Manhattan Yacht Club 12.09.2017




2017 is Manhattan Yacht Club’s 30th Anniversary season

so we have been reflecting forwards and backwards in time. Our Club has its heart and soul in J/24 racing and cruising in New York Harbor. From this great foundation, we have expanded to a famous Clubhouse in the harbor, great international trips, majestic America’s Cup 12 Meters and a new fleet of International One Designs. The mission of our Club is to promote sailing opportunities, experience and education for our Members and to grow sailing in this great harbor.
Update from the Commodore

So many Members have contributed so much to this season and I want to start this newsletter by saying THANK YOU! We have come far since moving to Jersey City in 2015 and our spirits and facilities are approaching an all-time high. It has been a great ride and nice to see so many experienced Members pitching in as well as novice Members adding their energy and enthusiasm to make Manhattan Yacht Club a great sailing community.

Photo: At the end of our 30th Anniversary Tour, Commodore Fortenbaugh stood with US-46 Stalwarts Scott Curtis (right) and Mac True (left) and issued the command, „Nice company. Fire at will!“

This has been our 30th Anniversary Season and we are finishing it up with a bang. Our first Tour was incredible and the 11th International Yacht Club Challenge a big success. Next up will be trips to Monaco in September, Bermuda in November and then the final act, De Caribbean Regatta in January.

Now for something new which will excite all Members interested in learning more about boats and their maintenance. This winter, we plan to store our J/24s at Liberty Harbor Marina, our great home in Jersey City. If we can establish a heated workshop, then we can teach boat maintenance courses. Members can learn new skills and racing and cruising teams can improve their favorite boats. Our Club will be active throughout the winter this year. Oh, and did I mention the frostbite program which is going into year 2? See you soon and keep an eye out for opportunities to get more involved this winter!

– Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh

MYC’s 30th Anniversary Tour

Update from the Commodore

To help celebrate our Club’s 30th Anniversary, we organized a tour up Long Island Sound with Arabella and the two America’s Cup 12 Meters. It was one of our greatest club trips ever.

Thirty-four Members and their guests filled Arabella with an incredible feeling of camaraderie during the week. Every cabin was booked. The Tour began on Sunday evening when Arabella motored out of Morris Canal and anchored in front of the Statue of Liberty. Cocktails were followed by dinner as the sun set and the Statue lit up. After midnight, guests retired to their bedrooms and arose in the morning to one of the most magnificent views in our city. Then Arabella raised her anchor and headed off to the first stop, the historic and prestigious Larchmont Yacht Club.

Joining Arabella on this trip were the two America’s Cup 12 Meters, US 42 & 46. Both of these 12 Meters are named America II and were built for the 1987 America’s Cup in Freemantle, Australia. These yachts are also celebrating the 30th Anniversary of those Cup Races. The 12 Meters are owned by the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation and this past winter, many Members helped raise over $100,000 to restore US 42. She has been returned to sailing trim and this was the first summer when two 12 Meters sailed together in NY Harbor.

The 12 Meters are supported by a group of Friends who donate money to cover their annual operating costs. There are about 55 friends involved in the US 46 team which has been operating for 10 years and about 35 friends in the US 42 team which is new this year.

The idea behind the Tour is to share these important pieces of American yachting tradition with more sailors. We show up at a yacht club’s dock with the two 12 Meters, flip a coin, give the host club one 12 Meter and we sail the other. Then we head out for a few races. After sailing, we invite the host yacht club onboard Arabella for Mt Gay Rum & tonics. Then all of our Members are invited ashore for dinner at the host club.

The first club along the Tour was the historic Larchmont Yacht Club, home to many America’s Cup sailors. Larchmont has a grand tradition of racing at the highest levels, throughout Long Island Sound and the world. It was a great honor for our Club to share this history and „yacht club“ style. Thanks very much to LYC Members Dick York and Jim Lawless for liaising with our Club to create this magical event.

On the race course, Larchmont fielded the most impressive team of the week, complete with several America’s Cup veterans. The weather was overcast which also meant wind. Three races were held. In Race 1, Larchmont led the whole way until the finish when a shift from the south enabled the MYC boat to sneak by.

