The two Manhattan Yacht Club race teams are all smiles in November on the happy island of Bermuda as they prepare for their first experience on International One Design boats. These boats personify beauty, grace and style. Racing in this fleet is close and competitive.

Update from Commodore Fortenbaugh
This book changed a lot. It is the 75th Anniversary book of the International One Design (IOD) class and was presented to our Club by Rick Thompson (center) at the final night party in Bermuda. Also in the picture is Luigi Galbiati (left) who helped organize our teams in Bermuda.

When you read this book, some important things jump out at you. The IOD fleet has a great history with their first competitions in 1937. Fifty years later in 1987, Manhattan Yacht Club opened its doors. The spirit of the IOD class is very similar to our Club's spirit. We are looking for competitive racing which is close and exciting while also having reasonable and regulated costs. In the IOD class, you are limited to three hauls a year and the fleet purchases one sail each season in unison. We are amatuer sailors looking for boats where we can compete on an even level without having to invest all our free time in practice. And we like our boats to also be comfortable for day sailing past the Statue of Liberty and cruising with friends and family. Many of the same philosophies which guided Cornelius Shields to found the class also guide our Club. 

As we approach our 30th Anniversary next year (which is also the 80th Anniversary of the IOD Class), I believe we can do something special by establishing a fleet of IODs at our Club. The IOD is a great class that all ages and skill levels can enjoy. This would help change New York Harbor for the better and give our top racers a unique and world class platform to entertain sailors from the around the world and also travel ourselves!

- Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh
38 Members Travel to Bermuda!

After our sailing season ended here in New York Harbor, 38 Members hopped on airplanes and flew to the happy island of Bermuda in mid-November. They were greeted with large smiles, warm temperatures and a great international sailing regatta at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. This was the perfect capstone to a great 2016 sailing season.

Our Club was invited to race on International One Designs, thanks to the efforts of Bermuda sailors Paula Lewin and Rick Thompson. Paula had been introduced to Commodore Fortenbaugh by our Patron Dennis Conner the year before. She knew our Club was hoping to race in Bermuda, and according to legend, she cornered Rick at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club bar one evening.  Rick relates how Paula pressed him to invite her friends from Manhattan. Luckily Rick agreed and life will never be the same.

Rick was able to offer our Club two berths in the regatta. We were represented by our top Tuesday team headed by Commodore Fortenbaugh along with Luigi Galbiati, Malcolm Forbes, Matt Winalski & Adam Sandberg (grey boat above).  The second berth went to our top Wednesday team headed by Mike Barry along with Andreas Giacoumis, Sean Joyce & Pedro Lorson (black boat above). All of our racing sailors are pictured below standing in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club trophy room with the Bermuda-Manhattan Cup.

Since we are the Manhattan Yacht Club, we usually travel with a social team in addition to our  racing teams. This fall, 29 more Members joined the expedition to bring our total traveling team to 38 sailors (this surpassed our previous record of 35 sailors who traveled to Monaco in 2007 for the Primo Cup)! Most of our sailors stayed in the luxurious Hamilton Princess Hotel which is only a short walk from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

The regatta began with an Official Welcoming on Wednesday evening. Racing was scheduled to start on Thursday but winds were topping 35 knots. We waited around the yacht club until lunch when the decision was made to postpone. Then we headed out to a super special tour of the Artemis America's Cup compound, thanks to our great friend Craig Christensen. Craig is the President of Morgan's  Point, an exciting new development in Bermuda which will include the Caroline Bay Marina. 

The eyes of the world will be focused on Bermuda next June for the America's Cup competition. It will be a huge show! The AC teams have already set up shop in Bermuda and their race compounds are humming with activity. Craig arranged for our Members to get a special behind the scenes tour of the Artemis Compound. This was so V-VIP that we had to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed through the doors! And what a show! Artemis has built a huge building with crew quarters upstairs, along with high-tech conference, computer and weight rooms. We got a quick peek at foil comparisons posted on the wall by the engineers, but that is all we are allowed to say!

