Photo credit: Daniel Forster

Vesper Sails to Victory Amidst Tight Competition at 170th Annual Regatta

On a day where light winds magnified the importance of precision, the 170th Annual Regatta saw some of the fiercest competition in recent memory. David Team’s Vesper squad triumphed in the ORC B fleet, capitalizing on rival Fox’s misstep to secure the victory.

“We felt in the first two races, when it was really light, 6 knots and under, that we had a click of pace on people,” Team reflected. “But then the wind shifts come into play with that light of a breeze. The first race we got it called right, the second race we were on the wrong side of the shift, but our speed was still good all day.”

As the seabreeze picked up for the latter two races, Victor Wild’s Fox found its stride, but a crucial foul against another fleet during the final leeward mark rounding proved costly.

“Fox was leading, we were trying to do our best to figure out how to pass them,” Team recounted. “They fouled [a boat from another fleet] and they did the right thing, a 360, and that kind of just reshuffled the race.”

The New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta, first sailed on the Hudson River in 1846, has grown into a premier event on the sailing calendar. This year’s edition featured over 150 boats, including the prestigious 52 Super Series fleet competing in North America for the first time since 2017. Sponsored by Helly Hansen, Safe Harbor Marinas, Peters & May, and Hammetts Hotel, the regatta showcased top-tier sailing over three days, from a scenic race around Conanicut Island to two days of buoy racing.

ORC B Fleet Results:

  1. Vesper, David Team – 1 – 3 – 2 – 1 ; 7 points
  2. FOX, Victor Wild – 2 – 1 – 1 – 4 ; 8 points
  3. Prospector, Larry Landry Paul McDowell – 3 – 2 – 3 – 2 ; 10 points

In the five-boat ORC B, where professional sailors abound, even a minor error can have significant consequences. For Fox, a penalty turn after a foul pushed them from first to fourth in the final race, dropping them to second overall.

Team’s Vesper, a 52-foot yacht he’s raced actively for over four years, showed consistency and resilience. While based on the West Coast, Team’s sailing season spans Florida in the winter and a split summer between the Great Lakes 52 circuit and Newport. With the ORC World Championship on the horizon, the Annual Regatta served as a crucial preparatory step.

Notable Performances in Other Classes

Cape 31 Class: Drew Freides and his Pacific Yankee adjusted admirably to handicap racing after a one-design start was deemed infeasible. Consistency was key, with two second-place finishes and a third securing victory in ORC D.

“It definitely had us on two wheels a little bit,” Freides admitted. “We weren’t prepared for handicap racing, so we had to adjust our sailing. We wanted to beat our fleet [of Cape 31s]. But the boat is pretty competitive under ORC.”

IC37 Fleet Dominance

The largest fleet, the IC37 class, saw intense competition with 24 boats. Steve Liebel’s New Wave emerged victorious, tied on points with Daniel Thielman’s Kuai but winning on a tie-breaker.

“Sailing was phenomenal, a little tricky today, shifty and light, but a good time,” Liebel remarked. “Sometimes you were looking like a hero, sometimes you were a zero. We were both today. I think we were second-to-last in the first race today, but climbed back. In the end, it was a good day.”

Full Results and Highlights

The regatta highlighted the importance of adaptability and precision in sailing, with many top teams experiencing both triumphs and setbacks. For full scores and race-by-race details, click here.

Key Takeaways

  • Vesper’s Resilience: Overcame shifting winds and strategic challenges to secure victory in ORC B.
  • Fox’s Misstep: A penalty turn in the final race cost them the top spot.
  • IC37 Fleet Growth: Increased competition with new teams making significant impacts.



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