In Race 2, the southerly shift continued and MYC was able to go south first off the starting line to gain an initial lead. But downwind, both boats pulled even near the leeward mark. MYC rounded outside and to leeward with LYC inside to windward. Both yachts headed off on a port tack and as the wind continued to clock, LYC was forced to tack off for clear air, leaving MYC to win. In the final race, LYC came back to claim a victory.

After sailing, all LYC members were invited aboard Arabella for a Mt Gay Rum party. More drinks were consumed than at any other stop on the Tour, perhaps attributable to it being the first evening and the rainy conditions. From there, everyone rode a launch to LYC for dinner. Larchmont has one of the best nautical rooms in the country, directly inside the club and looking out over Long Island Sound. For anyone interested in understanding „yachting style,“ this room is a must place to experience.

LYC graciously opened their club for dinner because they are normally closed on Monday evenings. Our Members put on their yachting attire and made a strong showing. There were some great speeches, LYC presented MYC with a beautiful tray which is now hanging in our clubhouse, and the movie „Wind“ played in the background during dinner. By the way, the main yacht in this movie is our own US 42.

After Larchmont, the America IIs headed off to Oyster Bay the next morning for an intramural race between our two 12 meter teams. US 42 was winning the whole way until just before the harbor buoy when US 46 used their experience to snatch the lead.

The reward for Day 2 of the Tour was the equally prestigious Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club. This Club is based on Centre Island with a commanding view of Oyster Bay. It is perhaps the most civilized and relaxing yacht club on the East Coast. The view over their mooring field is stunning and the porch of the club is hypnotic, lulling sailors into a sense of peace and serenity. We were fortunate to have Commodore Willets Meyer as our liaison for the visit.

To get a sense of the grandeur of arriving at SCYC, see this video

At the appointed time, the MYC and SCYC teams met on the porch and were introduced to the race committee. A coin was tossed and each boat received their designated 12 Meter. As a special token of friendship, the SCYC Commodore joined our MYC Commodore onboard for the race.

Although there had been breeze during the day, it drifted away in the afternoon. After floating around, common sense dictated that we head back to Arabella and begin our Mt Gay & tonics party earlier. Both 12 Meters rafted alongside and the SCYC launch brought out the Race Committee and other local sailors. It was a great start to the evening and was followed by speeches of appreciation and a BBQ dinner back at the SCYC.

But there was still the issue of which club would win the Perpetual Cup. Discretion was given to the Race Committee to propose any type of competition. They choose a game called „Flip Cup“ and both 12 Meter teams gathered at a long table to determine a winner. It was very close and although SCYC had an early lead, MYC came on strong at the end with the winning flip. You can see the action in this video:

The next day’s run was all the way to Sag Harbor and the 12 Meters pushed off early, followed by Arabella. It was a beautiful trip up the Sound and by mid-afternoon, Arabella turned the corner of the north fork and headed into Sag Harbor. Upon anchoring, the Pico dinghies were launched so that more competitions could be held while waiting for the 12 Meters.

Our hosts were the Breakwater Yacht Club and our liaison was Bud Rogers who has also led the Cravath Swaine & Moore corporate team at our Club for many years. Bud is a super supporter of sailing and invited our 12 Meters to participate in Breakwater’s Wednesday evening race. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. The first 12 Meter arrived and the coin toss was held. But just before reaching the dock, the second 12 Meter touched bottom and with a super low tide, got stuck. It took 3 powerboats and about 30 minutes to pull her out of the mud. By the time both 12 Meters got to the starting line, it was getting late.

In this race, MYC had a lead at the start and then experienced an override on the starboard genoa sheet. The genoa had to be lowered to release the pressure and the BYC boat slipped by into the lead. It was looking challenging for our Club but at the second mark, the BYC boat suddenly stopped after finding another mud shelf (the historic low tide). Our team altered course, went to the center of the channel and continued around the course to win. Spirits were high on our boat as we dropped our sails and motored back to the club. But right in front of the town pier, we touched ground too! It was somewhat embarrassing and we needed the assistance of a powerboat to pull us back to deeper water.

Once refloated, the only casualty was the cocktail party meant to be held on Arabella. About 100 pre-poured Mt Gay & tonics stood waiting while the handful of Members on Arabella did their best before heading to the regatta dinner and dance at BYC.

