By Gavin Menu
Sag Harbor’s Breakwater Yacht Club was well represented at the 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week in Newport, Rhode Island, last week with captain Jim Vos and his crew sailing Skoot to victory in the J/109 division.
The victory came with an added and significant honor since the event doubled as the J/109 North American Championship.
“We are elated, but we’re not going to gloat, because there are some very good boats that had a tough day today,” Vos said in a release, giving a nod to his tactician, Danny Cameron, a resident of Sayville who helped bring Skoot from behind to claim victory. “The J/109 fleet is stronger now than it has ever been, so if you’re behind at any point during a race it is very hard to come back. The outcome could have gone many ways this week.”
Caminos, another boat based out of Breakwater and captained by Donald Filippelli, finished second overall in the event, which consisted of nine separate races over a three-day period from July 17 to19. Caminos finished first in four of the nine races, but fell short of the championship after finishing toward the bottom in two of the last three races.
Skoot, by comparison, had just one victory but was steady across all three days, finishing no worse than sixth in all but one of the nine races.
“You can’t afford to have too many bad races,” Cameron said when reached by phone on Tuesday. “It’s not about finishing first. In these regattas, especially if there’s enough good boats, if you can have your average around 4 or 5, you’re going to do well.”
Skoot finished with a score of 39, representing the total of its finishes in all nine races (4.3 average). Caminos was second with 43 points (4.8 average) and Emoticon, captained by Jonathan Rechtschaffer, finished third with 44 points (4.9 average). Emoticon won three of the first five races, but finished 11th, 10th and 7th in the final three to fade back into third place in the overall standings.
Three other J/109’s out of Sag Harbor also competed, with Greg Ames and Steve Kenny sailing Gossip to an eighth-place finish, William Rogers sailing Big Boat to ninth and Ray Pepi sailing Cleo to 13th overall.
The race was held at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, and featured entrants from as far away as Great Britain, Italy and Switzerland.
Cameron on Tuesday credited the crew of Skoot with an outstanding performance over the three-day event. Liz Joyce, Luke Babcock and Brett Morgan, all of Sag Harbor, Chris Mangieri of East Hampton, Jim Ryan from the North Fork and Madeline Clarke of Indiana helped accomplish what Cameron described as “one of the biggest accomplishments in sailing I’ve ever had.” He also praised Vos, who was at the helm and graciously gave Cameron the “trophy” Rolex watch after the races had ended.
“We had long days, leaving the dock at 10 a.m. and not coming back in until 7:30 at night,” Cameron said. “Staying on the wheel for that amount of time is exhausting, and Jim did a great job.
“Everyone performed extremely well,” he added. “If all the pieces aren’t all there, there’s no way you’re going to win.”
Alliance Wins Sag Harbor Cup
Meanwhile back home in Sag Harbor, Breakwater hosted its annual Sag Harbor Cup regatta with a smaller fleet because of the race in Newport. Stephen Guyer sailed Alliance to victory with a corrected time of 3 hours 33 minutes and 27 seconds, besting last year’s winner, Osprey, by nearly 12 minutes.
Captain George Martin brought Osprey across the line with a corrected time of 3:45:01 while Dan Montero, aboard Gracious, finished third in 3:51:56.