The Manhasset Bay Challenge Cup is the oldest yachting trophy competed for annually in the United States. Only the famous America's Cup and the Brooklyn Cup precede it, and they are competed for at longer intervals. Since 1902, the Challenge Cup has been won by 26 different clubs from Chicago, to Marblehead, to Bermuda with Eastern YC of Marblehead winning it nine times. Manhasset Bay YC has been the victor seven times, (1903,1930, 1965, 1971, 1975, 1995, 1998 and 2002). This year Bill Simon and Einar Haukland represented MBYC and came in 5th overall. Eastern YC won the Cup, again, giving it a scorecard of 10 wins since the inception of the Cup. Seven teams competed - listed here in the order of finishing: Eastern YC (Dru Slattery); Cottage Park YC (Erik Goethert); American YC (Larry Ehrhardt); Noroton YC (Rick Doerr); MBYC; Boothbay Harbor YC (Kenneth Colburn); and Corinthian YC (Carolyn Zaleski).
With port-tack starts and bizarre shifts, anything could and did happen during the last days of the Lands' End Larchmont NOOD Regatta. This two-day regatta found light air that streaked across the sound in shifting patches, and competitors were scattered across their racecourses, leveraging hard for extra wind and a lucky shift or two. There were 81 boats total, with J/105s leading the pack with 17. For the second day of racing, it was just about impossible to predict what would happen on either of the two racecourses set up by the Larchmont YC race committee. The big question was whether or not the northerly would hold, and teams were hopeful for a sea breeze to fill in before the cut-off time of 2:30 p.m. With a strong southbound current on the Sound, there was more than one entertaining starting sequence. There were boats port-tacking entire fleets while others struggled to get upwind to the line. Several local sailors competed in the regatta over the Sept. 9-10 weekend: Out of Reach, a Frers 33, Louis Nees, PWYC, 3; Promise Kept, Beneteau 36.7, Sandy and Leslie Lindenbaum, NSYC, 2; Freedon, J109, Mario Fichera, PWYC, 4; Georgetown 2, J109, George Marks, Roslyn, NY,-14; Avalanche, Farr 39.5 Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, PWYC, 5; and Andiamo, J105, Paul Strauch, MBYC, 8.
US SAILING's Adams Cup, presented to the winner of the U.S. Women's Championship, was up for grabs again this past week. Believed to be the oldest women's championship in the country, if not the world, the Adams Cup has been held by numerous well-known female sailors since it was first awarded in 1924. After winning regional qualifying events, 11 teams have made it to this year's National Championship, which is sailed in J/24s at Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland, Ohio. By the end of the competition on Sept. 17, it was a Californian sweep for the U.S. Women's Championship, as the team of Vicki Sodaro (Tiburon, CA), Stephanie Wondolleck (San Rafael, CA), Karina Vogen Shelton (Watsonville, CA), Emily French (Santa Cruz, CA) representing Northern California won the title to take home US SAILING's Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Trophy. This was the second time for Sodaro to win the Adams Cup. The Sportsmanship Award was give to the team from Oyster Bay: Anne Mooney (Helm), Christina Blaise, Alexandra Hahn, Nina DiNigris.
A little history of the Adams Cup: What is believed to be "the first women's championship ever held in the world" - surely the first in North America - was for the Hodder Cup placed in competition by Rear Commodore James R. Hodder of the Boston Yacht Club in 1924. The first competition was held at its Hull Station with crews of two girls of 12 years or over in 14-foot Marconi catboats. Listed on the Notice of Race were William Upham Swan as "Originator of Women's Sailing Contest." He was yachting editor of the Boston Globe and secretary of the Boston Dinghy Club, and listed under him was Leonard M. Fowle, who succeeded him on the Globe and who as executive vice president of the Intecollegiate Yacht Racing Association took intercollegiate sailing continental. The Cup, immediately retired by Ruth and Esther Sears of the Cohasset Yacht Club, was replaced the next year with a trophy presented by Charles Francis Adams, II in honor of his wife. It was retired in 1929 by the Cohasset Yacht Club after winning it three times. Mrs. Adams replaced it with one referred to as Trophy 'A' to become the property of the Yacht Club first winning it three times and Trophy 'B' to become, on 'A's being retired, a perpetual challenge trophy. This occurred in 1934 when the Indian Harbor Yacht Club on Long Island Sound won it for the third time with Lorna Whittelsey at the helm. She later became a distinguished sailor in both one-designs and offshore boats.
From 1927 until 1959 racing was in keelboats by which time a centerboarder was re-introduced, and Gold Cup courses were in use. In 1963, the Women's Committee became the Adams Cup Committee, and its chairman in 1974, Helen Ingerson, had the distinction of being the first woman elected to the USYRU Board of Directors. Beginning in 1993, the Adams and Mallory Championships have been held together in alternate years. The two fleets use the same race course, sail different classes of boats and enjoy social events together. The joint events have sometimes been hosted by two cooperating, nearby clubs - otherwise by a single club.
In the history of the Trophy four skippers were particularly outstanding: Francis McElwain with four straight wins for the Cohasset Yacht Club, Lorna Whittlesey Hibberd with five wins under the burgee of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club, Allegra Knapp Mertz with four for American Yacht Club and Sylvia Shethar (Rusty) Everdell with four representing the American Yacht Club and one for the Duxbury Yacht Club. 'Leggie' Mertz also served many years on the Women's Championship Committee as well as being president of the Blue Jay Association - a role that made her a linchpin for junior sailing. For more information on the Adam's Cup, see www.ussailing.com.