NYYC Annual Regatta
photo credit: ROLEX/Daniel Forster

Elite Big-Boats and Crowded Starts: 170th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta Promises High Drama

The 170th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, a storied event in American sailing, features a dynamic split in its ORC racing classes. In the limelight are Classes A and B, boasting the country’s elite big-boat programs. Class A includes four formidable 60- and 70-footers, while Class B is highlighted by four TP52s and a new, swift Botin ORC 45-footer. With professional sailors aplenty, achieving optimal boat speed around the track is paramount in these classes.

In contrast, Classes C and D, with 19 and 14 entries respectively, present a different challenge. The crowded starting line demands a clean getaway, as all the boat speed in the world won’t save a race if poor positioning and tactical missteps plague the first beat.

“We’ve had this boat two and a half years, and I think this is the most competitive class we’ve seen in ORC, and the tightest rating band,” says Andrew Weiss, skipper of the Italia 11.98 Christopher Dragon XII, sailing in ORC D. “It’s great. [The time allowances for a one-hour race] are going to be down to between no time on our sistership to a minute and a half. It’s a good precursor for the ORC World Championship in the fall.”

First raced on the Hudson River in 1846, the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta has a rich history. With few interruptions, it has been a yearly fixture, moving to Newport, R.I., in 1988 and adopting its current three-day format in 2004. The 170th Annual Regatta features a historic fleet of over 150 boats, including the prestigious 52 Super Series fleet, making its North American return since 2017. Sponsored by Helly Hansen, Safe Harbor Marinas, Peters & May, and Hammetts Hotel, this event is set against the picturesque Harbour Court clubhouse.

For the past two years, Andrew Berdon has been a key competitor in the ORC C and D classes, racing his J/111 Summer Storm. This year, he’s upgraded to a TP52, competing in ORC B, where there’s more space on the line but little room for error.

“I bought [the J/111] and refit her over the winter of 2022, and splashed her in July in time for the Club’s Race Week at Newport in 2022,” Berdon explains. “We then won our class in the Vineyard Race against some very stiff ORC competition. That gave me the confidence to campaign her over the winter of 2022-’23 in the SORC, the RORC 600, and BVI Spring Regatta. We had a great time sailing her, but at 36 feet, she was not enough boat for long distances.”

The decision to transition to a TP52 was influenced by the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s announcement to re-establish the Admiral’s Cup in 2025. Berdon aims to compete in the 2024 Bermuda Race and ORC Worlds in Newport, eyeing a potential Admiral’s Cup team spot.

Berdon’s early results with the TP52 have been promising, including an overall win in the Storm Trysail Club’s 186-mile Block Island Race. Now, he faces formidable competition in ORC B, including David Team’s Vesper, Victor Wild’s Fox, and the Prospector team, led by Larry Landry and Paul McDowell. A wild card in the mix is Wendy Schmidt’s new Botin ORC 45 Azulito.

“I’m looking forward to competing against some of the best-prepared and crewed TP52 teams in the world,” says Berdon. “We have a great group of sailors and a great boat, and we are very fortunate to be racing TP52s in Newport this summer.”

Racing begins with the traditional race around Conanicut Island on Friday, June 14, and continues with buoy and navigator racing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound over the weekend. The 52 Super Series, back in North America for the first time in seven years, will sail separately until June 13 before joining the Regatta. Nearly 1,000 attendees are expected for Saturday night’s Annual Regatta Dinner, underscoring the event’s enduring allure.




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