New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta - Getting it Right on Father’s Day

Originally posted in Sail World on June 15, 2014

160th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2014 – Though light, shifty winds had an unusual stronghold on this year’s 160th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, most of the 189 teams competing knew how to take it all in stride. In particular, Doug and Dick DeVos, brothers from Grand Rapids, Mich., couldn’t have asked for a better Father’s Day gift than getting to sail with their sons, Dalton (22) and Ryan (age 23), respectively, on separate boats and against each other in the Melges 32 class.

‘My brother and I grew up sailing with our father on his yacht Windquest,’ said Dick DeVos, ‘and he always felt like he was working for us, because we were the ones pushing the program and he was the one sitting on the rail. Doug or I would be driving, and we thought ‘this is a pretty good deal!’’ Laughing, DeVos added, ‘Now our sons have turned it around on us, and they’re driving; it doesn’t seem as good of a deal as it was when I was a kid…I might be the oldest guy on the rail of a Melges 32 at this point!’

After adding one race to the single races sailed on Friday and Saturday, Doug and Dalton DeVos finished with a second overall on Delta, while Dick and Ryan DeVos finished third with their boat Volpe. (Winning the class with all firsts was Argo, steered by Jason Carroll, who is a Melges 32 World Champion and two-time defending National Champion.)

‘Sailing with Dad is a lot of fun,’ said Dalton, the son of Doug DeVos. ‘Sometimes it’s hard with his work schedule to get all of us on the boat at the same time, but when we do, there’s nothing better. That was the whole point of starting the program, to sail together, and when we can sail with Uncle Dick and Ryan, as well, it makes it that much better. It’s a two-boat program.’

Another father-son team could be found sailing on Erbil Arkin’s Turkish entry Tempus Fugit. The 90-foot Spirit of Tradition beauty, which finished second to the Eggemoggin 47 Lark in Classics Class 3, was designed by Rob Humphries and his son Tom Humphries, who said the yacht ‘leans on history, but has its own DNA.’

And not to leave moms out of the picture, Terrapin, the Andrews 68 that finished eighth overall in Class 7 ORR (won by the Pearson 39 Simpatico), sails with pink jerseys, hats, and a bow painted on its hull, raising awareness for breast cancer research. Its owner Jon Litt explained: ‘For my 50th birthday, my crew asked me what I wanted from them and I suggested giving to cancer research rather than buying me something. (Litt’s mom has been battling breast cancer for 10 years.) They did better than that and launched a campaign in May to raise $50,000 for my 50th; in three weeks we have raised $54,000!’

‘The weather has been challenging,’ said James Madden, owner of the Swan 60 Stark Raving Mad, who counts this as his seventh Annual Regatta and today rose to second behind the Ker 43 Otra Vez in IRC 3 class, pushing yesterday’s leader Spookie back to fourth. ‘Friday was flukey (in the Around the Island Race, which doesn’t count toward the weekend series), and yesterday it was non-existent at times, so it was looking a lot better this morning. ‘
Sailors were greeted on the docks with a brisk northerly, but it didn’t hold steady throughout the day, resulting in another ‘glass-off’ (as Madden called it) for boats in the ORR class and three PHRF classes sailing Navigators Courses in northern Narragansett Bay. But while many boats in those classes were not able to finish within their time limits, several boats in other classes made notable gains on the scoreboard after adding today’s single race to one sailed yesterday.

They included the Mini Maxi 72 Bella Mente, which displaced the 90-foot Rambler at the top of the scoreboard in IRC Class 1; The IRC 52 Hooligan, which picked off Interlodge and Sled to take first place overall in IRC 2; and the Sydney 43 Christopher Dragon, which replaced yesterday’s leader, the X-41 Pendragon, in IRC 4.

The Etchells class, which got in no races yesterday, left the docks early today, but still only completed one race, which left race winner Bruce Golison’s Midlife Crisis as the class winner.

In the end it was all about the experience, no matter who you were. ‘This is a sensational venue,’ said Dick DeVos, ‘and there’s something special about Newport. I remember the first time I came here when 12 Metres were warming up for the America’s Cup. For me, as a kid growing up loving sailing, it was a sacred moment to come to Newport for the first time and be a part of this community that is so oriented to sailing.’

The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is the oldest regatta in the country, and this year’s event has entered the history books as the largest Annual Regatta on record. Engraved overall trophies in each class were given at tonight’s (Sunday) Rolex Awards Party. Rolex also awards a timepiece to the overall winner (determined by the organizers) of Saturday’s and Sunday’s combined series of races, which officially constitutes the 160th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. This special prize, as well as the Great Corinthian Trophy for yacht club teams of three or more boats posting the best class finishes, will be awarded at the Annual Awards Dinner, held on November 13 at the New York Yacht Club’s main clubhouse in New York City.