SDYC hosted the 14th annual Beneteau Cup on September 9 & 10. It was a flawless weekend for 37 Benetaus to be both out on the water and celebrating back at the club after racing according to the event organizers Rick Day and Barrett Canfield.
Similar to the past few years, South Coast Yachts and UK Sails provided a classroom training session at SDYC on Friday night. The Friday night training is important because it sets the tone for the race- the sailors are there to have fun, but they will have help along the way as they learn how to use their boat in a more competitive way. Following the educational component, competitors raced windward-leeward courses in Coronado Roads on Saturday followed by a random leg race in San Diego Bay on Sunday.
After months of planning, Canfield was grateful for how the event turned out. “The 14th annual Beneteau Cup at San Diego Yacht Club was a huge success, inviting many new sailors to our club to enjoy a weekend of exciting sailing, learning new skills, new friendships, great music by John Fretwell and Lifted Tack, and incredible food, thanks to SDYC catering and kitchen! It was most enjoyable to hear all of the compliments from the sailors about our club.”
Drew Belk (SDYC) won the First Series class and overall Beneteau Cup on his Beneteau First 40 Club Racer Precepts II. David Normandin (DPYC) won the Cruising Class Overall Beneteau Cup on his Beneteau Oceanis 48 Freedom. Keenan Hirsh and crew on the chartered Oceanis 41 Sweet Denyse won the Cruising Class 2 trophy. This event was also the West Coast Championship for the one design First 36.7 So-Cal fleet, with Tom Shepherd (OYC) and Kraken taking the win and trophy.
Shephard was pleased with his team’s performance during the 36.7 class’s five races. “We had a great weekend on Kraken. This was our first One Design regatta win and it felt amazing to finally achieve what we've been working towards since we started at the back of the fleet four years ago. As skipper, I was really happy with how we kept our heads up when things didn't go to plan and how we worked our way out of some tricky situations which would have been too much in years past. The win goes down to solid teamwork from a great bunch of people with whom it was a pleasure to sail.”
With rising competition within the 36.7 fleet, Shephard recalled some of the thrills he experienced. “The 36.7 fleet has compressed and become steadily more competitive while remaining cordial sailors. We had some exciting moments with multiple lead changes, stacked mark roundings and finishes with four or five boats crossing the line within a minute. Every boat managed a top half of the fleet result and bullets were spread across four boats. Next year we hope to add another boat to the fleet and keep up the momentum of recent years.”
The cruising classes also experienced tight racing over the weekend, especially for Keenan Hirsh who skippered Sweet Denyse to a win in Cruising Class 2. Sweet Denyse is a charter boat in the Harbor Sailboats fleet (Harbor Island) and, as in years past, the crew for Beneteau Cup is made up of club members and HS staff.
Hirsh brought his competitive drive to the starting line and it paid off. “We knew we were going to have to bring our best effort as there was some very good rivalry in the Oceanis 41 fleet and Cruise 2 as a whole…all the boats lived up to the hype. Racing was super closer all three days with just a couple points separating the top 3 boats. Beneteau Cup is among the best sailing events of the year and we thank South Coast Yachts and SDYC for another fantastic weekend.”
Belk was a class winner for the first time during this Beneteau Cup though he has raced it six times prior. “It was two days of perfect wind and weather. The credit for our victory really goes to my crew, they did a flawless job. The sail trimming was spot on, every set and every takedown was near perfect. Our tactician make great calls, just a great team effort.”
It is worth noting that Belk won the First Series class with straight bullets throughout the weekend.
Day summarized the mood of the event and his appreciation for those involved. “We and our participants had a terrific time, and everything went extremely well. I didn't hear a single complaint about docking, the facilities, the food, the drinks, the hospitality of the club, the music, the race committee, or the venue. That's remarkable for a crowd of this size.”