SDYC Lipton Cup Skipper Tyler Sinks Interview

With one month until the 2017 Lipton Cup, we checked in with Team SDYC to see how preparations are going. Skippered by SDYC hero, Tyler Sinks, the team has won the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Lipton Cup Regattas – every other year for the past 6 years. Can Sinks, along with crew members Jake La Dow, Chris Busch, Jake Reynolds, Erik Shampain, Melissa Denman, and Max Hutcheson, stick to the pattern and take the title for 2017?

SDYC: What/who will be different on Team SDYC this year?

Tyler Sinks: We added Chris Busch, Jake Reynolds, Melissa Denman and brought Erik Shampain back on the team after he had to miss the 2016 regatta due to injury.

SDYC: How would you characterize the team? What are the team’s strengths?

TS: We have a very well rounded group of sailors. Everyone has their own strengths and unique skillsets that will help our team be successful. We also have youth- we’ve been the youngest team for the past two years and I think the combination of quickness and strength is another key asset for our team.

SDYC: What have you learned as Team SDYC’s Lipton Cup skipper over the past few years?

TS: It’s a lot of work. From organizing the team, to the preparation and ultimately translating all of it into a solid score line takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication. The yacht club puts so much into hosting a great event and they expect (as they should) for our team to represent the Club in the best way possible (which means winning). I’ve learned to enjoy the process and the regatta and just have fun with it- it truly is one of the premier events out there.

SDYC: Will you do anything different this year compared to past years?

TS: We don’t plan on changing too much this go around- we sailed a good regatta last year, almost good enough to win. We left a few points on the racecourse, so hopefully this year we’ll tighten up the mistakes and catch a few breaks when we need them.

SDYC: What will the team’s training look like over the next month?

TS: Training is honestly the hardest part of the regatta. It’s hard to wrangle 6-7 people together and go sailing. Everyone on the team keeps a very busy sailing schedule (some are full-time), so it’s hard to find time for us to practice as a team. It’s a tough question to answer- is it more important to find talented people with busy schedules, or find people who are around and able to practice? We err on the side of talent.

SDYC: Which clubs do you anticipate will be the biggest competition this year?

TS: All the teams are good enough to win. It usually comes down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes and catches the “lucky” break at the right time. You just try to put your team in a position to win, and God willing, everything works out.

SDYC: What is the biggest challenge you expect going into this year’s race?

TS: The venue and lack of time in the J/105’s is a big one. A lot of clubs have a distinct advantage when they host a regatta- whether it’s knowledge of the venue, or familiarity with the type of boats. At the Lipton Cup, we have neither. I’d lobby for a Sabot regatta in La Playa Cove, but I don’t think our East Coast friends would be very keen...

SDYC: What is your favorite part of Lipton Cup?

TS: Sailing out of your home club is always fun. It’s great to see all the club members come out to watch and support us. We appreciate all the support we get from SDYC and our friends and family- hopefully this year we’ll be able to give them something to cheer about.