Mar 28, 2012, 11:25 AM
Post #2 of 3
Located in Newport Beach, CA, Newport Harbor Yacht Club is among the most prominent west coast clubs in the United States, and the Ahmanson Cup was a hallmark event for the region. Curious about the background of the event and the motivation for the changes, NHYC member Robert Kinney explains:
Re: [sarasailor] 2012 Ahmanson Cup
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Newport Harbor Yacht Club has been hosting the Ahmanson Cup for as long as anyone can remember. During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, it was an ocean racing series with races such as Catalina and Return, Huntington Tidelands (around the oil islands), Ship Rock, Point Fermin, and a Gold Cup just for good measure. My earliest memories were when it was run under the CCA rating system, which then was moved to IOR in the 70’s and ran there until IOR faded in the 80’s.
The Ahmanson Cup was revamped and became a “day racing” series in the late 80’s and early 90’s as IOR participation slipped. The windward-leeward courses replaced the traditional ones, and the regatta started to turn to one design fleets - Farr 40, J/105, J/120, and Schock 35. Eventually the handicap racing changed from IOR to PHRF and a smattering of ORR and ORC.
But what we recognized was last year we only had two member entries participating, so we held a meeting with our boat owners who had racing type boats and asked “what would you like to do”? Overwhelmingly, the answer was “no more sausages”!!!
It was the decision of the club that we need an event that served our members, and if others wanted to join in, that's great too. The other thing we noticed were the short distance races were getting 80 entries, and we were having a tough time getting 40 to 50 boats for the buoy events.
The club was looking for something FUN and different, so we decided on pursuit races. Course length was important too, so we decided on 14 miles. This was long enough to do some sailing but short enough to get everybody back at the dock by 5:00pm. This format has already proven successful in San Diego with their Hot Rum series, and then we added a $10 Hamburger dinner on Saturday night along with $2 beers and a cocktail special.
We want everybody to come to the club and have some fun and not have to spend the national debt to sail. We lowered the entry fee to $25. Then to really get our members involved, we made out Opening Day race (a race from Los Angeles Harbor to Newport) the final race in our regatta. We even discussed trying to have one of the races finish off the Club dock, but chickened out when we heard that there would be some boats that drew 10.5-feet joining us.
We have posed a challenge to our local yacht clubs to get some participation. We offered that the top three boats from each club for the series will be scored. Each club would throw in $500 and the winning club gets the money for their junior program. Any other club who wants in on the action is welcome.
The hard part is the Ahmanson Cup was a successful regatta in last year's format with a good draw and several competitive fleets. But we elected to toss our success to the wind and try to make the regatta better for our members. Will it work? We hope so.
Did I mention that the first weekend of the Ahmanson Cup is the weekend prior to the Ensenada Race? We moved our dates back to the traditional weekend, so that out of town boats could come down and get the crew warmed up.
Come to Newport and Enjoy the FUN.