Consistency wins top race week prizes

27 September 2020

   
 

Fog and a disappearing breeze made getting racing in a distinct challenge. The Melges IC37 fleet started and finished a race in visibility that made seeing the competition a challenge, let alone the marks of the course, while the ORC fleet waited for the fog to clear before starting a race, only to see the wind evaporate halfway through. Sailors and race officials waiting patiently for the breeze to return, but it refused to fill before the 3 PM. deadline for a final start, and the three fleets headed for the dock with just one race completed between them and no changes to the podium standings.

Winning the three classes at Race Week were Vesper, skippered by David Team (Newport Beach, Calif.), in ORC 1; Impetuous, skippered by Paul Zabetakis (Jamestown, R.I.) in ORC 2, and Blazer II, skippered by Christopher Culver (Newport, R.I.), in the Melges IC37 class. Culver and Team, who was the overall winner among the two ORC groupings, each earned a Rolex Steel and Yellow Gold Submariner Date for their outstanding performances on the water during the regatta.

For David Team and his crew on Vesper, the deciding moment came in the class's final race, a 22-mile distance race in Narragansett Bay and on Rhode Island Sound sailed on Friday. "The start was key," says Team. "It allowed us to get to the right side and seek relief from the current off Jamestown. It was a great race, Fox got us at the end, but fortunately we corrected out on them."

In fact, not only did Vesper slip past Fox, but Hap Fauth's Maxi72 Bella Mente was able to sneak between the two boats in the final result for that race, turning a one-point deficit for Vesper into a one-point advantage in the overall standings.

"Thank you to the yacht club, the trustees and the race committee," says Teram. "It was great to go sailing again and, fortunately, we had some good Vesper weather. It made for interesting racing. We have had a great relationship with Fox from racing each other on the West Coast. [Skipper Victor Wild] is a great guy. It was great to race against the Bella Mente team as well. We just went out and sailed our own boat which is all you can do with a class that disparate."

In the ORC 2 class, Tom Sutton's Leading Edge (Houston, Texas) took the early lead with a pair of wins in the first two races. But once Zabetakis (left) and his team on Impetuous got a taste of victory it was all over. Impetuous won the final five races of the regatta to take a two-point win over Sutton, who was second in each of those five races.

"The boat was fast and it really pointed well so we were able to lift off other boats and keep lanes," says Zabetakis. "The crew work in the corners, they knew what to do. I remember in the old days watching what everyone was doing on the boat and telling them what to do. Now I just focus on driving and they do everything."

The next edition of Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex will take place in July of 2022.
 

   
 

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