The next morning saw our second intramural race between US 42 & 46 from Sag Harbor to Fishers Island. At Fisher’s, we were greeted by the World IOD Class President Peter Rugg who used to race at our Club in late 1980s on the JP Morgan corporate team.

The ceremonial coin toss was held and each club boarded their 12 Meter yachts. There was a light southerly breeze and MYC jumped out to an early lead. But Fishers Island Yacht Club had a few tricks up their sleeve and understood the nuances of the current. They tacked into the lee of an island and ended up with a big lead which brought them to victory.


After the racing, both 12 Meters rafted up to Arabella again and the Mt Gay Rum & tonics were served. By this point in the Tour, Members were having a blast, laughing and socializing and generally loving every moment.



From the Arabella party, everyone continued to the Pequot Inn for dinner and drinks and an authentic 70’s disco dance floor which lit up. While Fisher’s Island may have a reputation as a quiet location, the local sailors kept our Members up all night!


After the arrival, Arabella took the end dock at Newport Yachting Center and the 12 Meters tied up at Sail Newport in Fort Adams. Then most of the Members gathered at Castle Hill. As the sun set, a small sailboat motored along the shoreline and once broadside to Castle Hill, let loose with their signaling cannon. Our Club, being aptly prepared, returned the salute in grand style. The shocked maitre’d came running down saying „You can’t do that here,“ which was universally acknowledged. The equally shocked sailboat, which started the saluting, circled around and let go another volley. Despite the cheering of patrons requesting to return fire, our Master at Arms showed great discretion and the night continued without further incident.


The takeaway from this first Tour was that Arabella, combined with the two 12 Meters, is a world-class package which has the ability to share the history of our 12 Meters with other Clubs throughout Long Island Sound. The yacht clubs we visited this summer will be invited to New York Harbor next summer to race in front of the Statue of Liberty. And we may send Arabella and the 12 Meters on a second tour, visiting 5 more clubs. We look forward to the second edition of this Tour next summer.


The International Yacht Club Challenge was invented by our Club in it’s second year, 1988. This event is synonymous with the international spirit and goals of our Club. We co-organized the IYCC with Yacht Club de Monaco in 1989 & 1991 and then did two more of these events in the 1990s. In 2006, the IYCC was revived under the patronship of Dennis Conner which resulted in six more editions through 2014. This year, to celebrate our Club’s 30th Anniversary, we organized the 11th International Yacht Club Challenge. This was the first Challenge in our new home. Fourteen teams were on the starting line representing these nations: Argentina, Spain, Uruguay, Australia, Japan, Scotland, New Zealand, Bermuda, South Africa, Canada and the United States.


The purpose of the Challenge is to „promote international goodwill through friendly competition.“ This is not a world championship but rather a club gathering of sailors who love the sport and enjoy meeting new sailors from around the world.


This year, the Challenge began with a practice race on Thursday, August 17 followed by the Opening Ceremony at our Jersey City headquarters. Members of the Race Committee helped with the BBQ and each team was introduced and exchanged burgees with the Club.


Friday through Sunday saw three great days of sailing and a full compliment of 8 races. Our home team skippered by Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh with Rear Commodore Luigi Galbiati, Eivind Karlsen, Malcolm Forbes, Matthew Winalski (and Vice Commodore John LaGrassa on the final day) started strong with a 1-2-1 on the first day. New Zealand won the other race and Argentina started with two 3rds and Bermuda had two fourths.


Friday evening featured the Skyline Party on the Honorable William Wall in New York Harbor. A storm blew through the harbor in early evening and then the skies cleared and the lights of the city came on for a memorable evening.


Saturday dawned with a westerly breeze which meant downwind starts from the clubhouse. New Zealand was the top team of the day with 3-1- 2 finishes. The New Zealand team was packed with talent including the back-up helmsman for the victorious 2017 Kiwi America’s Cup Team! Canada sailed almost as well with 2-2-4 finishes. Scotland was climbing up in the standings with a 3-4 and Spain won the final race of the day. The Spanish entry was a team of junior sailors which included the Spanish Olympic 470 skipper in the the Rio Games where he finished 12th overall. To say that this year’s Challenge was the strongest ever in terms of skill is no understatement!


