St. Francis Yacht Club wins Southern Nichols Cup Team Racing Regatta
It took from 2006 to the last race of the last series in 2017 for Southern Yacht Club to lose the Southern Nichols Cup team regatta. But it finally happened the weekend of March 18-19, when St. Francis Yacht Club came from behind to win the seventh race of the gold series and take the first-place trophy someplace besides SYC.
PRO Nathan Adams and his Race Committee volunteers were able to squeeze out a total of 34 races in the very light breezes of the last days of winter on Lake Pontchartrain.
After four round robins sailed among the four competing yacht clubs, St. Francis went into the gold series a half-point ahead of Southern. The racing was extremely close both days, and the scoring reflected the tight competition.
St. Francis went to the gold series with eight points from the round robins, with Southern close behind with 7.5 points. New York Yacht Club sailed against Storm Trysail in the silver series for third place.
New York swept Storm Trysail for third place, 3-0 in the best-of-five silver series.
In the best-of-seven gold series, St. Francis scored three straight wins to open. However, Southern came storming back with three straight wins of their own, setting up the final race for the trophy. Despite trailing halfway through the final race, St. Francis took tactical advantage of a foul and sailed to victory, ending SYC’s string of 11 straight wins in the Southern Nichols Cup.
This year’s regatta was sailed as a grandmasters event, part of a Grandmasters circuit on the Gulf Coast rotating among St. Petersburg YC and Texas Corinthian YC of Houston.
Conditions on Lake Pontchartrain during the weekend ranged from light air to no air on Saturday, followed by dense fog Sunday morning with a light breeze blowing on the surface, enough to start and keep racing to finish four round robins.
By the end of the round robins, the skies cleared, the breezes slacked off slightly but not so much that the final races could not be sailed. The wind lasted just long enough to get the seventh race of the gold series completed before giving up for the weekend.
None of the teams complained about sailing in and eating SYC’s famous char-broiled oysters on the bar deck. And St. Francis YC’s team quickly took to the tradition of drinking cold draft beer out of the winners’ new trophy.
--Tom Long, Regatta Chair