South Africa Tops International YC Challenge in NYC

Last weekend, 19 teams of amateur sailors from 14 nations sailed in the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge in gorgeous sailing conditions on the Hudson River, right next to the Statue of Liberty. The races took place in Manhattan YC’s bright red J/24s; races were started off their famous floating clubhouse, the Sparkman & Stephens designed “Honorable William Wall,” anchored in New York Harbor just north of Ellis Island. Winning the regatta with considerable ease was the Royal Cape Yacht Club from Capetown, South Africa. They sailed fast and smart, avoiding any unnecessary mistakes. This well-practiced team is used to sailing big waves and even bigger winds off the tip of Capetown. The South Africans arrived to the regatta without fanfare and at the Opening Ceremony, described themselves as the “most humble” team at the regatta. They told the story about how they scraped together funds for their 36-hour flight to New York City by soliciting donations. They were surprised by the many generous sources that collectively made their participation possible. Despite their challenges, they easily led the regatta after sailing three races on the first day, posting a 5-2-1. Over the next two days, they never slowed down, adding a 7-2-2-1-2 to close the regatta with 15 points net and win by a stellar margin of 5 points. Starting out in second after the first day were the Royal Danish Yacht Club team from Denmark. They managed to post very consistent scores of 4-4-2-2-3-4-8-1 for 20 points net to secure a firm grasp on the silver overall. Third was taken by the Swiss team from Lake Geneva, sailing for the Cercle de la Voile de la Societe Nautique de Geneve. They started out with a humble record of 9-1-12-10, but then closed with a flourish, posting a 4-1-3-10 for a total of 38 points net. They narrowly beat out another team of dinghy and one-design sailors from Bermuda’s Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. The Bermuda team had a slow start, amassing a 3-16-8-12, but then reeled off a 1-6-4-5 in the last four races for 39 points net, just missing the podium by one point. For more Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge sailing information, visit

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