“Yachting is the Winner,” is the battle cry aboard 76-foot sloop Wild Horses.
I had the good fortune to race on this lovely spirit of tradition yacht for the Candy Store Cup. Donald Tofias, owner of the Wild Horses has had that axiom emblazoned on his crew’s T-Shirts. Yachting being the winner certainly strikes a chord when participating in superyacht regattas where all the boats are different and have varying handicaps.
Newport Rhode Island is the perfect backdrop for sailing regattas. The Candy Store Cup superyacht regatta is particularly stunning to watch and even more fun to participate in. The Newport Shipyard was once again the kickoff venue for this year’s event, which took place July 25th-27.The regatta co-owned by the Newport Shipyard and Bannister’s Wharf carries forward the tradition of the former Nantucket Bucket and the Newport Bucket (both of which have since retired from the scene). This year, 12 yachts between 66-feet and 184-feet (20m and 56m) in length gathered for fleet racing and festivities.
On the evening before the 2-day race, yacht owners and guests were invited to an evening reception, sponsored by AIG Private Client Group, on the top floor of the Clarke Cooke House, where there was a champagne reception with among other treats, a raw bar, sushi, and lobster rolls.
“The Candy Store Cup continues to be a special event for the Bannister’s Wharf and Newport Shipyard families,” said David Ray, owner of Bannister’s Wharf and the Clarke Cooke House. “The original Candy Store Cup started in 1977 and was always held on the first lay day of the America’s Cup in IOR boats. The course was three times around the harbor with spinnakers and it was a terrific tradition for many years. Our superyacht edition of the Candy Store Cup is the only event in the US that brings yachts of this size together to race which makes it very special and fun for all of us involved. We look forward to hopefully having many of these yachts back again next summer and it would be great to add a few more to the entry list,” Ray said.
“Both days were forecasted for light-to-medium wind and they were spot-on,” said Peter Craig, Principal Race Officer, who is also the PRO for the famed St Barth’s Bucket held annually in March, among other high-profile superyacht regattas.
On day one, the 184-foot (56m) Perini Zenji won Class B. The 78-foot Oyster sloop (24m) Raven Claw, won Class A, and the 89-foot (30m) Hodgdon Yachts-built sloop Delta House won Class C.
On day two Class A was won by the Martin Marine-built 66-foot (20m) sloop Sirona, while the 108-foot (33m) Danish Yachts-built sloop Nakupenda was a mere 1 minute 37 seconds clear of Zenji in Class B. The Class C winner was the well sailed 90-foot (27.5m) Concordia custom-built sloop Savannah.
“Savannah’s return to Newport exceeded our expectations on every level and our welcome at Newport Shipyard and being able to sail in the Candy Store Cup was handled with total professionalism and efficiency,” said Hugh Morrison, owner of Savannah. “It was a privilege to have so many members of the original design and build team with us for the regatta and for a scratch crew of up to 31 people onboard, she acquitted herself very well – a real testament to the quality of design and the craftsmanship that is a world-renowned feature of Newport’s yachting heritage.”
The regatta ended on Saturday evening with a prize giving party at the Newport Shipyard with “American-style” hamburgers and fried chicken. The dinner and prize giving were attended by 300+ sailors and guests. The Ravers, a local reggae band, had attendees up on the dance floor, some of whom segued from the Newport Shipyard back to the Clarke Cooke House’s subterranean night club, The Boom Boom Room. “We had an absolute ball all weekend,” said Clive Youlten, captain of Nakupenda. “The yacht’s owner, his guests, and all of the crew onboard felt the regatta organizers did a great job keeping it fun and low-key.”
“This year’s Candy Store Cup was another home run,” said Charlie Dana, Newport Shipyard’s managing partner. “Sailing runs in our blood here at the Shipyard and seeing these impressive yachts line up off Castle Hill was a terrific sight. The vibe throughout the regatta was casual and lighthearted which is what we aim to bring to the forefront. Naturally, we want the sailing to be fair and safe, but we hope above all else, owners and sailors come to the event to sail in our beautiful hometown and spend a few days enjoying their yachts with their guests and families onboard.”