Letter from America



AKA  report from Hugo Ottaway at The Dennis Conner International Challenge held at The Manhattan Yacht Club in New York.

Well…..I really enjoyed it!  Though it was super, super tough. When the Norwegian says to the German during his presentation speech (both of whom finished behind us} that the last time he beat him was at the Olympic games, you’re not sailing against bunnies.

In addition, other competitors said how much of an honor it was to sail in the company of the German skipper (must look up who he is).  It was not a Nationals level regatta, it was a worlds standard regatta, so much so that the organisers called a special meeting of skippers to remind them that the concept was as a “friendly regatta, and that the Corinthian rules of sailing are expected to be honored…….  “.

Most yacht clubs sent their best teams, we matched it boat against boat no problem, only issue was loosing half the fleet half way up the second beat with huge wind shifts and massive 2 knot currents.  At times we went from 2nd to 14th in one shift! When it got choppy which happened a lot, we sailed straight through them, as so many of our competitors were not use to Port Phillip Bay type chop.  Admittedly we were out classed when it came to picking the current advantage, we tried but had little idea compared to the top Europeans who know this stuff like the back of their hands.  A perfect example of that was, when in a 100 meters in an off the wind finish, we went from a comfortable 6th to 8th.  We thought it impossible to lose our position but just had the wind evaporate around us, we just sat there with nothing, meters from the line… frustrating to say the least.

The entertainment was first class, with the best rapport amongst the competitors. It was nice to have the winner come up to us and complement us (we came 9th for God’s sake…RMYS Team B) on how well we sailed against them. They came second in the J 22 worlds, were heading off to do a TP52 regatta in Europe with 2 of their crew who employees of North Sails.  Told you it was a serious regatta.  There were even several youth crews sent from their National training body i.e. Argentina and Ireland.

Sadly, the boats weren’t all they could have been. Half the fleet had weed growing around the rudder and hulls.  They must get that fixed if they are going to have another regatta.  And, they really need to as this event has morphed into a first class regatta, with huge prestige, which will only grow, and has caught the organizers, at their own admission, by surprise. It is no longer just a casual dash around the cans.

Unfortunately team A didn’t fare well, however they had a great time, see you when I get back H.

There are some good shots on the regatta facebook site.  Check ‘em out!  https://www.facebook.com/DennisConnerInternationalYachtClubChallenge