Baldwin ‘Brawl’ Set This Weekend

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In the Baldwin Cup, team racing is a contact sport.

This weekend 11 teams will compete in Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Baldwin Cup invitational team race.

While this event is only in its fourth year, it is already a prized invitation for top national team racing teams.  The combination of top-flight team racing competition, equalized Harbor 20 sailboats, and generally sunny California weather have made this one of the most popular team racing events in the U.S.  This year, a team representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club (Great Britain) will become the first international entrant in this event.

Team racing is like a full-contact variation of traditional sailboat racing.  If an America’s Cup match race is like a gentleman’s boxing match, team racing is more like a barroom brawl.

With four boat teams, aggressive coordinated moves have names like “picks,” “traps” and “pins.”  On-the-water umpires make real-time calls, waving flags at racers to call out penalties.  Trash-talking is common, especially between long-time rival teams.  Even the boats used for this event have heavy rubber bumpers installed to help minimize damage.   During these short races, dramatic first-to-last lead changes are common as each team jockeys to control positions at the finish.

Three local teams will be competing in this year’s event.

Balboa Yacht Club will be represented by Carson Reynolds, Alan Andrews, Peter Fallon, Casey Schilling, Judy Gorski, Christine Robertson, Kelly Buchan and Greg Newman.

Host Newport Harbor Yacht Club will field two teams, the first with Adam Deermount, Whitney Loufek, Andy Beeckman, Phil Ramser, Tommy Leach, Mikee Anderson-Mitterling, Bill Menninger and Peter Stemler.

The second NHYC team includes Peter Wells, Jeff Gordon, Jon Pinckeny, Gale Pinckney, Chris Raab, Jeff Condon, Caleb Silsby, and John Whitney.

Past Baldwin Cup winners New York Yacht Club and Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans) will be returning this year with their top racing teams.  Other top contenders are expected to include St Francis, Larchmont, and Boston yacht clubs.

There should be great dockside spectating off the main dock at Newport Harbor YC all weekend.  Expert team racing commentators are scheduled to be present each day to help spectators keep up on all the action.  Even the main NHYC mooring fields have been cleared out to help bring this exciting racing right up against the dock.  Watching sailing is sometimes compared to watching grass grow; this is definitely an event that will change that paradigm.

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