Belle Mente and Ran Tied in Onion Patch After Stage One Racing

By Talbot Wilson

Dateline Newport Rhode Island, June 14, 2010: With the completion of the 156th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, racing in the stage one of the 2010 Onion Patch Series ended Sunday afternoon. The first race each day of the two-day regatta in Newport, Rhode Island counted for the series.

On Saturday Hap Fauth’s Belle Mente took the lead on Saturday in the 22-boat fleet. Ran, the JV72 sailed by Niklas Zennstrom which has won the Fastnet and Sydney-Hobart races, came second for the day only twenty-one seconds per mile behind the leader. Vanquish, the former Money Penny now owned by the US Merchant Marine Academy and co-skippered for the series by Bermudian Buddy Rego and Russell Lucus of New Jersey was third.

Sunday racing was delayed until almost 3:00PM, the starting-time limit for the day, but the IRC and Onion Patch sailors did manage to get in one race to complete the Onion Patch schedule. Ran took first place in that race by nine seconds per mile over Belle Mente. They were followed by the US Naval Academy’s TP52 Invictus.

Overall provisional results after Stage One put Belle Mente 1-2 and Ran 2-1 in a tie with three points each. Sforzando, a Kerr 55 sailed by Clayton Deutsch, sits in third following consistent fourth place finishes in both races.

Stage Two of the Onion Patch Series, the Newport Bermuda Race, starts Friday June 18th in Newport. The classic ocean race is organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Scoring for the 2010 Onion Patch Series was modified for races 1 and 2, the first race of both Saturday, 12 June and Sunday, 13 June, of the NYYC Annual Regatta. The scoring was based on a formula that converts corrected time into a time on distance number, a seconds/mile number. The competitors are ranked in order of the fastest seconds/mile to the slowest seconds/mile. Low numbers are faster. Points are awarded according to the two-race ranking and these points will be used in the compilation of the overall scores in the series.

Series Chairman Charles Tatem explained the reasoning behind the change. “Primarily due to safety concerns,” he said, “the New York Yacht Club decided to sail the IRC classes on two adjacent courses. The sixty plus IRC yachts ranging in size from 36’ to 90’ will be divided into six classes. In the past, the NYYC has run all IRC & Onion Patch boats on one course. This put many boats of different sizes and speeds in mark roundings at the same time. This created potentially dangerous situations.”

The Onion Patch committee also felt that forcing the wide range of boats to sail on the same circle, and for the first race of each day, the same length course (which also required it to be very short for the faster boats) compromised the racing for the fleet in general, particularly those not competing in the Onion Patch.

This year, twenty-two of the sixty IRC entries are also entered in the Onion Patch. After a lengthy discussion with US-IRC Director Luiz Kahl, the committee decided that scoring could be done equitably for the range of Onion Patch boats by dividing their corrected time by the course distance, resulting in a ranking of sec./mi. that would indicate each boat’s performance in that race. In theory, if everyone sailed exactly to their rating, they would all have an identical sec/mi number. This method of comparative scoring has been used at the US-IRC Nationals to compare the class winners for the overall award and worked very well.

Boats enter the Onion Patch series individually to compete for the Henry B. duPont Trophy or form three-boat teams to race for both the Onion Patch Trophy and the Henry B. duPont Trophy.

The Onion Patch results, photos, news Notice of Series and much more are posted at