With a race abandoned in the morning due to lack of wind we waited with baited breath for the promised wind to deliver. It took it’s good sweet time and as noon blew by and the 15 knot forecast had still yet to arrive. It wasn’t until 1350 that it finally delivered after slowly building and the reefing lines were broken out. The wind of course being a cruel mistress then proceeded to turn up to 11 with gusts over 20 knots breaking things and putting us on weather hold. Thank goodness our pit crew a finely honed machine fixing at lightning speed—they had a broken jib shakel back up in running in less than 3 minutes after the boat touched back at the dock.
The first big fight for Day 3 was in Silver with four of the five former Baldwin Cup Champions fighting for that single spot back into the final knock-out round. After two days of slow moving on the course and a late night on NHYC’s Barney Lehman, aka BUB (we’ll leave it to you what that stands for), Larchmont finally found their groove, decisively winning their first three races of the day. Despite being spoiled by Southern in race 46 they rebounded to catch fire for the rest of Stage 2, running away with that coveted lone Silver Fleet knock-out berth. Late in the afternoon, being that Larchmont couldn’t be caught in Silver, we lost time in the morning to lack of wind, and in the afternoon to too much, the Silver Fleet collectively forfeited their remaining races in Stage 2 to help the race management team get us to the finals on time. (Luckily for our losers, being released from their obligation to not drink while races are underway, aka the No-Fun rule, we had plenty of Goslings on hand to salve their wounded egos.)
NHYC Thunder found themselves in final two boat lengths of their final race of Stage 2. With steely discipline at the final mark, Thunder managed to force Thames to finish 1-2, leaving a 4 on 2 situation on the race course. Finally kicked into gear, Thunder worked the remaining two British boats over, dealing them an epic loss just yards from the main dock. Needless to say the home crowd went a bit wild over that one. In doing so they managed to avoid dismissal, and by the skin of their teeth secured a knock-out round berth. Thunder had to proceed almost directly into in their Quarter Final knock-out best of three series again facing the Thames. In two super tight races, the second again coming down the final yards of the finish line, Thunder triumphed and sent Thames to the bar.
On the other side of the QFs, Larchmont faced San Diego. San Diego took the first in the series, and Larchmont the second. A bit of a break down delayed the do-or-die third race, but San Diego kept their cool and snuffed out Larchmont’s fire, sending SDYC to (what we’re pretty sure is) their first trip to Baldwin Cup Semi-Finals.
As fate with have it, we had an all NHYC Semi-Final, with Thunder and Lightning each winning one race apiece. In the third race of the series, the two home teams jockeyed for position all over the course, but Lighting took the W with a 1-2 over the finish line, ending Thunder’s dreams of a four-peat.
On the other side of the bracket, St. Francis continued to bring their A-game and handled San Diego a fast defeat in the their first race. Despite Boat 8 of St. Francis getting stuffed out at the finish line and an apparent penalty, St. Francis defeated San Diego in their second Semi-Final race proceeding directly to the Finals.
So NHYC Lightning vs. St. Francis in the Finals. Luckily the breeze stayed on into nautical twilight (a rarity for Newport Beach), but after Lightning took the first race the decision was made to not rotate in the fight against the fading light. In a photo finish, and a major freak out in the announcing booth, it looked like NHYC Lighting had taken it. But after the longest 3 minutes of the of the weekend and a phone call to the race committee NHYC Lightning are indeed are no longer the second sibling, and have WON the 2017 Baldwin Cup Team Race at NHYC presented by JPMorgan Chase! Congrats to Greg Helias, Bill Menninger, Mikee Anderson, Rob Rader, Mac Mace, Ward Mace, Alex Curtiss, and Robert Kinney on their win! Thank you to everyone who came out and helped or supported this awesome event. In the words of newly minted Champ Mac Mace, on a scale from one to ten “it feels like a twelve!”
We’ll have more photos for you in the next couple days, but we have a formal Trophy Party to get to and Goslings Dark ’n Stormys to drink, so thanks again to JPMorgan Chase for their support, (looks like they had lots of fun out there on School’s Out), and BCTR out!