US Sailing announces cancelation of 2020 event, will now start planning for the 2021 version of race at Long Beach Yacht Club.
BRISTOL, Rhode Island—Travel restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have forced the cancellation of another regatta. This time it’s the U.S. Match Racing Championship, which was scheduled to take place at Rochester Yacht Club in Rochester, New York.
Invitations were scheduled to be sent out by the end of June, but New York’s travel restrictions for the Covid-19 pandemic means the regatta’s organizers, according to a US Sailing statement, would not be able to host the championship “while safely conforming to local and state guidelines and restrictions.”
“As the chairman of the U.S. Match Racing Championships Committee, I want to express our appreciation to Holly Stevens, Richard Sullivan and the board and staff of Rochester Yacht Club for trying everything possible to find a way to run this event,” championship committee chair Bill Simon said on a conference call announcing the cancelation. “The umpire and race management team who were willing to travel and support the regatta as well as the many skippers who requested invitations and just wanted to sail because they love match racing should know we tried our best but could not overcome the risks.”
The U.S. Match Racing Championship event is scheduled to resume Oct. 1-3, 2021 in Long Beach, California. Long Beach Yacht Club will host the championship regatta – assuming no other major world events or pandemics prevent the sailing event from going forward.
Rochester YC’s event chair, Rick Sullivan, said Covid-19 travel restrictions in place for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut made it “impossible for Rochester Yacht Club to safely hold an event of this level.”
The championship event was founded in 1967 and pits 10 teams against each other. The teams go at it for three days, hoping to win the Prince of Wales Bowl. Teams earn one of the 10 slots in the championship via qualification events or by invitation.
Each year’s winning skipper earns an automatic invitation to the following year’s championship race.
Pearson Potts of Newport, Rhode Island was the winner of last year’s U.S. Match Racing Championship.
Match racing, which was popularized by the America’s Cup, “pits one boat against another around a short two-lap windward/leeward course,” according to US Sailing staff.
“This race format emphasizes the need for great boat speed, strong boat handling, teamwork, and communication. The tournament-style format makes it fun by maximizing the number of races per day,” US Sailing staff said about match racing in a released statement.