The J Class yachts Topaz and Velsheda had an epic coastal course match race last month in the Supermaxi Class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The J Class will be active on the superyacht racing circuit next March with four J’s,  Lionheart, Topaz, Velsheda and Svea , racing in the Superyacht Challenge Antigua and St Barths Bucket before heading down under for 2021 racing in New Zealand prior to and during the America’s Cup. They will be joined by  Ranger , currently undergoing a refit at Vitters Shipyard.
PHOTO: Carlo Borlenghi
Coming Soon to a Regatta Near You   •   Superyacht Racing News    •   Notable Quotable   
Faces in the News: Barnaby Henshaw-Depledge •   Rules Corner: Rules Clarification Meeting  
  Committees: Fair Racing Reports •   Company Spotlight: Southern Spars
Delivering for the Yacht Owner
As we approach the winter sailing season, delivering for the yacht owner is a topic worthy of discussion. Given the mission of the SYRA and the fact that this is no doubt a top priority for everyone involved in the program, I offer a few thoughts.
In superyacht racing there are many individuals who are involved in making the regatta experience one that the owner and his or her guests would want to continue into the future. Yacht captains, permanent crew, racing afterguard members, regatta organizers and indirectly, the SYRA all play important roles.
Delivering for the owner in superyacht racing is a bit more complex than it is in the ‘conventional’ sailing arena. For those aboard the yacht, truly understanding what is important to the owner is critical. While winning is often the primary driver in conventional racing, surprisingly it is not the top priority for many superyacht programs. It has been said that in some ways this is “the entertainment business”. Most superyacht owners are very competitive of course - a trait that is no doubt instrumental in their personal and business successes. This does not, however, necessarily translate into a ‘must win’ scenario to achieve a satisfactory regatta experience. READ MORE ...

Peter Craig
Peter Craig
SYRA Executive Director
Coming Soon to a Regatta Near You


Liara – After starring at the Monaco Yacht Show in September and crossing the Atlantic shortly afterwards, all eyes will be on this new Baltic 112, a genuine multi-role superyacht designed for super-comfortable global cruising and Bucket-style racing.
Her experienced owner has honed deck design, sail handling and trimming systems to perfection and with plenty of crew training in the Mediterranean Liara is primed and ready to go!
A telescopic lifting keel, retractable propulsion system and touch button rig and sail control are all part of the package. Her custom designed hard-top bimini provides perfect protection for her guests while cruising but can be lifted off the yacht for racing.
Photo: Courtesy Baltic Yachts
With naval architecture by Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design and a stunning interior by the award-winning Adam Lay Studio, the project team have invested an enormous range of experience in a yacht destined to shine in Caribbean regattas and in New Zealand where she is heading for the America’s Cup in 2021.
Liara’s 2020 plans include her racing debut at the Superyacht Challenge Antigua and participation in the St Barths Bucket.
Sunny skies provided sailors and organizers with the ideal backdrop for the Candy Store Cup’s two days of racing and parties at the famed Newport Shipyard.  The 33 metre sloop  SUNLEIGH shown here reaching along to a 3rd place finish in class at the July regatta. Results, photos and news: The Castro designed sloop will return to St Barths next year to compete in the 2020 Bucket (19-22 March).
Photo: Claire Matches
11- 15 March
Next up on the 2020 superyacht racing circuit will be the Superyacht Challenge Antigua (11-15 March). Moving from February to March has expessions of interest at an all-time high. The elegant Pendennis built ketch REBECCA will return for Antigua's 10th anniversary regatta.

Photo: Michael Kurtz / Pantaenius
19 - 22 March
Nearly 30 yachts have already accepted their invitations to the 2020 edition of the St Barths Bucket (19-22 March). The Baltic built  NILAYA will return to compete in the always-competitive Les Gazelles Class.
"Notable Quotable"
“Having been away from superyacht racing for a while, I was impressed to see the progress that’s been made with both the rating rule and safe racing. The decision to bring in ORC and go with a transparent rule was huge. With what I experienced in our class at the Bucket and heard on the docks, the playing field is far more level. And people now seem to really understand the Appendix SY as evidenced by actions on the racecourse and the dialogue on the safety channel. Like any challenge, it doesn’t happen without the foresight and hard work from different individuals and organizations. I got to see that firsthand at one of the SYRA committee meetings in St Barths prior to the racing. The important issues are being addressed and resolved, which is great news for superyacht racing.”
--Cam Appleton; Tactician Hetairos
Faces in the News
Plenty to smile about! If you’ve competed in a recent superyacht regatta, chances are you’ve run across Barnaby (Barney) Henshaw-Depledge. The popular boat captain of the J Class Yacht  Velsheda , shown here accepting the Supermaxi Class trophy from last month’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, has been busy. In 2018  Velsheda  competed in the St Barths Bucket, Superyacht Cup Palma and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. 2020 looks full on for Barney and the  Velsheda  team as well with J Class fleet racing on tap in Antigua and St Barths followed by a delivery to New Zealand.
PHOTO: Carlo Borlenghi
Rules Corner
Rules Clarification Meeting

