster pot on his keel slightly longer than he did today, that may be where the rest of us will have a chance.”  

Lotz said he snagged a lobster pot three minutes before the last start and just got off the line at half speed when the gun went off.  The fleet also had to heed a tanker here and there throughout the day, but found the benefits of sailing in relatively flat water preferable to sailing in the open ocean, which – but for the conditions this week that have ruled it out — is the Race Committee’s usual first choice for setting courses.

The St. Francis Yacht Club team, sitting in fourth, has a chance to make a play for the top spot today, but it will have to dig deep, since its point score is 64, and only two races are anticipated.  Also, the competition is continually improving, according to the team’s skipper Craig Healy. “From day one to day three I think the boat speed became more similar and the crew work  closer,” said Healy. “The race results showed we had some ups and downs.  It’s obvious looking at the results that the racing is not only tight but if you make one mistake, you get flushed. It’s a testament to not only the abilities of the various teams but also to the boats being so close and equalized.”

Only one point behind the California team, in fifth place, is the Royal Cork Yacht Club team, skippered by Anthony O’Leary.

The races are being sailed in identical NYYC Swan 42s, keeping the focus on crew work rather than equipment.

The regatta concludes today (Sat) after a Parade of Nations through Newport Harbour is carried out at 9 a.m.

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