Local sailors doing well at the annual Newport Regatta


NEWPORT – In the wake of Tropical Storm Elsa, the weather cleared up to the delight of sailors who competed in the Newport Regatta last weekend. Sail Newport’s annual main event has been going on for 37 years.

After its debut as a Shields-only regatta, the Newport Regatta has adapted to the growth of a wide variety of one-design groups, both new and veteran classes. More recently, with most major sporting events moved, rescheduled, or postponed, the Newport Regatta is back on track to boost participation to pre-COVID participation levels.

This year’s event brought together American sailors from 11 states in four racing classes – Sailors Melges IC 37, 12 Meter, F-18 and VX One competed in two days of racing.

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The most recent and largest class to participate was the Melges IC 37. The class of boats is only a few years old, but has achieved international popularity for professional and Corinthian sailors.

Saturday and Sunday the race was extremely close. At the end of the regatta, only seven points separate the winners of first, second and third places

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Current national class champions, co-coxswains Drew Freides (Los Angeles, Calif.) And Bill Ruh (Newport and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Have won an impressive three of the seven races, not only winning the class trophy. but winning the Dr. Robin Wallace Performance Award Global Regatta.

“Our team has grown stronger for this since last year,” said Ruh. However, he realized, after a sixth place in the first race at the start of the regatta on Saturday, that “we had work to do”.

Newport sailor Chris Culver and his team aboard the Blazer II sail the course on Sunday during the Newport Regatta.  The team took third place in the Melges IC 37 class.

Rus said the team has refocused and achieved their goals, winning the next three races.

“We had some good starts on the clear lanes,” said Rus. He added that the team has found its rhythm, able to change modes with every wind condition.

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When the wind finally picked up enough to sail on Sunday, after an hour’s delay on land for all classes, the Freides / Ruh team on “Pacific Yankee” took on the challenge of light and unstable conditions. Although comfortably seated at the top, the team had to calibrate its performance.

“We certainly didn’t have it in the bag for today,” said Ruh, noting that the team missed a big change on the downwind leg when it fell deep into the fleet. “But we got our way back.” This seventh place would be their drop race.

Just three points behind “Pacific Yankee”, compatriot Tyler Sinks (San Diego, Calif.) Finished second overall with his team SDYC.

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The teams know each other and have a two-boat training program together on the West Coast ahead of the New York Yacht Club’s Biennial Invitational Cup this fall in Newport. Participation in the Newport Regatta was part of this preparation for the fall event on the same waters.

The crew aboard the Pacific Yankee, right, had a very successful Newport regatta.  The boat was piloted by Drew Freides and Bill Ruh.

Chris Culver (Newport) and the team on Blazer II were just four points behind and finished third overall on his Melges IC 37.

In the 12 meter class, Jack LeFort aboard Challenge 12 took the first place trophy, Gunther Buerman (Newport) on KZ3 came in second and the USMMA Sailing Foundation team on Enterprise finished third.

In the F-18 class, the Massachusetts F-18 catamaran sailors swept the top three places. Michael Easton (Burlington) and Tripp Burd (Boston) finished first on Scorpion. Todd Riccardi and Matt Graham (Swampscott) took second, and Joseph Valente (Quincy) and James Zellmar (Sarasota, Fla.) Won the third place trophy.

VX One sailors Doug Clark (Mystic, Connecticut) and Jeffrey Hayden (Portsmouth) topped their class with seven first place wins in an eight-race series.

Two other local teams finished second and third respectively. Ian Maccini (Jamestown) and Curtis Adam (Jamestown) won second place over Blue Lobster. Other sailors from the local fleet Phil Hallowell (Middletown) and Dave Moffett (Jamestown) finished third overall.

For more information, the full scores and the image gallery: voilenewport.org.