Photo: MYC Members at the Artemis compound after the incredible behind the scenes tour. Our host Craig Christensen is second from left. 

With no racing on Thursday, everyone had extra energy to burn, which led to our big Club dinner at Blu Restaurant overlooking Bermuda. Blu set up a private dining room and one long table for almost 30 sailors. The formality of the dinner raised everyone's spirits and eloquence beyond what is normally considered a safe level. One by one, people stood during the evening to deliver a toast, each trying to outdo the previous speaker. At the same time, the sterling silver Bermuda-Manhattan Cup was filled with Moet Champagne (Rose because it was Bermuda!) and passed around the table. Each guest hoisted the Cup and took a sip. 

Photo: Our good friend Trevor Boyce of Bermuda has raced in several International Yacht Club Challenges in Manhattan and he joined our Members at the magnificent dinner. Here he hoists the Bermuda-Manhattan Cup to drink champagne.

For many Members at the dinner, this was their first taste of Manhattan Yacht Club style and how we build international goodwill through friendly competition. It was also their first lessons in yacht club etiquette such as the famous rule when drinking champagne from trophies - "kill it...fill it." Needless to say, the evening ended up being monumental. The only irony is that we bring our social team to regattas for the express purpose of meeting the other sailors and keeping them up all night. On this occasion, we did it to ourselves!

Photo: Paula Lewin (center in white) holds the Bermuda-Manhattan Cup which was envisioned by Michael Barry (kneeling second from right). The Cup is designed to build on this first event and encourage future competition between the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Manhattan Yacht Club.

Friday dawned with good racing conditions and boats headed out to the starting line. At the first mark in the first race, Mike Barry's team was in the lead! A great start for Manhattan Yacht Club. A total of four races were held during the day and Commodore Fortenbaugh's team was in the lead for two marks during the 3rd race. 

Photo: The Commodore's team races upwind. IODs are incredible boats to sail. They lean over in a breeze and power along. The racing is usually very close and tactics are more important than boat speed. 

On the final day of the regatta, winds picked up again, topping 25 knots and we sat around the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club waiting. When conditions increased, the race committee saw the writing on the wall and held the awards presentation. This is when our Club introduced the Bermuda-Manhattan Cup and presented it to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club as the first winner. In future, whenever sailors from our two clubs meet at a regatta, the Cup is up for grabs. This time, Bermuda came out on top but we hope to beat them next August and win back the Cup if they come to our home waters for the International Yacht Club Challenge.

Photo: MYC Members pose with Commodore Lettie Oatley of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (center in vest). She was an active racer and competed in several Olympics. Now she steers the RBYC through one of their most incredible years with the America's Cup in Bermuda.

The final evening saw a dinner for all IOD sailors at Henry VIII restaurant. Following cocktails and a buffet, dancing commenced. Thanks to Sonita Sadio for organizing our social team which included a legendary stop at the Swizzle Inn. T here is unfinished business in Bermuda, with only 1 out of 3 days of racing completed. This was our Club's first IOD experience and we were getting better every race. We look forward to a rematch and hope we were good enough guests to be invited back next year for Round 2! If we are, all Members are encouraged to come along. It's great fun and will be an excellent way to finish out our 30th Anniversary Season.

Another Huge Annual Dinner!

The Manhattan Yacht Club Annual Dinner is always unique among yacht clubs. Our Members are so happy to see each other after the sailing season has ended that it is among the most boisterous affairs you will ever attend. This year, our Club continued its tradition of holding the dinner at the beautiful Down Town Association on Pine St. The DTA is perfectly decorated for the holidays which makes the dinner even more special.

Members and guests first gathered in the main bar for cocktails. More than 160 Members attended the dinner making it another sold out affair.