On the final day, winds were still from the west but more variable. New Zealand jumped out to a lead giving them a 3 point advantage over Manhattan with one race to go. Uruguay sailed brilliantly with a 2-3. And Spain did well with a 3-4. But it came to the final race between Manhattan and New Zealand. New Zealand called Manhattan for a foul off the starting line and after a penalty circle, both teams were still close. At the leeward mark, Manhattan and Uruguay jumped out to a lead with New Zealand several places back. At the second downwind mark, the wind died and New Zealand recaptured the lead. Manhattan passed them on the final upwind leg but New Zealand held on for a second place finish securing the overall IYCC Championship. Manhattan ended up in second with Canada third, Spain fourth and Bermuda fifth.


Final results of the competition are at


The final event of the Challenge is always the Closing Ceremony where countries present gifts to the team which finishes directly behind them in the standings. The ceremony got off to a incredible start with the South Africans produced several Vuvuzelas, the horns made famous at their 2010 World Cup. The horns were presented to the very spirited Argentinian teams who were making their second great showing at the IYCC. From this point on, the evening was legendary.


The International Yacht Club Challenge is one of the greatest events our Club hosts. It brings together sailors from around the world and creates new friendships and connections. Members who volunteer in this event always come away smiling and amazed. Because this is such a great event, our Club will organize the next IYCC in August 2018. All Members are invited to get involved in the organizing committee.


by Rear Commodore Luigi Galbiati
This has been a growth year for our young IOD Fleet. Lots of good things have happened over the past 10 months. Shortly after we discovered this majestic class in Bermuda last November the first IOD got acquired, Black Arrow. Over the winter, a small team flew to Chester, Nova Scotia. This allowed us to meet the new builder of IODs for North America and inspect „Zephyr II“ as she was being built. We also had a chance to get to know many more local IOD sailors and had a wonderful time sketching out the future.

Video: IOD racing in the harbor


Upon our return, our fleet started to grow and take shape. d’Artagnan and Instigator joined the fleet in April, and we began racing regularly on Thursday evenings as well as Saturday afternoons. We had a team represent our Fleet in Nantucket for their IOD Invitational and most recently we had a team represent our Fleet at the World Championship in Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Following our teams‘ return from the Worlds, our fleet grew a little more. The fourth boat is Iluka, but we will only be seeing her next year as she requires substantial work. We were then joined by Zephyr II, the newbuild that some of us had the privilege of seeing as she was being built!


This is the 30th Anniversary Season of Manhattan Yacht Club! These are the upcoming events you should add to your calendar:


Monaco Classic Week – Sept 13-17
Continuing on the historical ties established by our Club, we are sending a delegation to participate in Monaco Classic Week. This is one of the most glamorous yachting events in the world and an excellent opportunity for Members to practice and embrace nautical tradition. Our club last participated in this event in 2009.


Bruce Hagan Memorial Regatta – Oct 14
This is our final day of summer racing at the Club with up to 5 races held. Starts will be for the J/24s, IODs and 12 Meters. This year, the event will be a fundraiser to help our friends in the British Virgin Island which was devastated by Hurricane Irma.


Final Sail and Fleet Decommissioning – Oct 15
This is the final day of sailing and it is done in a Fleet Captain style with Members only. All Members are encouraged to sign up for this last sail by email Come sail around Governors Island as a way to cap the great 2017 season. After sailing, we will clean and decommission the J/24 fleet.


Frostbite Racing Begins – Nov 4
Keep your skills sharp throughout the winter. This will be year 2. Look for more details soon by email.


Weekend in Bermuda – November 16-19
After our sailing season ends here in Manhattan, 3 teams of racers will head to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to continue our relationship with the International One Design class. All Members are also invited to participate in this trip by joining our „Social Team.“ Bermuda is only a short airplane ride away and a great place to spend a fall weekend!


30th Anniversary Dinner – Dec 6
This Celebration of our 30th Anniversary Season will be held at the Down Town Association. Tickets will sell out so be sure to book your seats ASAP.


De Caribbean Regatta – Jan 27 – Feb 3, 2018
Every winter, our club teams up with Manhattan Sailing School to have a great week of sailing vacation in the Caribbean. This event is always one of the greatest vacations of your life.

Seen at the Club

There are hundred of pictures which get uploaded in real time on our club Facebook. Stay in touch with all the exciting things happening by liking and following this page