Photo credit: Daniel Forster

The Road to the ORC World Championship Goes Through Three Major Newport Regattas

With just two weeks until the first gun, excitement is building as the New York Yacht Club prepares to host its 170th Annual Regatta, poised to break participation records. The entry list currently boasts 139 boats, with a notable 39 competing under the ORC rating rule. This surge is largely attributed to the upcoming 2024 ORC World Championship in Newport, spurring sailors to sharpen their skills in advance.

“After years of racing larger boats, I switched to a J/70 and love the competition,” says Al Minella, who will helm the J/112e The ROCC in the ORC World Championship. “When I heard the ORC Worlds were coming to Newport, I knew I needed an ORC boat. I chose the J/112e for its performance under ORC.”

Minella remains active in the J/70 class, preparing for the J/70 World Championship in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in mid-September before quickly returning for the ORC Worlds. This dual commitment underscores the intense dedication of top-tier sailors.

Since 1969, the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has been a leader in providing a scientific, transparent rating system for fair racing across diverse boat types. The annual ORC World Championships, established in 1999, draw over 100 entries globally, with the 2024 event in Newport set to continue this tradition. The New York Yacht Club will host, with sponsorship from Helly Hansen, Safe Harbor Marinas, Peters & May, and Hammetts Hotel. Racing kicks off on September 30 and concludes on October 5, marking the pinnacle of the Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship series.

For Minella, this summer marks his second season with the J/112e, named in honor of his late mentor, Rocco Campanelli. Last season, he achieved impressive results, including a dominant performance in ORC E at the Annual Regatta. However, he acknowledges the heightened competition a world championship brings.

“My crew and I are eager to race in Newport,” he says. “It’s the best venue on the East Coast for larger boats. Our goal this summer is to fine-tune our performance with the J/112e and familiarize ourselves with Newport’s unique conditions.”

James Coffman and Laura Varas, leading the Swan 45 Gemini II, share Minella’s enthusiasm. “ORC has impressed us, especially with closely matched classes,” says Coffman. “We’ve optimized our boat’s configuration, including lengthening the sprit, to enhance downwind performance. With the right preparation, we’re confident in our competitiveness.”

The Road to the 2024 ORC World Championship series, encompassing four regattas in Newport, offers a rigorous preparation path. Teams will engage in a 30-hour distance race, a 10-hour coastal race, and three days of buoy racing. This summer circuit allows competitors to hone their skills, understand local conditions, and perfect their strategies.

The series includes the New York Yacht Club’s 170th Annual Regatta (June 14-16), Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex (July 17-20), the Safe Harbor Race Weekend (August 9-11), and the ORC World Championship (Sept. 27-Oct. 5). To qualify, teams must compete in at least three events, with the World Championship being mandatory.

Measurement for the ORC Worlds starts on September 27, with the first race—a grueling 36-hour overnight race—beginning on September 30. The competition will also feature three days of buoy racing and a coastal point-to-point race. Maxis will skip the overnight race, opting for coastal or buoy races in the initial days.

As the New York Yacht Club’s 170th Annual Regatta approaches, anticipation builds for a summer of elite sailing, culminating in the ORC World Championship, where the world’s best will vie for supremacy on Newport’s storied waters.




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