AYC 3-2-1 Invitational Brings Unique Format to New National Trend
Annapolis, MD (September 11, 2019) — A new trend is rapidly spreading through the sailboat racing world. Yacht clubs across the country are purchasing their own fleet of boats and utilizing them by conducting invitational events.
Newport Harbor Yacht Club in California established the Baldwin Trophy, a four-versus-four team racing regatta in Harbor 20s. New York Yacht Club initiated the Morgan Trophy, a three-on-three event using Sonars. Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans holds the Soiland Cup, a three-boat per team competition aboard Flying Scots.
Annapolis Yacht Club has created its own regatta that will be different from anything currently out there. Commodore Jim Ellis is proud to announce the inaugural AYC 3-2-1 Invitational will be held this coming weekend with a total of seven teams participating.
“AYC has been traveling to these regattas and seeing how great they are,” said John Howell, co-chairman of the AYC 3-2-1 Invitational. “Our leadership wisely decided that AYC needs to be on the circuit and in the game.”
Howell, a Galesville native who was a member of the sailing program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, explained the younger generation is driving this nationwide phenomenon.
“It has become obvious the sailing world is changing. You’ve got an emerging group of young sailors that came through the high school and college scene and did a ton of team racing along the way,” Howell said. “They want to continue racing post-college, but do not want to get involved in an arms race of having the best and fastest boat. They would rather continue with team racing using keelboats.”
What separates the AYC 3-2-1 Invitational from those previously mentioned and others is the format and types of boats being used. Competitors participating in next weekend’s regatta must race three-on-three, two-on-two, and one-on-one – hence the name of the regatta.
“What’s unique about the event is that big boats are being used and the format will change. It is a combination of three-on-three team racing, two-on-two team racing, and one-on-one match racing,” said Bill Jorch, co-chairman of the AYC 3-2-1 Invitational. “This regatta will require varied skills and test the sailors in different ways.”
Annapolis Yacht Club owns a fleet of eight J/22 sloops and has two others being donated to serve as platforms for the three-on-three and two-on-two match racing. AYC and J/30 fleet members Bob Rutsch and Ron Anderson are strong supporters of the event and after providing their boats for the “dry run” in the spring are once again loaning their J/30s for the invitational regatta.
“We wanted the same group of sailors representing each yacht club to have to sail in all the different disciplines,” Jorch said. “We chose a boat big enough to require a crew of six.”
Bebop (Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello) and Insatiable (Ron Anderson) – two of the most successful J/30s in Annapolis – will both be impeccably prepared to ensure a fair match race.
Annapolis Yacht Club is fielding two separate teams and will be joined by entries from Fishing Bay Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, and Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Rhode Island will be represented by a combination of sailors from Ida Lewis Yacht Club and Bristol Yacht Club. Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis will round out the field.
Racing will begin on Friday morning with all three disciplines running concurrently on two adjacent courses set on the Severn River off Lake Ogleton. Team racing will be conducted on a box course that features two short reaching legs while match racing will be held on a standard windward-leeward course.
Annapolis Yacht Club organizers will have 11 US Sailing-certified umpires on the two courses – nine for team racing and two for match racing. Decisions regarding fouls and protests will be made immediately on the water.
“One cool aspect of the regatta is there will be three races taking place simultaneously on side-by-side courses. This regatta will be action-packed and very spectator-friendly,” Howell said.
Jorch, a former Georgetown University sailor and AYC member since April 2014, said the club conducted a test event in May and things ran smoothly. Jorch said the goal is to run three round-robin series so each team races every other team once in each discipline.
“We wanted to hold a team racing championship that was unique and different. To our knowledge, this regatta is the first of its kind and is designed to test the versatility of all the sailors involved,” he said.
Annapolis Yacht Club has been holding team race practices every Monday night for three years now with 10-15 members regularly attending. Leaders within that group have been exploring the idea of having AYC host a new invitational and kicked around several plans before settling on the 3-2-1 format.
“It incorporates old school matching racing with traditional team racing. All the wins and losses count the same so the magic here is that you need depth to the team,” Howell said. “Winning will require having an all-around team. Showing up with three college All-American team race drivers is not going to be good enough.”
Annapolis Yacht Club has one team consisting of JR Maxwell, Charlie Lomax, Patrick Floyd, Richard Born, Sarah Russell, and Gina Henderson. AYC is fielding a second team made up of Howell, Jorch and his wife Cordo, Cole Allsopp, Lucy Loe, Maria Leffingwell (Friday), and Marisa Golison (Saturday/Sunday).
AYC will host a formal dinner party for all participants and guests on Friday night at the main clubhouse. A more casual party featuring food, drinks, and music will be held at the new AYC Sailing Center on Saturday night with the awards ceremony slated for Sunday afternoon at the same location.
Barbados Tourism is serving as presenting sponsor of the AYC 3-2-1 Invitational as part of its two-event package that kicked off with the Annapolis-to-Newport Race. Other significant supporters of the regatta are David A. Morrow-Maritime Insurance International, Lessans Praley & McCormick P.A., Herman Born and Sons, The General Ship Repair Corporation, Mount Gay Rum, Forward Beer, and Jackson Family Wines.