The 2016 Lipton Cup ended dramatically today under ominous clouds and light rain. Despite challenging wind directions on San Diego Bay, Race Committee ran three races, completing all 12 scheduled races for the weekend, meaning every team competed in each of the J/105s.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC) won the first two races and even though they finished ninth in the third race, they were able to keep their overall lead and win the regatta by one point. NHYC finished third in 2014 and second in 2015, so it was game on to see if they could pull off the win this year.
The first race of the today was between Coronado Yacht Club (CorYC) and NHYC. CorYC was leading until the second weather mark when NHYC moved into first place, with a clean spinnaker. Race two was a Southern California battle between San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC), Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) and NHYC who were all neck and neck at the beginning of the race. LBYC passed SDYC on a tack and maintained their lead around the second weather mark and downwind to the finish.
Pinckney shared how he was successful both today and during the whole weekend. "We fought really hard and we had a really good team. I think one of keys was whenever we were down in the race, we were able to come back. There were two races we didn’t, but there were also a lot of other races when we did. The first two races today we started well, but the last race we had to battle once again. When you’re battling you have to rely on your whole team and everyone was really good.”
The skies opened up and it started raining for the final race of the day at 3pm in about 9 knots of wind. Almost the whole fleet rounded the first weather on top of each other, but St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) managed to break in front of the fleet and keep the lead until the finish. StFYC's win of the last race moved them up to a second place finish overall and just one point away from the overall win.
StFYC's skipper, Chris Raab, knew where he needed to finish going into the last race. "I was thinking about how badly I screwed up in race eleven, so I knew we had to win the last race. It was an interesting race since SDYC and NHYC were so close. My strategy was to get ahead of NHYC, because once we get ahead, we stay strong and nobody catches us. So that's what we did."
Before the awards ceremony, Pinckney reflected on his overall win. "It feels really good. It's been a long time coming."
Full results are available online here. Photos are available here.
The Lipton Cup would like to thank its sponsors: Ballast Point, Helly Hansen, North Sails, Pacific Gate San Diego & Zeal Optics. And special thanks to the local J/105 owners for lending their boats to make this regatta possible.