NEWPORT, R.I. (August 6, 2017) — For the third time in four years, the Morgan Cup, the toughest trophy in keelboat team racing, has been won by a team from the West Coast. San Diego Yacht Club repeated as the champion today, defeating New York Yacht Club 3-1 in a thrilling final series sailed under blue skies and in a shifty and puffy northwesterly breeze. From 2003, when the Morgan Cup Team Race was first run, through 2013, only the host New York Yacht Club and Long Island's Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club were able to lay claim to the trophy. Southern California's Newport Harbor Yacht Club broke that stranglehold in 2014 and San Diego Yacht Club now appears poised to start its own run.
"This regatta is packed with some of the best team racers from around the world," said Jake Reynolds, a skipper and team captain for San Diego Yacht Club. "If you can win a race in this regatta, you've done really well. To win [the whole event] is really an honor."
While San Diego YC was the defending champion, the team started off the regatta sailing like rookies, losing their first three matches and four of their first six.
"We started off really rough," said Reynolds. "Everybody else came into this regatta firing, and we were a little bit slow off of home plate. I think it was a combo of both [team-racing rust and Sonar-sailing rust]. We shook it off quickly, which goes to our team and how good a sailor everybody is."
In the second round robin, San Diego was nearly perfect, beating everyone but New York Yacht Club, to finish with 13 points and the top seed going into the knock-out rounds. The overall standings were incredibly close, with just five points separating first from eighth and& a tie breaker needed to decide which two of the three teams on nine points advanced through to the six-boat championship knock-out round.
The teams representing Yale Corinthian Yacht Club and St. Francis Yacht Club emerged from the quarterfinals to challenge the top two seeds, San Diego Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club. San Diego won its semifinal 3-1, but the battle between St. Francis and New York Yacht Club, two teams that often butt heads at the business end of major keelboat team races, came down to a penalty call against the St. Francis team just meters from the finish.
The action in the final was particularly frenetic. San Diego Yacht Club got out to the early lead in all four races, but the team from the host club was able to make each one a battle. When the dust settled, the scoreline for the finals was San Diego Yacht Club 3, New York Yacht Club 1.
"I've got to give it to the New York Yacht Club guys, they're really good," said Reynolds. "They've been doing it for a really long time. Just keeping your wits about you was really important in those last few races."
Reynolds said that the team's win last year has really helped make team racing more popular with the membership of the San Diego Yacht Club.
"When we won last year, the support for the team and interest in team racing rose immensely," he said. "We look at NYYC as kind of a model for high-level team racing. We're getting there, and once we build up that grass-roots level, we're going to have an even stronger team."
Great news for Reynolds and his crew, as rallying 12 team racers to fly across the country each August is never easy. Bad news, however, for teams that have their eye on winning the Morgan Cup in the foreseeable future.
2017 NYYC Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Morgan Cup
New York Yacht Club Harbour Court
August 4 to 6, 2017
Gold Knock-Out Round
Finals: San Diego YC d. New York YC 3-1
Semifinals: San Diego YC d. Yale Corinthian YC 3-1, New York YC d. St. Francis YC 3-2
Quarterfinals: St. Francis YC d. Newport Harbor YC 2-1, Yale Corinthian YC d. Eastern YC 2-1
Silver Knock-Out Round
Finals: Seawanhaka Corinthian YC d. Royal Thames YC 2-0
Semifinals: Royal Thames YC d. College of Charleston 2-1, Seawanhaka Corinthian YC d. Corinthian (Marblehead, Mass.) YC, 2-1
Final Results (with Round Robin Win Totals)
1. San Diego YC (13 points), 2. New York Yacht Club (12), 3. St. Francis YC, San Francisco (11), 4. Yale Corinthian YC, New Haven, Conn. (9), 5. Eastern YC, Marblehead, Mass. (10); 6. Newport Harbor YC, Newport Beach, Calif. (9), 7. Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Centre Island, N.Y. (8), 8. Royal Thames YC, London, U.K. (9), 9. Corinthian YC, Marblehead, Mass. (7), 10. College of Charleston, Charleson, S.C. (2).
Full Results and Regatta Rosters