One highlight of the evening was when the Commodore recognized the great people who worked behind the scenes to make Manhattan Yacht Club's season so great. These included (l to r) Jeffrey Yozwiak who ran the sailing school, Sebastian Head who was our incredible race manager, Kip Jennings who anchored the Honorable William Wall operations, Angelo Valitutti who really needs no introduction and who keeps our entire fleet of J/24s and powerboats running in top shape, Mindy King who received the biggest applause because she has done such a spectacular job managing the Club and Irina Beloborodova who overseas all of our junior sailing programs.

One of the special guests attending the dinner was Peter Rugg, President of the IOD World Class Association (2nd from right). Peter sailed at our Club back in 1987 when he headed the corporate team from JP Morgan. Now he races IODs on Fishers Island. Joining Peter were (l to r) JoAnna Laskas who heads our Membership Committee, Marc & Raven LoPresti who serve on the leadership committee of America II & Tracy Steele who assisted on Race Committee on Tuesdays.

Another special guest at the dinner was Rick Thompson (right), Chair of Bermuda IOD Regatta Events (and also Captain of the IOD Fleet in Chester, Nova Scotia). Rick was key to getting our Club invited to Bermuda. To make our Bermuda expedition more special, Mike Barry (left), leader of one of our race teams, envisioned the Bermuda-Manhattan Cup to encourage future competition between our clubs. We, of course, expected to win the Cup and bring it to the Annual Dinner to show all Members. But since the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club won it this first time, we needed Rick's help to "spring" the Cup from the RBYC trophy case and bring it to Manhattan for the evening. The tradition of drinking pink Moet champagne from the Cup continued throughout the night.

The table organized by Caner Dinlenc with an assist from Kerry Dunn continued their summer tradition of winning the social scene. On Tuesday evenings this summer, Caner's apres race BBQ feasts set new standards for epicurean excellence at the Club. 

Lots of awards were presented during the evening to cruisers and racers. The three most prestigious awards were presented as follows:  Juan Sorbet received the Jon Overton Memorial Award for the Member who has given the most to other Members;  Steve Rawlings received the Sportsmanship Award;  Luigi Galbiati received the Commodore's Award for the Member who has done the most for the Club.

Frostbite Sailing has Changed our Winter Season!
These sailors have devised a way to continue doing what they love through the winter. No more suffering from winter sailing withdraw. Every Saturday morning, these intrepid Members meet at the Club and head off to the mouth of Morris Canal for some impromptu competition. The Frostbite Sailing League was a new test this winter and it has proven to be a great success.

The Sunfish dinghy fleet has grown to 12 boats, 10 new style and 2 classic sunfish. Any Member who wishes to participate is welcomed to acquire a boat and bring it to the dock. There are also two larger boats, 1 Vanguard 15 and 1 Laser Vago as well as 1 regular Laser.

The competition in the Sunfish fleet is very close and competitive. Even though the race course is small, lead changes are frequent and fast. You have to watch for the wind shifts and sail to them quickly. No question that sailing in the frostbite league will significantly increase your sailing skills!  And while sailing is the primary reason Members love this new frostbite series, there is also an incredible social aspect. Apres sailing gatherings at the clubhouse have grown each week as temperatures have declined. These Saturday sailors now enjoy fondue, heated wines and a great spirit of camaraderie.
Major Events for our 30th Anniversary Season
Next summer will be the 30th Anniversary Season of Manhattan Yacht Club. These are the major events you should add to your calendar:

The 30th Anniversary will begin with De Caribbean Regatta at the end of January when Members sail from island to island in the BVIs. Would you rather be sitting in the cold and ice in New York or running barefoot in the sand in the BVIs? 

The Mid-Winter Dinner will be held in February and is where Club Officers and Committee Chairs are inducted and have an opportunity to share their vision for the upcoming season. This dinner is also where new Members of the Blue Water Society are inducted. 

This is the annual black tie ball which celebrates the start of the new sailing season and helps our Foundation raise money for the junior sailing programs. This year, the Ball is moving from a Friday to Saturday evening. It is also the 20th Anniversary Ball so get ready for an epic celebration!

