McClennen’s Gamecock Struts to IC37 North American Championship

A year of hard work—three winter series regattas in Fort Lauderdale and a full summer of sailing in Newport—paid off for Peter McClennen’s Gamecock team (above) as they blitzed a competitive 20-boat fleet to win the 2022 IC37 North American Championship. The team was so dominant through the first six races of the regatta it was able to enjoy a leisurely cruise to the dock while the remaining 19 boats sailed the final race to decide the minor places. Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key finished second while Steve Liebel’s New Wave took third.

“It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in 1905]. As a classic yacht enthusiast, I think it’s one of the most special things about the club, large one-design, big-boat racing. To finally break through and be North American champion this year, it hasn’t full sunk in. We’ve been on the podium before, [at the 2021 IC37 North Americans] we were second, in the Melges 20 we were third, but never won [a North American or national championship].”

The IC37 North American Championship was hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., from September 23 to 25. The regatta was the final event of the summer 2022 IC37 regatta calendar and featured 20 Corinthian teams battling for top honors over eight races on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay. The IC37 class was created by the New York Yacht Club to promote one-design competition for amateur sailors. The high-performance 37-foot keelboat was designed by Mark Mills, and strict class rules ensure the most-level playing field in big-boat sailing. The class’s second North American Championship was sponsored by Hammetts Hotel, Safe Harbor Marinas and Helly Hansen.

The collective time in the IC37 for the 20-strong fleet over the summer was evident this weekend in the crowded mark roundings and close finishes. Mistakes were punished quickly and grinding back after a poor start was extremely tough. McClennen and his team were on another level, however, thanks in no small part to the nearly 40 days they sailed the boat this summer. The Gamecock crew started the regatta with a second, won the next race—and two more for good measure—and never finished worse than fourth in any race. McClennen attributed their advantage to their extensive practice this summer and a commitment to sailing their own race as much as possible.

“[We] had to stay free [of other boats],” he said. “These boats do not like sailing next to each other. Whenever you’re in a compromised situation, and there are two boats trying to gain position on each other, both boats always lose. The No. 1 goal for us in both days was get free, even if you’re on the unfavored side. Once we’re free, we can sail at target [boatspeed] all day.”

Being away from other boats, even if that meant taking some transoms in order to find the space, also enabled tactician Cameron Appleton the freedom to work the variations in the breeze, which were significant, for different reasons, on both days.

“Yesterday, it was so shifty and today it was so variable,” said McClennen. “[Today] if you got caught on the wrong side of the course, one side was blowing 20 knots and the other side was blowing eight.”

McClennen also credited his team’s time sailing in the IC37 winter series, which took place over the past two winters, out of the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. While yesterday was sailed inside Narragansett Bay and in small chop, today, the sea state was a significant factor in the racing.

“For us, because we’ve done the Florida series both seasons, we’re very used to the waves,” said McClennen. “I’m more comfortable in those waves than if we only sailed inside [Narragansett Bay].”

The North American championship was the final event of the 2022 IC37 Summer Series. While Gamecock was the best team on the water today, the season championship went to Steve Liebel’s New Wave.

Liebel sailed in the class prior to this year, but purchased his own boat last fall. The season championship was his team’s primary goal for this the summer. The season championship counted a team’s performance in the 168th Annual Regatta; the National Championship, which was sailed during Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex; and the North American Championship. In addition a team could count a result from either the Sail Newport Regatta in July or the Safe Harbor Race Weekend in August.

“We had one goal, win the summer,” says Liebel. “We knew coming in you had to get top five in the major regattas and then top two in the ‘B’ regattas. We thought if did that we’d be in good shape. And it turns out, that’s what we did.”

A total of 15 boats qualified for the season championship, a strong indication of the strength of the class.

Today’s results for New Wave—a pair of sixths and an eighth—were, on the surface, solid, but unspectacular. However, the fact the team finished all three races is quite impressive, given the challenges they had to overcome.

“We broke our jib halyard on the first beat of the first race and had to use our spinnaker halyard for the jib, so it was a little slow getting around the windward mark,” says Liebel. “Then after the first race, we lashed our jib up, so at least we had a jib for the second and third race. Our bowman was the star of the day. He was the rig three times, tying the jib off.”

2022 IC37 North American Championship
New York Yacht Club Harbor Court
September 23 to 25, 2022
FInal Results
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
IC37 (One Design – 20 Boats)
1. Gamecock, Peter McClennen , Newport, RI, USA – 2 -1 -4 -1 -1 -3 -[21/DNS] ; 12
2. Skeleton Key, Peter Wagner , Portola Valley, CA, USA – 5 -4 -6 -[10] -3 -2 -1 ; 21
3. New Wave, Steve Liebel , Tampa, FL, USA – [12] -3 -1 -2 -6 -6 -8 ; 26
4. MO, Ben Kinney/ Hannah Swett , Jamestown, RI, USA – 6 -2 -2 -[11] -2 -11 -7 ; 30
5. Vigilant, John Hele , Newport, RI, USA – 9 -10 -3 -3 -[16] -4 -4 ; 33
6. Das Blau Max, Cory, Mark and Nick Sertl Sertl , Jamestown, RI, USA – 4 -15 -5 -[16] -7 -1 -10 ; 42
7. Qubit, Chris Lewis , Austin, TX, USA – 11 -6 -[17] -6 -5 -8 -6 ; 42
8. Yonder, Douglas Newhouse , Newport, RI, USA – 3 -11 -8 -4 -[13] -7 -12 ; 45
9. Kashmir, Michael Mayer Steve Henderson , Telluride, CO, USA – 13 -8 -7 -8 -[14] -5 -14 ; 55
10. Ticket, Ed Whitmore , Norfolk, VA, USA – 14 -7 -[16] -12 -12 -12 -2 ; 59
11. Arethusa, Phil Lotz , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA – 15 -5 -14 -5 -18 -[19] -3 ; 60
12. Old School, Ganson Evans , Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA – 8 -12 -13 -7 -[19] -10 -11 ; 61
13. RAMROD, Rodrick Jabin , Annapolis, MD, USA – 1 -[21/DSQ] -21/RET -18 -4 -13 -9 ; 66
14. Mahalo, Charles Kenahan , Newport, RI, USA – 7 -13 -12 -[19] -11 -18 -5 ; 66
15. Next, Jon Desmond , Cohasset, MA, USA – 10 -14 -9 -13 -8 -14 -[15] ; 68
16. Midnight Blue, Alexis Michas , New York, NY, USA – [18] -9 -11 -9 -10 -16 -13 ; 68
17. Waka Jawaka, Michael Goldfarb , Seattle, WA, USA – 16 -17 -15 -14 -9 -9 -[18] ; 80
18. Ursa Minor, Peter Cummiskey , Greenwich, CT, USA – [20] -19 -10 -17 -17 -17 -16 ; 96
19. WarBride, Ben duPont , Rockland, DE, USA – 17 -18 -[21/RET] -15 -15 -15 -19 ; 99
20. Res Potentia, Thomas Newman , MIDDLETOWN, RI, USA – 19 -16 -18 -[20] -20 -20 -17 ; 110



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