On a day when it paid to be quick and nimble, no fleet was more of both of those things than the Persico 69F foiling monohulls. While every other fleet in the 13th edition of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex had to battle just to get in a race or two before a cell of strong thunderstorms rolled across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay and sent everyone running for shore, the foiling 21-footers left the beach at a leisurely hour, banged out six sharp races and were packed up well before the storms passed overhead.
And among the six Persico 69F youth teams competing at Race Week, none were quicker or nimbler on Day 2 than the Helvetia by Normandy Elite Team from La Rochelle, France, skippered by Clement Michel.
“We are very happy with the second day,” says crew member Lola Billy. “It was a good day. We won four races and we took the lead in the overall ranking. Our speed was very good, the starts not as good. It’s very important to keep up the speed of the boat to fly as quickly as possible. Not all boats were flying, so it was very important to build the speed of the boat to fly before the other teams.”
The New York Yacht Club’s Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex was first run in 1998, and takes place this year from July 13 to 16 out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, in Newport. R.I. The biennial regatta, run at the apex of the summer sailing season, has established itself as one of the premier summer race weeks in the Northeast thanks to the attractive combination of great racing conditions off Newport and the superlative shoreside hospitality at the Club’s waterfront Clubhouse overlooking Newport Harbor.
Today—when opportunity had to be seized when it was presented—was perhaps a microcosm of the situation facing Persico 69F class. The recent announcement of the conditions for Women’s America’s Cup and the Youth America’s Cup has placed a focus on the process of getting youth and female sailors more experience in foiling boats. The Persico 69F finds it itself uniquely positioned to provide a bridge between singlehanded foilers such as the Moth and the AC40, which will be used by each America’s Cup team for training and then for the Youth and Women’s America’s Cup competitions.
“The main objective of the company that gave life to Persico 69F was to create an easy foiling boat, safe and good looking, with high performance but suitable for different targets: youngsters, owners, professional sailors,” says Giorgio Benussi, co-founder and parter of the company that created 69F. “It is clear, looking at our path, that we would like one day to aspire to enter Olympic classes, but it is now time to stay well grounded, and we are therefore glad to be currently considered the test bench for teams that aspire to enter programs such as that of the America’s Cup and of other high prestige foiling classes that have been out there for much more time than us: let’s not forget we are only at our second season of racing! And many more will come.”
Opportunity was also a key concept in Michelle Warner’s decision to buy a VX One. Warner (below, far left) and her team strung together a second, fifth and first in the 16-boat class and will start Day 3 of the regatta with a 1-point lead over first and a 5-point advantage over a trio of boats tied for third.
“I’m a pretty good sailor, but I’m not a great sailor and so to get on boats was always kind of difficult because I’m little and I’m a little bit older,” says Warner, from Boulder, Colo. “So I was always like, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna buy my own boat.’ So I bought my boat, I’m lucky enough to have people that like to sail it because it’s so much fun. The two guys that I’m sailing with, they’re both Waszp sailors and they’re constantly going, ‘This boat’s like a Waszp in that it does this and that,’ so it’s a fun boat to sail.'”
It’s also a fun fleet, with a healthy mix of female and male sailors and a lot of movement up and down the fleet, be it during a race, during a regatta or during a season.
“There’s so many good sailors,” says Warner. “There was one race where we started like 10th and we came in second. There was another race where we started in third and came in first and there was another race where we started first and we came in fifth. It’s not that automatic thinking like in other fleets, ‘Yeah, we got the great start, we’re gonna win.’ It’s not there.”
Tomorrow, the Race Committee has divided the 90 boats competing in Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex into two groups, with the IC37 and VX One one-design classes doing buoy races starting at 11 am while the remainder of the classes will start a short distance race at 12:30 pm, hopefully after the expected sea breeze has filled in. Racing will run through Saturday when the regatta concludes with a sumptuous Rolex Awards Banquet that evening.
PHRF 2 (PHRF – 9 Boats) 1. Tink, Eggemoggin 47, Jack LeFort , Jamestown, RI, USA – 1 -1 -1 -1 ; 4 2. Leading Edge, J 109, Tom Sutton , Houston, TX, USA – 3 -5 -5 -2 ; 15 3. Arkana, sunfast 3300, Oivind Lorentzen , stamford, CT, USA – 4 -3 -4 -4 ; 15 4. Twist & Shout, C&C 30 One Design, Wesley Bright , Newport, RI, USA – 2 -2 -2 -10 ; 16 5. Vento Solare, J 109, Bill Kneller , Newport, RI, USA – 7 -4 -3 -3 ; 17
Persico 69F – Overall Standings (One Design – 6 Boats) 1. Helvetia by normandy elite team, Persico 69F, clement michel , La Rochelle, FRANCE, FRA – 1 ; 1 2. OKALYS YOUTH PROJECT, Persico 69F, Arnaud GRANGE , Geneva, Geneva, SUI – 2 ; 2 3. Katana, Persico Persico 69F, Alexander de Weck , Chene-Bougeries, Geneva, SUI – 3 ; 3 4. Team ID Voile, Persico 69F, Luc Guimbertaud , La Rochelle, Nouvelle Aquitaine, FRA – 4 ; 4 5. Clean Sailors Youth Racing Team, Persico 69F, CJ Perez , Honolulu, HI, USA – 5 ; 5
IC37 (One Design – 24 Boats) 1. Skeleton Key, IC37, Peter Wagner , Portola Valley, CA, USA – 2 -1 -2 -2 ; 7 2. New Wave, IC37, Steve Liebel , Tampa, FL, USA – 1 -2 -9 -7 ; 19 3. MO, IC37, Benjamin/Hannah Kinney/Swett , New York, NY, USA – 7 -5 -13 -3 ; 28 4. Defiant, IC37, Terry McLaughlin , Toronto, ON, CAN – 8 -7 -8 -5 ; 28 5. Arethusa, IC37, Phil Lotz , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA – 9 -3 -6 -14 ; 32
ORC D (ORC – 12 Boats) 1. Teamwork, J 122, Team Syndicate , Lexington, NC, USA – 4 -1 -1 -1 ; 7 2. Impetuous, Swan 42, Paul Zabetakis , Jamestown, RI, USA – 1 -3 -3 -4 ; 11 3. Summer Storm, J/111, Andrew Berdon , Hartsdale, NY, USA – 5 -2 -2 -3 ; 12 4. Orion, J 122, Paul Milo , Leesburg, VA, USA – 3 -6 -4 -5 ; 18 5. Rima98, Italia 11.98, John Brim , Palm Beach, FL, USA – 2 -7 -13 -2 ; 24
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!