The Commissioning Ceremony is the symbolic start of our sailing season. This year it marks the start of our 30th Anniversary and will take place on Saturday, May 6. All Members are encouraged to attend and bring families and friends. This will be the first Commissioning Ceremony with our new Flagpole. There will be speeches from Officers & Committee Chairs. There will be music and games for the kids. And this will be the first evening for the Club BBQs and Members are encouraged to bring dinners and drinks.

International 12 Meter Challenge - July & August TBD
Our Club's 20th Anniversary was marked by the acquisition of our first America's Cup 12 Meter - America II US 46. Now the Foundation has acquired and is restoring her sister ship, US 42. Both 12 Meters will be sailing on our Club's 30th Anniversary and we will inviting foreign clubs from around the world to meet in New York Harbor for an International 12 Meter Challenge in July or August. As Clubs accept, dates for this event will be solidified.

11th International Yacht Club Challenge - Aug -17-20
The big event of the summer will be the International Yacht Club Challenge as we invite yacht clubs from around the world to gather in New York Harbor.  This will continue the traditions established by our Club in 1988 when we organized the first Challenge. The 2nd & 3rd Challenges were co-organized with Yacht Club de Monaco in 1989 & 1991.  More recently, a series of Challenges have been held under the patronage of Dennis Conner since 2006. For our Club's 30th Anniversary, we look forward to inviting more international yacht clubs and making friends throughout the world.

MYC Cruise to Newport to Celebrate our 30th Anniversary - August TBD
To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, the Club will organize a cruise from Manhattan to Newport. This will be led by our flagship Arabella and Members are invited to book cabins for a magnificent week.  Members with private boats are also encouraged to join Arabella to create a flotilla. During this week, we will cruise up Long Island Sound, stopping at friendly yacht clubs for cocktails and dinner before arriving at the sailing mecca of Newport. The date of this cruise will be set shortly after surveying the membership.

Continuing on the historical ties established by our Club, we will send a delegation to participate in Monaco Classic Week. This is one of the most glamorous yachting events in the world and an excellent opportunity for Members to practice and embrace nautical tradition. Our club last participated in this event in 2009. Details about the yacht we will charter will be published soon.   

Bermuda Regatta - November TBD
Then if our Club has good fortune, we hope to return to Bermuda in November to continue our relationship with the International One Design class. This will cap the sailing programs of our 30th Anniversary Season and the final event will be the Annual Dinner in December. Of course you should save all of these dates and enter them into your calendar now!

30th Anniversary Annual Dinner - Dec 6
The Final Event of our great 30th Anniversary Season. 

De Caribbean Regatta - Jan 28 - Feb 4
It is technically sold out, but if you still wanted to hop aboard for the greatest winter vacation of your life, maybe they could squeeze you in. We are talking about De Caribbean Regatta. This is the one week of fun, sun and sailing organized by our Club every winter. 

De Caribbean Regatta always takes place in the deepest, darkest part of the winter. This is when we really need the warmth and sunshine of the Caribbean! Ten boats are already filled with some of the most fun skippers at our Club. Every day there is sailing from one glorious anchorage to another. Every evening there is a party.   There is no better way to get your sailing fix this winter than joining De Caribbean Regatta.

Vision for the New IOD Fleet at MYC

For many years, our Club has been looking for the next-level fleet for our more experienced racing and cruising Members. This would not replace our great J/24 fleet which does such a wonderful job in making sailing easy and accessible for all Members. The next-level fleet would be in addition to our J/24s. 

Many years ago, we promoted a J/105 fleet but the costs and complexity of these boats ended up being too high. Since then, we have studied many other classes and have not yet found the one which is right for our Club.   What we are looking for is a classic design, not the "latest & greatest" which could lose its luster and become a flash in the pan. We are looking for yachts which are well built, easy to maintain, and are proven to hold their value over the long haul. We are looking for a yacht which is easy to sail and where new sailors can participate alongside veterans.

In the end, we believe we have found the next level fleet for MYC - the International One Design class. Our Club was exposed to this fleet in Bermuda this past November.  IODs personify beauty, grace and style. They are, in effect, miniature 12 Meters which are already hugely popular at our Club. And while 12 Meters are complex and a difficult production, IODs are simple and easy.

