St. Francis Yacht Club wins 100th Lipton Cup
Chris Raab and his crew from St. Francis Yacht Club showered champagne on an 85-year-old dry spell after crossing the finish line for the 100th Lipton Cup challenge. The three-day regatta was a true test of skill, with competitors completing a full rotation through 12 charter boats in conditions that ranged from strong, full winds to shifty, unpredictable breezes. While teams like Newport Harbor excelled in the lighter winds, St. Francis demonstrated their versatility by competing well throughout the range of wind conditions. Some of the best competition didn't come from the 12 J/105s, but from the spectators. Throughout the day a swarm of boats circled the outside of the course, each hoping to secure a front row seat as history was made on the final day of the regatta's centennial installation. Each of the day's four races was filled with exciting sailing, lead changes and demanding technical maneuvers. In the first race of the day, San Francisco broke away from the fleet with an early gybe on the first downwind leg. Though the maneuver initially appeared premature, a wider look at the course revealed what skipper Chris Perkins noticed: the majority of the fleet had overshot the gate mark. San Francisco stole away with a significant lead and maintained their position all the way to the finish line. Behind them was San Diego, who under the direction of skipper Brad Rodi managed to pull off the most impressive comeback of the whole regatta. Between rounding the weather mark on the first lap and coming upwind off the gate mark, San Diego went from the 11th position to second. Four boats were OCS at the start of the next race, giving Seattle Yacht Club the opportunity to gain an early lead. With a solid race, they kept their position to finish in first place. Seattle repeated their victory with another first place victory in Race 11. Going into the final race, it was still anyone's game with a mere six point spread separating the top three teams: St. Francis, San Francisco and San Diego. St. Francis held tight to third place throughout the race, finishing behind Newport Harbor and Long Beach. They won the regatta with a total of 51 points, seven above San Diego who finished second. Newport Harbor's two first place finishes nudged them ahead of San Francisco for third place. Both teams had a total score of 60 points. Coronado rounded out the top five teams in fifth place with a total of 71 points. Overall, the regatta was an incredible showcase of talented, diverse sailing. Not only was the racing technical, but so was the equipment. This regatta featured the innovative RaceQs app, which allowed race fans from their home clubs to watch the action with a 3D race display online. Race replays are available through the Tracking link at the event website.