Sailboat racing is meant to be a self-policing sport. Lately that concept has come under pressure in conventional racing for a number of different reasons, including fewer competitors being willing to protest. This raises any number of issues and consequences, which we won’t delve into here!
In superyacht racing, abiding by the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) and Appendix SY is critical to safe racing, and safe racing is essential if this niche part of the sport is to thrive and grow. There was a time when protesting was frowned upon and even not allowed at some superyacht regattas. While this was seen by some as good for superyacht racing, it ultimately raised serious issues regarding competitive advantage and more importantly safe racing. 
First, it is incumbent upon all afterguard members that collision avoidance be their top priority. Unfortunately, it isn’t always straightforward for superyacht tacticians and captains. Some yacht owners have standing orders not to protest, regardless of how serious or unsafe an incident might be. But for regatta organizers and the sport it is imperative that yachts abide by the rules and for those involved in an incident, that everyone understand after the race how the rules are interpreted, who is at fault and who is not.
For these reasons, the SYRA introduced an alternative to the formal protest a few years ago. The ‘Rules Clarification Meeting’ is an option that allows for a hearing without the formal RRS protest procedures and no consequence to scores or results based on the findings by the Jury. The afterguard of the yacht requesting the meeting only has to check the appropriate block on their Daily Declaration Form and inform the other yacht(s) in question.
The end result is that both parties learn how the rule or rules in question are interpreted by a Jury and it provides both afterguards clarity on that specific incident. An additional benefit is that the regatta organizer is apprised of yachts that are not abiding by the RRS and if there are repeated incidents, it provides them with the ability to act in the interest of safe racing at future regattas.
Version 3.1 of the Appendix SY can be found on the World Sailing and SYRA websites posted here
Fair Racing
Probable Changes to the 2020 ORCsy VPP
Over the course of the racing season both the ORC and SYRA evaluate the current ORCsy Rule and VPP and identify areas that warrant further research and may result in changes the following year.

The ORC communicated the prospective changes to their superyacht database in July to be sure that everyone is aware as early as possible about any potential upcoming changes. The SYRA was very much involved in the pending sail accountability changes, which we communicated in the summer edition of the newsletter and is addressed further here under the “SYRA Committee” section of this newsletter.
The full list of new VPP features that are under review and will be tested for possible implementation for the 2020 superyacht season can be found here: ORCSY-2019-SEASON-UPDATE .
New Wind Ranges
One area that will be of interest to all who race is the pending change to rating ‘wind ranges’. Next year the 8 wind ranges (4 for flat sea state / 4 for rough sea state) will be replaced with 5 wind ranges with no sea state factor. An SYRA working party, which included regatta organizers, recognized that the ranges were too wide in the lower end of the wind spectrum. The proposed and current wind ranges (in knots) are below:   
Light Moderate
less than 8
8 up to 11
11 up to 14
14 up to 17
more than 17
8 or less
more than 8 and up to 13
more than 13 and up to 17
more than 17
There is a high level of confidence that the 5 ranges will take better advantage of the ORC’s superyacht VPP in providing fair racing in the light to moderate wind ranges while still giving the race committee reasonable sized ranges from which to select.
Wrap up on Sails Initiative
In the last issue of the SYRA Newsletter (June, 2019), we provided background information on the SYRA’s assessment of the ORC’s handling of sail accountability. In June our working party provided a list of recommendations to ORC and in August the likely changes were posted: SYRA-Update-ORCsy-Sails-Changes . The changes to the 2019 Rule will be meaningful and worthy of review.
In a follow-up meeting in July, the ORC accepted all major recommendations. The SYRA notified Captains of all superyachts that have raced over the last two years and afterguard members who we have contact information for. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Peter Craig
ORC-SYRA Collaboration
The SYRA takes every opportunity at regattas to meet and address topical issues pertaining to our mission. At the 2019 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo last month, there was a productive meeting between the SYRA and ORC. The primary focus was to reevaluate the collaboration on the current superyacht handicapping rule (ORCsy). ORC President Bruno Finzi, SYRA Executive Committee Chair Kate Branagh, Edoardo Recchi (SYRA Fair Racing / Handicapping Committee Chair) and Peter Craig (SYRA Executive) met to review the six-year collaboration and resolve current issues regarding policy and budget. More on the SYRA/ORC handicapping rule collaboration in the Winter issue of the SYRA Newsletter.
Upcoming Regattas and Shows
Upcoming Regattas
 Millennium Cup : 29 Jan-1 February
SY Challenge Antigua: 11-15 March
St Barths Bucket : 19-22 March
Superyacht Cup Palma : 17-20 June
Perini Navi Cup : 26-29 August
Upcoming Shows
Company Spotlight: SYRA Member Southern Spars
Southern Spars builds rigs for the fastest race yachts and most beautiful superyachts on the planet. Whether the goal is all-out speed and strength, or a custom-built combination of performance and luxury, Southern Spars builds the world s best custom-built spar packages. We created the world’s first carbon fibre mast and continue to design innovative products to keep our clients ahead of the competition. Visit
Pulling Together
Let’s work together to develop a stronger, more robust superyacht racing community and enhance the enjoyment of all owners. 

Members are invited to join our committees and working parties. Updates on those groups that are active are in process this spring. If you have interest in actively participating, please contact  Information on SYRA membership is posted here . Please consider joining and supporting our mission and goals. Contact
Photo: Claire Matches
New Members in 2019
The current list of members can be found on the SYRA Members page
SYRA Executive Committee
Toby Allies
Pendennis Shipyard Ltd.

Jeff Beneville
Willis Towers Watson

 Robbie Doyle
Doyle Sailmakers, Inc. 
Kate Branagh (Chairperson)
The Superyacht Cup
Peter S. Craig
(Executive Director)
SuperYacht Racing Association, Inc.

Ruurt Meulemans
Hoek Design Naval Architects 
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