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Morgan Cup Report
NHYC's team race rockstars put on a great showing at the 2011 Morgan Cup Team Race in Newport, RI.
Morgan Cup 2011

Twelve teams assembled at the New York Yacht Club for this years Morgan Cup Team Race. The regatta is sailed out of the Harbor Court Clubhouse, using the club owned Sonars. A sonar, is a 23’ boat, I would call it a giant Lido 14, with a spinnaker. Teams came from all over the countryside as there was not only Team NHYC, but also a St. Francis team from the west coast. Other teams included, Southern YC, and the usual group from the east coast including 3 NYYC teams, Annapolis YC, Marblehead area, Pequot YC, Seawanhaka YC, Larchmont YC, and a British team from Royal Thames.

Each team consists of 3 boats, with 4 crew onboard. Our team consisted of: Michael Menninger, Bill Menninger, Marla Menninger (aka bow goddess), and Robert Kinney. Our Second Boat consisted of Justin Law, Nick Ewenson, Reid Vitarelli and Greg Helias While our third boat consisted of John Pickney, Adam Deermont, Bill Ward, and Dan Esdorn. There was a 700 pound weight limit for each boat so everybody had to make sure they could get to their number prior to the start of the event.

So the sailing starts on Friday morning. There wind is light, its quite hot, and don’t forget humid, and the tide is ripping. We sailed a box course, which had a windward mark, rounded to port, a short reach leg, followed by a pretty long leeward leg, and another short reach, with a beat back to the race committee boat. The races averaged around 25 to 30 minutes from the first whistle to the end. For those of you that are not up to speed on team racing, most of the really good stuff happens on those little reaches, with people trying to pass boats back etc. But excitement is available on the whole course. We had a bit of bad luck in our race against St. Francis, as we had the 1, 2, 3, around the leeward mark. We had just forced one of their boats to do a penalty turn and we were in complete control. That’s when the wind quit. The boat last, managed to sail around our whole team, and win the race. Meanwhile we stopped out boat to wait for other team members to come up, and could never get it going again, and got passed too! This cast a bit of a shadow on our program, but we pressed on, after testing some four letter words for a few minutes.

Later that day we had a great race with Seawanhaka, they schooled us at the start, we got back into the race and had the winning combo for a couple minutes, but they managed to get us back at the end. So we ended the day 6 and 2, in second place. The dreaded NYYC 1 had run the table that day, but did not sail as many races as we had. We ended the day with a cocktail party on the front porch of the NYYC. The view is above average, even though it’s clear that they don’t want any sailors near their members!

Saturday started off, with more light air, still hot, still humid, tide still ripping. Team NHYC sailed 5 more races, to end the 1st round robin in second, team NYYC 1, had no losses @ 9-1 and we were 2nd with 8-2. NYYC served a nice dinner for everyone and we all had a great time. Fortunately the drinks were $8. So that kept everyone under control till the free wine showed up at dinner.

Sunday came around with a bit of a change in the weather. Still hot, Still humid, still plenty of tide, add in some rain showers just to complete the program. We had to be at the club @ 8:30 and on the water shortly after that. There was one more race in the gold bracket to complete our second round robin. Our first race was the first start against the dreaded NYYC1. We crushed them, and now we were tied for the lead. I’m not sure if were a touch over confident or maybe the effects of the cabernet grape were surfacing, but we then lost the next race, to Seawanhka. In the race against Seawanaka we had a crummy start, and managed to get into the race, only to blow it at the leeward mark.

So now it’s quite a close regatta. At the end of the 2nd round robin, NHYC had 11 wins, NYYC1 had 11 wins, NYYC 2 had 10 and Seawanhka had 10 also. So we had a final four for all the marbles. This meant 3 races to make it all happen. We sailed the 1st against NYYC1 and killed them. The second against Seawanhka, and lost, and the third against NYYC2 and beat them pretty handily. So when the dust all settled Team NHYC ended up tied for wins with Seawanhka with 14 wins, but lost on the tiebreaker, since they beat us the last time we sailed. The two NYYC teams also ended up tied with 12 wins, and NYYC 2 aced out NYYC 1 in the tie break. Sounds like New York Yacht Club have similar issues as our two Baldwin cup teams.

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