In contrast to some pre-event forecasts, the breeze filled in nicely for day one of the 102nd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup! Twelve teams from California, New York and Massachusetts raced on the San Diego City Front in J/105s on Friday afternoon during day one of SDYC's signature fall regatta.
After a delay of about 20 minutes, races one and two began in 8 knots of wind with a battle between the California coast at the top of the fleet. Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC), San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC), and St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) finished in the first three places in race one, and the three were tied for first place overall after race two. NHYC pulled out the win for race one and race three later on in the day, helping to solidify themselves as the day one leaders.
Jon Pinckney from NHYC said his strategy behind winning the first race was to "stay in the pressure and stay out of the other guys’ bad air. We just tried to get a clean start with clean air and we’ll try to do that for the next 11 races.”
Jon is no stranger to the San Diego Bay, having participated in SDYC's Masters Regatta last weekend as crew for winner Bill Menninger. However, Jon says there is a difference between the Masters Regatta and the Lipton Cup this weekend. "This weekend is more intense than last weekend. There’s more pressure. We keep coming to this event every year, and we were third two years ago and second last year. Last weekend was great, but the pressure is on for this weekend. It was good to get a win in the first race and get some of that pressure off.”
Larchmont Yacht Club won the second race after finishing eighth in the first race. Larchmont YC was the first team from out of state to win a race. Eastern Yacht Club in Massachusetts, another out of state team, finished second in race three.
After a brief delay, the course was changed slightly for race four once the wind speed was up to 7-8 knots. Though StFYC started out with the lead, Southwestern Yacht Club (SWYC) passed them on the first downwind leg and kept the lead to win race four.
Shala Youngerman, the skipper of the SWYC team, contributes her win to breathing and communicating well with her team. “I think the big strategy was that my tactician said 'don’t forget to breathe'. Breathing is very important. We got a nice, clean start and we were really, really patient to make sure that we didn’t tack too much or didn’t turn the boat too much. We kept our communication clear.”
Racing is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow and Sunday. Shore side viewing is available from the Embarcadero or Harbor Island. The awards ceremony will take place at SDYC following racing on Sunday.
Full results after day one are available online here.
Find more information, updates, history and a competitor’s list on the Lipton Cup website. For live updates, follow @SDYC1886, view the Lipton Cup Facebook page, or contribute by tagging posts and photos with #liptoncup.
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.