First held in 2009, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a biennial event contested by teams from around the world racing each other in identical boats provided by the organiser. After racing in Swan 42’s for many years, the host Club now has a fleet of exciting new IC37 class yachts.
Twenty teams will contest this prestigious event run by the New York Yacht Club from their Harbour Court base on Rhode Island. The event is for amateur crews from invited yacht clubs and adheres to strict World Sailor classification requirements.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC) will be represented by an excellent team of sailors led by Past Commodore Peter Ahern on the helm. He comments “We feel incredibly privileged to be invited to this amazing regatta in brand new high performance racing yachts in one of the best sailing locations in the world. We have a very experienced and talented team of four “mature” lads complemented by four of the Clubs leading youth sailors.” Peter is an accomplished sailor and his achievements include winning an Australian Championship in the Etchells class, the WA IRC State Championship, Kings Cup in Thailand and twice Asian Yachting Grand Prix Champion.
Joining him as Tactician is Dirk van der Struyf, also champion helmsman in the Etchells class winning the Etchells Australian Championships Corinthian Division and placing third at a World Championship in the same division. As a trimmer, Dirk placed first in the Australian Match Racing Championships two times and contested eight Australia Cup Match Racing Championships. He will certainly be an asset to the team racing in the identical IC37 yachts.
In the crew Gordon Blaauw is another skilled sailor from RFBYC who has raced Etchells and yachts for many years and Dutchman Rolf Heemskerk who races yachts in Asia and is the only member of the crew who is not from the Club.
The regatta rules require two females to be included on the team and Peter is pleased to have two very accomplished ladies and comments “we are lucky to have Chelsea Hall and Elise Manners adding a very refreshing dynamics and skills to our team”. Both sail regularly on yachts in Perth and are part of the RFBYC Women’s Keelboat Squad. Chelsea has an outstanding history in dinghy and skiff racing, winning Gold at the 2006 Youth Sailing World Championships and numerous national titles in the 420, 470 and 49er FX class.
To round up the team, Ryan Donaldson and Ethan Prieto-Low are under 25’s with match racing and fleet racing backgrounds. Ethan regularly skippers his Dragon class yacht as well as contesting international match racing events as a helmsman. Ryan is an accomplished dinghy and skiff sailor too recently coming off the international circuit in the highly competitive 49er class. A skilled match racer himself, he regularly coaches the match racing squads for RFBYC.
Ahern comments “We are looking forward to racing the brand new design Melges IC37 that has shown to be a very exciting boat with all the latest design features.”
Their team goal is to race competitively with the international teams and achieve a top overall score. They are proud to represent RFBYC in this prestigious regatta to continue the high profile that the club has in leading international events of this nature.
Practise sailing and registration is scheduled for the weekend with the championship racing getting underway from Tuesday 10 September.
Images from @NYYCInvitationalCup on Facebook