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

Two Melbourne Teams at the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge in New York

The results are in and it looks like it was a tough regatta with plenty of strong competition, look below for the results

Mr J24, a.k.a. Hugo Ottoway and friends are currently in the big Apple preparing to sail in the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge.

This follows on from the team from Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron sailing in the same regatta last year. Competeing this year are two teams from RMYS again – the crews are : Peter Yoon, Allicia Rae, Kathleen Mackian, Jade McDonell, Craig Nobbs, Cherry Birch, Hugo Ottoway, James Torode and Sean Bly.

Ther are 20 teams from all round the world so it is a real micro world champs set in the famous river area around the Statue of Liberty with the buildings of Manhattan as a backdrop.

Of course we wish them well in their competition, I gather the trick is to sail the river current more so than the wind. Hugo told me before he went that the plan is to copy the locals in the first couple of races and then kick some butt, so we are expecting a decent result from the master, who incidentally fell off a ladder recently and still hasn’t got full use of his right arm back yet. Here are a few points from the NOR to give you the picture.

Purpose of Event:

The purpose of the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge is to bring together yacht clubs from around the world to promote international goodwill through friendly competition. This is an invitational regatta. Any yacht club can request an entry.

Yachts & Equipment:

This regatta will be raced on identical J/24 sailboats provided by the Manhattan Sailing Club. The club will provide all sails, sheets and other racing equipment. Teams must use the equipment provided. No additional boat equipment may be brought aboard by any teams. Teams will switch boats after each race.
Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
1200-1800 – Champagne rides to the Statue of Liberty when your team arrives.    1800 – Welcoming Reception on floating clubhouse in harbor (optional)
Thursday, August 14, 2014
1100 – Practice Sailing   1400 – Practice Race       1800 – Opening Ceremony
Friday, August 15, 2014
1100 – Race 1 followed by Races 2 & 3    1800 – Regatta dinner & party
Saturday, August 16, 2014
1100 – Race 4 followed by Races 5 & 6        1800 – Regatta dinner and party
Sunday, August 17, 2014
1100 – Race 7 followed by Race 8        1800 – Dinner & Awards Ceremony
Racing Area:

Races will be held in New York Harbor. The scenery is spectacular with the skyline of Manhattan on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other. The start and finish of all races will be from the Manhattan Sailing Club’s floating clubhouse which is permanently anchored north of Ellis Island.
Courses will be windward-leeward. Inflatable marks will be set by Race Committee. Because the starting location is fixed, races may start in any direction, including upwind or downwind.
Local Representative:

In addition to your crew, one Local Representative will sail on each boat. The “Local Rep” will provide local knowledge and a VHF radio to communicate with the Race Committee. Local Reps will stay with the boat while racing teams rotate.
All races will be run from the harbor clubhouse and spectators are invited to watch. The clubhouse can hold up to 149 people and transportation is provided by club launch.
So lets see how they go. You can go straight to their website here  http://www.myc.org/MoreInfo/Annual/DennisConner
Our own Hugo Ottoway has come 9th and we are looking forward to a news exclusive just as soon as Hugo cane email it through. Results

Dennis Conner Challenge Results
Dennis Conner Challenge Results
Maybe next year you want to enter a team – I am told that it is a great time over there.
Also in the same style of overseas regattas is the Pacific Keelboat Challenge in Auckland NZ. Go here to read about that.   Pacific Keelboat Challenge