Prestigeous line-up

19 teams from around the world to compete in September's New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup regatta

Wednesday July 1st 2009, Author: Dana Paxton, Location: United Kingdom
When teams from the world’s leading yacht clubs descend upon Newport, R.I. for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup regatta, September 15-19, many of the competitors will be familiar with the waters surrounding this legendary port. After all, legions of sailors have made Newport a 'must sail' destination, hoping to race where the NYYC hosted the America’s Cup from 1930-1983. Of the now 19 teams representing 14 countries - just joining the competition is the Yacht Club Italiano of Genoa, Italy0– it is safe to say that many have been to Newport and enjoyed the cosmopolitan City by the Sea.

The Japan Sailing Federation’s team is comprised of two championship teams headed by successful one-design sailors Makoto Uematsu and Takashi Okura. Both are familiar with Newport and conditions on Rhode Island Sound, having competed many times in NYYC’s Annual Regatta and Race Week at Newport, both presented by Rolex. Okura’s Farr 40 Sled won its class at the 2006 Race Week and earned the Farr 40 North American Championship title.

Uematsu has campaigned his NYYC Swan 42 Esmeralda since 2007, when he debuted at Key West Race Week with a class win. His long-time crew mates Kazuhiro Takatsuki, Matsukichi Nishikawa, Manabu Yoshida and Eiichiro Hamasaki will join with Okura and his frequent crew Masahiro Ogawa, Kenichi Nakamura, Hideki Wakayama and Toshiro Honda, the team captain. Ogawa, Yoshida and Honda have sailed together for many years and were part of the Nippon Challenge for the America’s Cup.

The Japan Sailing Federation (JSAF) is an organization with two different purposes: serving as sailing’s national authority in Japan and an ocean racing yacht club. It was founded in 1875. Among the events it hosts are the Oshima Race (since 1951), Pearl Race (since 1960), Japan Cup (since 1985) and the Melbourne-Osaka Doublehanded Race (since 1987). Some highlights include sending the first sailor to the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936; establishing an offshore yacht organization named the “Nippon Ocean Racing Club” in 1948; hosting the first offshore yacht regatta in Japan in 1951; organizing yacht racing in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 and the Quarter Ton World championship in 1978; and challenging for the America’s Cup as the Nippon Challenge in 1992. The JSAF’s team participates in this regatta as a racing yacht club.

Toshiro Honda, the team’s captain and a frequent personality on the World Match Racing Tour, said the team is focused on finishing in the top five. “We have already started training on Uematsu-san’s Swan 42 in Japan,” said the former America’s Cup mainsail trimmer (Nippon Challenge 2000). “We look forward to sailing against the world’s top yacht club teams in Newport.”

For Jorge Del Tarre, skipper of the team representing Real Club Náutico de Barcelona (RCNB), this regatta ranks at the top along with the world’s great regattas. “We are proud to be invited and to represent the RCNB in this important event,” he said. “Of course we hope to do as well as we can, and to enjoy the opportunity of sailing this regatta.”

The team was selected by the RCNB Sports Committee and includes tactician Alejandro Pérez Calzada, owner/skipper of Charisma, an S&S57, who has competed in the Rolex Middle Sea Race (class win in 2006), the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race (finished fourth) and the Rolex Fastnet Race.

“The crew has been training for several years in international races with Charisma,” said Calzada referencing crew members Jose Manuel Valades, Federico Garcia, Luis Mas, Josep Pujol, Luis Pujol, Francisco Bacquelaine and Joan Palli.

“Since the end of 2007, Charisma has sailed around the world taking part in the most prestigious regattas (such as) Antigua Sailing Week, Newport to Bermuda, Transpac, and Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race,” Calzada. “Also most of the crew members used to sail in different classes and in other sailing projects during the year, sometimes all together.”

The Real Club Náutico de Barcelona was established in 1879. The flag is a blue burgee with the register ensign of Barcelona of 1845 on the canton and the Royal Arms of Spain from 1759 to 1931 (Charles III to Alphonse XIII) in the center. The Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona and the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona merged in 1902 to form the Real Club Barcelona, but the relationship only lasted until 1909, when they broke apart. Both club houses are next to each other on Barcelona’s harbor.

The complete list of yacht clubs and sailing organizations competing in the NYYC Invitational Cup:

Japan Sailing Federation (Tokyo, Japan)
New York Yacht Club (New York, N.Y., USA)
Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (Hamburg, Germany)
Nyländska Jaktklubben (Helsinki, Finland)
Real Club Nautico Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Hamilton, Bermuda)
Royal Canadian Yacht Club (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Royal Cork Yacht Club (County Cork, Ireland)
Royal St. George Yacht Club (County Dublin, Ireland);
Royal Danish Yacht Club (Hellerup, Denmark)
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (Hong Kong, China)
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (Auckland, New Zealand)
Royal Ocean Racing Club (London, England)
Royal Thames Yacht Club (London, England)
Royal Yacht Squadron (London, England)
St.Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco, Calif., USA);
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy)
Yacht Club de France (Paris, France)
Yacht Club Italiano (Genoa, Italy)

Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Sperry Top-Sider are the official sponsors of the NYYC Invitational Cup. Compliments of Rolex, the most prestigious maker of timepieces in the world and a long-time supporter of sailing, video of each day’s racing will be produced by Emmy Award winner and Rolex Testimonee Gary Jobson. The daily shows will air online during the regatta at and as part of a 30-minute television program on ESPN2 in the Fall. Sperry Top-Sider, the iconic American brand which invented the world's first boat shoe, hereby defining a new category of footwear, is the event’s exclusive footwear supplier. Sperry will debut its latest evolution in performance footwear, the Ventus (the Latin term for “wind”) and will provide this footwear to all competitors, prior to its retail launch in late October.

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