North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Giulio Desiderato
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19 Teams from Around the World Participated in the 7th Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup
The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup is a unique event that brings together a collection of top amateur sailors from some of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs. The seventh edition of this biennial regatta was sailed in IC37s, a strict one design class first introduced in 2018 and outfitted with identical North 3Di sails. On Saturday, September 18th, the Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans went home with their second Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup win in three editions.
Giulio Desiderato, One Design Manager for North Sails in Italy, coached Yacht Club Italiano for the event. He shared a few unique observations on the event and the competition.
“The skill level of the fleet is quite high. The top teams could easily compete at the top of other races, even against teams with pros onboard. It’s clear that all the teams have put in their maximum effort to prepare for the regatta.
“From a North Sails perspective, it’s essential to be here as a company,” continues Desiderato. “We outfit a wide range of boats from Optimists to the AC75. At the same time, we deliver a lot of support to sailors trying to reach their goals. Maybe you win an Olympic gold medal, or the Invitational, but our focus is always on providing the best product. What I saw during the week in Newport was a group of very talented sailors who are passionate about our sport and it’s an honor for all of us at North to support them.”
And while it’s a fierce fight on the water, the intensity was left onboard at the end of each day. “The spirit was great,” Desiderato says. “Often, regattas are so competitive that it creates distance between the team onboard and the other participants. The Invitational is different. Of course, everyone is super competitive on the water, but the camaraderie onshore is special. All of the teams will leave Newport remembering more than just their final race result.”
A pro sailor himself, Desiderato usually finds himself at an event on behalf of a private owner. And more often than not, the team is a collection of sailors from different countries. But this time, he coached the team from the yacht club where he grew up sailing.
“The experience of sailing for your yacht club is one-of-a-kind., The Yacht Club Italiano is a young team. I saw these sailors grow in their dinghy classes and have been friends with them for a long time. So we spent many hours together at the club, and it’s fantastic to have this shared experience. An event like the Invitational will make you a better sailor and give you a fresh perspective.”
Like many of the participating teams, the Italians had no experience in the IC37. Which begs the question, how do you prepare a team for a boat they’ve never sailed before?
Desiderato explains: “The first day of training was our first time on the IC37. The team discovered a bit more about the boat each day. While you’d think there was a home team advantage because the local teams had more time in the boat, the result didn’t necessarily prove that to be true.
“The first step for preparing is to identify a similar boat to train on. Beyond the boat, good organization on board is fundamental. Good teamwork and onboard communication are key to avoiding mistakes. Then you do your homework; research the boat, consume as much as possible from the class website, check the tuning guides, dive into YouTube, and ask sailors who do have experience on the boat. I think that you can really have all the information and jump on board and just start to feel the boat…and that’s really important.”