Crossing the equator to compete

Crossing the equator to compete

The biennial New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, first held in 2009, fuses five days of intense racing with a glamorous social schedule to deliver an unrivaled event for competitors from around the globe.  Competitors must be non-professional (Corinthian) sailors and members of the yacht clubs they represent; they must also be nationals of their countries. 

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is a first-time contender for the Invitational Cup.  Past Commodore Peter Ahern will be skippering a chartered Swan 42 and will be supported by Peter Milner as tactician. Ahern's crew consists of Scott Bailey, Peter Kernot, Bruce Maloney, David Lynn and Terry Page whose sailing pedigree is made up of World Etchells Champions, World Dragon Champions and World Flying Fifteen Champions. 

The members of their crew were chosen for their big-boat experience on the Grand Prix level and most of them have raced a Farr 40 together for the past two years.  Their training will include racing in the Western Australian IRC Championships as well as Phuket Race Week. 

“Probably the biggest difference we expect is light winds in Newport,” said Peter Ahern, Immediate Past Commodore.  “In Perth we race in strong breezes like the Fremantle Doctor that was famous for the excellent racing conditions it provided for the 1987 America’s Cup.”  

For 2013, the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex will welcome competitors from the following yachts clubs: the  Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS), Japan Sailing Federation (JPN), Nyländska Jaktklubben (FIN), Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (ESP), Royal Canadian Yacht Club (CAN), Royal Cork Yacht Club (IRL), Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (HKG), Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Yacht Squadron (GBR), Yacht Club Argentino (ARG) and the Yacht Club Italiano (ITA) which have previously competed alongside host  New York Yacht Club (USA).  New to the event are the Royal Belgian Sailing Club (BEL), Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (AUS), Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS), Royal Southern Yacht Club (GBR), Royal Swedish Yacht Club (SWE), as well as the three teams determined by the outcome of the 24-club U.S. Qualifying Series held at NYYCLarchmont Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club.

The three Australian yacht club teams that will compete will cross numerous time zones to get to the starting line and more notably, cross the equator in order to participate in the third edition competition.  The Australian teams will travel more than 11,000 miles in order to reach NYYC’s Harbour Court clubhouse where the biennial competition will take place on Swan 42s from September 7-14, 2013. 

Needing to quickly get into competition mode after the significant distance traveled, the teams must also adjust to a seasonal change as they will have come from the end of their winter to arrive in Newport just as summer is waning in the Northern Hemisphere.  Another possible factor that may affect the ability of the teams to excel while sailing on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay is the Coriolis effect – the deflection of wind and water to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere – as the frontal passages and tidal currents may not behave quite the same as at home.  In addition, each team has a perception of what they will encounter in Newport – light wind versus heavy wind – that is relative to the prevailing conditions in which they are accustomed to sailing.  

For more information on the 2013 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex, visit or join the conversation online via the Club’s Facebook page.

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