NEWPORT, R.I. (June 8, 2022) – It has been a while since Bella Mente Racing has felt this good about competing. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused setbacks over the past two years that, at worst, put the brakes on sailing worldwide, or, at best, threw a monkey wrench into the team’s best-laid of logistical plans. Now, Bella Mente’s crew has put behind it several days of training on Narragansett Bay and is ready to rumble on the race course at the New York Yacht Club’s 168th Annual Regatta, which starts Friday, June 10 and runs through Sunday, June 12.
Bella Mente Racing has consisted of the same steady team for years. For this regatta, Mike (“Moose”) Sanderson, normally the relief helmsman for owner/driver Hap Fauth, will step in to drive. Terry Hutchinson will serve as tactician, while Ian Moore will serve as navigator. The team will be without long-time strategist Adrian Stead, due to a personal conflict, but Sanderson says he will not be replaced. “We know Newport waters well, so we’re just going with more grinding power,” he said.
Sanderson explained that the team’s last regatta Bella Mente, a Botin 72, was the Les Voiles de St. Barths in April. “We struggled results-wise and were beaten up by Vesper (a Judel Vrolijk 72),” he said. “We were on the back foot; due to Covid shipping issues, Bella Mente was late, which is very un-Bella-Mente-like. Before that, we had sea trials, but it was quite a long break from regattas and we hadn’t really sailed in anger since the Maxi Worlds in September last year.”
Since Les Voiles, Bella Mente has been fitted with a new mast; the prior one had broken above the forestay at Les Voiles in 2019 and after repair was used up until now. “It was a good repair, of course, but we’re excited about this new mast,” said Sanderson. “It’s a little taller, affecting our rating somewhat, but performance-wise we have high hopes for it along with our new big jibs and mainsail (that were built to fit).”
Bella Mente will enjoy a rematch against Vesper on Friday in the Regatta’s race around Conanicut Island starting at 1100. Two days of buoy or navigator-course racing on Rhode Island Sound and in Narragansett Bay will follow on June 11 and 12. Others in Bella Mente’s class are Proteus, another Maxi 72; Arctos, a 68 footer; and Denali and Kodiak, both 66 footers.
Afterwards, Bella Mente will remain in Newport in preparation for the July 13-16 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport.
More About NYYC Annual Regatta
The New York Yacht Club’s Annual Regatta was first sailed on the Hudson River on July 16 and 18, 1846. A similar competition the previous year was called a Trial of Speed. With a few exceptions for world wars and other global crises, the event has been held every year since. For most of its existence, the Annual Regatta was raced on waters close to New York City. Since 1988, however, the event has been sailed out of the Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, R.I., and has settled into the current three-day format.
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