It’s a marathon, not a sprint. That’s the theory that San Diego Yacht Club skipper Tyler Sinks followed during this weekend’s twelve intense races that brought his team to win the 2018 Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup for the second year in a row. And so it goes, they were right… again.
“We hung on by the hair on our chinny chin chin,” started SDYC Skipper Tyler Sinks. “We just tried to sail our own boat all day. It was such a tricky race course that it was hard to be in the right spot but I have such good teammates. They kept the boat moving the whole time and I just took orders all weekend. Having a good team really helped us pull it out.”
The final day of the Lipton Cup started with gloomy skies and cool breezes around two knots resulting in postponement. Traffic in San Diego Bay was limited, allowing for a wide open course and minimal wake. Once the breeze picked up to over eight knots, the teams were ready to compete in their final day of races. The sun broke through the clouds and spectator boats surrounded the course in anticipation of the final results. With only three races left to pull to the top of the score sheet, stakes were high on two teams in particular, San Diego Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club.
The overall first place winner was San Diego Yacht Club, followed by Long Beach Yacht Club in second and California Yacht Club in third.
LBYC started off day three in first with 32 points followed closely by SDYC’s 35 points. Little did they know those three points would follow them to the last race of the day. Interestingly enough, neither team saw particularly great races today. SDYC’s third place in race 11 was the highest placement for either team all day. However, with incredible races on days one and two, the teams were able to hold their positions at the top of the fleet. The real race today was a match race between LBYC and SDYC.
SDYC went into the final race of the day, race 12, with 48 points, three points behind LBYC. Crowds cheered the sidelines of the final race, watching both boats compete at the back of the fleet. SDYC finished in ninth place only beating LBYC by three boats. That was enough for the two teams to end the day in a tie at 57 points. Four bullets for SDYC determined that the tie breaker go to the home team.
“It was a close race. Kudos to those guys for sailing a hell of a regatta. It could have easily been the other way around. It was high stress but we’ve been in these situations before and the guys were cool, calm and collected,” explained Sinks.
LBYC Skipper Shane Young described the races behind the tie breaker. “There were three races left and we knew we were tight with San Diego. It came down to one point over the whole regatta and losing the tie breaker. It came down to the last leg and there were three boats in between us, giving them the points they needed. Congrats to them and hats off!”
“Hopefully we can come back next year and we’ll be ready to rock and roll with you guys [SDYC],” Young finished.
A notable connection between the two teams were their crews. San Diego Yacht Club brothers John and Chris Busch raced head to head on opposing teams, SDYC (Chris) and LBYC (John). The brothers have been racing together for 45 years. They typically sail against each other in long distance races, but this weekend the two saw a friendly family rivalry.
“We started out crewing in my father’s boat and eventually started sailing other boats. Chris went the professional route and I went to work but still play on the weekends and have a great time. It’s really good seeing Chris do as well as he is throughout his professional sailing career. It’s a fun family rivalry and we’re still going to talk at Thanksgiving and Christmas!” John joked. John and Chris will be sailing against each other again in the 2019 Transpac.
After Team SDYC popped their champagne and accepted their congratulations by friends, family and spectators, each yacht club reunited on the Front Deck to accept their awards and shake hands.
As per tradition, SDYC Commodore Michael Dorgan invited the winning team to celebrate in the Cupola of the San Diego Yacht Club. “All I can say is wow. My head was spinning out watching the races today. Seeing Long Beach and San Diego go at it was very exciting. As the host of the Lipton Cup, our goal is to put on a fair, world class, friendly yacht club competition. To have our yacht club defend the Cup successfully in such a close race is icing on the cake. We’re very proud of our team. Thank you to all the yacht clubs for coming and we look forward to putting on another great Lipton Cup next year.”
San Diego Yacht Club is now the two-time defending champion of the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup! Next year, 12 yacht club teams, including LBYC, will come back and fight for the Lipton Cup Trophy yet again.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for a while,” Sinks ended.