After four days of racing, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club won the 2022 Seawanhaka International Challenge Cup 3-1 over Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) to bring the Cup home to Oyster Bay, NY. Weather patterns stayed consistent all week with overcast skies and light breeze to start finals day on Saturday. Four teams came to the starting line tied with one win apiece in the first-to-three semifinal round – Chicago Yacht Club (CYC), Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC), RNZYS, and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (SCYC).
The Kiwis came out swinging and put up two points back-to-back, securing their spot in the finals over Peter Holz and the CYC team. Team Seawanhaka did the same, winning two straight semifinal matches over RCYC to end Stage 2 and move into the finals and petites. “The competition got stronger as the event progressed, and each team became more familiar with the boats,” said SCYC Commodore JP Blaise. “In the semis, the racing was tight and any one of the four teams could have come out on top.”
Stage 3 saw an increase in pressure with clouds breaking and white caps forming as wind speeds pushed to 10 knots from the southwest. RCYC swept the petite final over CYC, making it onto the podium with a very respectable third place finish overall. This year marks RCYC’s fifth time competing for the Cup, and their first since 1971. They successfully challenged for the Cup in 1956 in Oyster Bay.
In the finals, SCYC put up a bullet in the first match, but RNZYS answered with a win of their own in the next one. “It was satisfying to get at least one against the very well-polished Seawanhaka team,” said Harry Dodson, skipper for RNZYS. “We were happy to make it to the finals, and thanks to Long Beach Yacht Club for the great hospitality.”
SCYC went on to win the next two matches to wrap up the regatta and return the Cup to its home port after three long years. “We are thrilled to bring the Cup back to Seawanhaka YC after the loss to LBYC in 2019,” said Poole. “Our Riptide crew worked well together on the Catalina 37s and constantly improved throughout each match and flight. I believe we sailed our best races in the finals.”
SCYC Commodore JP Blaise also weighed in. “Even though we lost the cup in 2019, we were very happy that it would be defended and hosted by LBYC,” said Commodore Blaise. “We consider Long Beach to be the match racing capital of the world. We are excited to be associated with the kind of match racing experience that LBYC brings.” Poole also offered high praise for the host club. “PRO Wendy Corzine and the race committee did a great job setting fair courses in sometimes trying conditions,” said Poole. “And of course, we always appreciate LBYC’s tremendous hospitality, which is second to none!”
LBYC Commodore Jon Turigliatto shared his gratitude for the opportunity to host the regatta. “The Long Beach Yacht Club has been honored to be the stewards of the historic Seawanhaka Cup,” said Commodore Turigliatto. “Many new acquaintances were forged this week, and we take great pride in the hospitality that our members provide to visiting sailors. Special recognition to regatta Chairman Cheri Busch, PRO Wendy Corzine, all of our volunteers, and our staff for a terrific event. Finally, congratulations to the Seawanhaka Corinthian YC team on a well-sailed regatta and for winning back the Cup. We look forward to sending our team back to Oyster Bay for the next challenge.”