These boats will be great for racing! They will deliver an evenly matched fleet with tight racing so that skill and wind shifts determine the winner. The boats race with 5 people so your team can be made up of experienced as well as novice sailors. The boats are also forgiving. When a puff hits, they lean over but do not spin out of control like a more modern boat.

These boats will also be great for cruising in the harbor. They are distinguished and beautiful. They are more stable and comfortable than a J/24. They will make a perfect boat to cruise with friends and family. Because of their style and grace, they will also make an excellent boat for entertaining friends and co-workers. Sailing on an IOD past the Statue of Liberty will be breathtaking and memorable.

Our Club will announce soon the IOD vision and plan, including the prospectus to participate in this historic effort. Our fleet will be limited to 12 boats. They must all be Member-owned and you can buy an IOD as a single Member or build your own syndicate of Members. There are a few boats on the used market but they are hard to come by. There is also a builder in Chester, Nova Scotia who can deliver new boats at a reasonable cost. Racing in the IODs will be Member-only like our J/24s. For cruising, owners will be encouraged to invite non-members to participate and learn about the IOD history and vision.

Commodore Fortenbaugh and his Tuesday race team have already formed a syndicate and acquired the Club's first IOD, Black Arrow #103. Black Arrow had been racing at the Larchmont Yacht Club and will come to our Club this summer. The Syndicate behind Black Arrow will make her available for other Members to test sail.  

It is hoped that the legacy of our 30th Anniversary season will include not just a second 12 Meter racing in the harbor (see below) but also the start of an IOD fleet which will begin racing at the Club in 2018.

Restoring & Racing the Second America II US 42

Our Club acquired our first America's Cup 12 Meter, America II US 46, on our 20th Anniversary. Last summer, the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation acquired her sister-ship, US 42. This second America II is undergoing restoration this winter. We will send an appeal at the beginning of our 30th Anniversary year to all Members to make a donation to help restore her.   The vision is to have two 12 Meters sailing and match racing in the harbor in 2017, a great way to mark and celebrate our 30th Anniversary!

Two 12 Meters will change everything! Last summer, thanks to our leadership team of Scott Curtis, Edouard Ruelle and Marc LoPresti, our 12 Meter program was the most successful ever with over 50 Friends supporting US 46!  It is hard to believe but this coming summer, we are poised to exceed that previous level of success and do something even more world class. Next year, Members will no longer choose whether or not to participate on the 12 Meters, but now the decision will be whether to sign up for the "tried and true" US 46 program or the "new boat" US 42 program. Each boat will have their own set of rules, participation levels and emphasis on racing, cruising and training. Each boat will develop their own cultures. It will be interesting and fascinating to see which team wins on the race course and which team wins back at the BBQ!  This is the true spirit of 12 Meter racing.

With two 12 Meters, we have also invited famous yachts clubs from around the world to join us next summer to match race. It will be interesting to see the response and if one or more clubs are interested, we will organize "International 12 Meter Challenges" at our Club next summer. Stay tuned for the most exciting summer in the history of our Club.

  Upcoming Events

De Caribbean Regatta - Jan 28 - Feb 4

MId-Winter Dinner - Tues. Feb 15

Spring Launching - Sat. April 1

20th Annual Sailors Ball - Sat, April 29

Special MYC Anniversary Cruise to Newport - August

International Yacht Club Challenge - August 17-20

Monaco Classic Week - September 13-17

Bermuda IOD Regatta - November

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Seen at the Club

Peter Taylor conducts a burgee exchange at the Yacht Club Uruguayo in Montevideo, Uruguay (!

Arabella was just relaunched with a new shaft installed at the Newport Shipyard. This winter, she will continue her refurbishment in Jersey City to prepare for the America's Cup in Bermuda in June where she will serve as one of the main spectator boats.



Seen at the Club - Annual Dinner Special!