Sailing Summary: Baldwin Cup, CdM to Cabo, and the Shawnee

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This weekend:

Baldwin Cup, March 28-April 1, NHYC (Invitational Team Race, H20’s)

Starting this week, Newport Harbor Yacht Club will be hosting the Fifth Annual Baldwin Cup Team Race. This event has become one of the premier team racing events in the US, and is open to spectators all weekend.

The Baldwin Cup Team Race is a three-day regatta where all the racing happens right off the NHYC main dock. The mooring field will be cleared, so spectators are that much closer to the action. Over the course of the weekend, the Race Committee will run some 150 races between 12 teams from all over the country and across the Atlantic.

If there’s one local event that it’s worth coming by to watch as a spectator, this is it.  The Baldwin Cup event is different.  With play-by-play announcing, on board GPS tracking for a bird’s eye view, and golf tournament type scoreboards to help track results, this is a sailing event that is actually fun to come out and watch.

The Baldwin Cup has steadily built its reputation as a top invitational team race, and is a prized invitation for yacht club teams throughout the US and internationally.  Teams invited this year include Annapolis Yacht Club, Boston Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club (UK), Seattle Yacht Club, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (NY), Southern Yacht Club (LA), & St. Francis Yacht Club.

What is Team Racing?

Unlike other fleet racing, team racing pits a team of four against another team of four boats, and winning teams are based on the combined score of all four boats on a team.  This forces team players to have tremendous boat-handling ability and quick reactions to windshifts and tactical situations. Team racing also requires a thorough understanding of the sailing rules, along with good speed and tactics.  At its best, team racing is like a well-choreographed rugby scrum; it might get a little dirty and messy, but the top teams generally find a way to eke out a win.

While there was some skepticism surrounding this new format, Jon and Gale Pinckney played instrumental roles kicking off this event.  In the four short years since its inception, the Baldwin Cup Team Race has become an institution among national-level team racers and is now one of the most sought after invitations in the country.

The Baldwin Cup Team Race was conceived in the fall of 2007 as a way to reinvigorate the US Yacht Club Challenge. The event is named in honor of the Baldwin family, longtime members of NHYC.  Grant Baldwin was a staff commodore at NHYC and a well-known international sailing judge.  He was also widely recognized for his radio communication support work during the bi-annual Transpac race to Hawaii; even today, Grant is still known as the “Voice of the Transpac.”

More information about the Baldwin Cup is available at www.nhyc.org and www.Baldwincup.com.

Corona del Mar to Cabo Race – March 29-April 5, Balboa Yacht Club (PHRF, Offshore)

The Corona del Mar to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race is an invitational race for monohull boats for unique trophies presented by Balboa Yacht Club. The course will be from Newport Beach approximately 800 nm SSE to a finish near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Two start dates are planned with slower handicap rated boats starting today (Friday) and faster handicap rated boats starting tomorrow.

Starting Friday, March 30th (class C and D):

Derivative, J125; Flaca, SC50; Medusa, SC52; Reinrag, J125; Adios, J120; Between the Sheets, SunOD52; Naos2, First 30: Pole Dancer, J120; Swazik, Swan 45; Sabrina Calkins 50; Xpletive, X41.

Starting Saturday, March 31st (Class A and B):

Bad Pak STP 65; Medicine Man Andrews 63; Pendragon Davidson 70; Alchemy Andrews 70; Condor, Andrews 70; Grand Illusion, SC70; Holua, SC70; OEX, SC70; Valkyrie, SC70.

Look for racing updates and results at www.balboayachtclub.com.

Thoughts on the Shawnee

I’ve been following recent events and issues swirling around Shawnee and Dennis Holland with mixed feelings.

As a property owner/resident, I certainly can appreciate the concerns related to refurbishing a large wooden boat in a quiet residential Newport neighborhood.  I’m not sure I’d be too exited if this project was sitting next door or down the street.

At the same time, I can’t help feeling a fair amount of empathy for Holland, who by most accounts is an accomplished shipwright and an upstanding local sailor.  Holland is clearly chasing his own “quixotic” goal here.  Most wooden rebuild project like this are done solely for passion, and Holland will likely pour far more time and resources into this project than he could ever feasibly get back out after it is complete.

Finally, I’m also mindful that Shawnee is one of those special local boats that was a big part of Newport Harbor’s nautical heritage.  I grew up racing around the Shawnee as a kid in my Sabot.  Through the late ’60s and early ’70s, this 75-foot classic schooner was the largest boat in our local mooring fields, and was still being actively sailed at that point.

I find myself hoping there’s a “win/win” solution out there where Holland can continue this restoration project without undue disruption (and yes, maybe I’m the one chasing windmills here).

Unfortunately, the alternative is a “lose/lose” scenario where Holland and Shawnee both get caught up in city bureaucracy, and this significantly delays or even entirely scuttles the restoration project.  In that case, also among the  losers would be our local sailing community, which is generally enriched any time individuals take on historic preservation projects of this nature.

– John Drayton

Upcoming Events:

April 1, Spring Dinghy Regatta, Lido Isle YC (Junior Sabot, Laser, FJ)

April 7 – Earl Corkett Regatta – NHYC (H20, Finn, Lehman 12)

April 8 – Easter Sunday

April 14 – Opening Ceremonies, Newport Sea Base (Boy Scouts)

April 15, Lorin Weiss Series #2, Bahia Corinthian YC (H20)

April 21, Super Sabot Saturday, BYC (Adult Sabot)

April 21-22, Ahmanson Regatta, NHYC (PHRF, Offshore)

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