2003 Sir Thomas Lipton Cup

While travelling the West Coast in 1911, Sir Thomas Lipton decided that the waters of Puget Sound were ideal for yacht races and promised that he would dedicate a cup to further yacht racing and good sportsmanship in the Northwest. 2 years later the massive silver trophy arrived. The first event was held on Elliot Bay, just off downtown Seattle. For the first contest there were just two "R" class yachts, "Sir Tom", representing the Seattle Yacht Club and "Turenga", representing the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. It continued this way until interest in and development of the Universal Rule was replaced by growing enthusiasm for the International Rule. Match racing was also replaced by fleet racing. Sixes have raced for the Cup since the late 40's.

Perfect September weather once again presided over the 91st anniversary of the first contest of the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup. Sunny skies and mild temperatures produced generally light to moderate winds for the event and for the first time in many years, there were 11 challengers, including 3 from Canada, the most sixes to come from that country since 1979.

The social events started on Friday evening with a party at Kimo & Sherry Mackey's to honor all of the out-of-town guests, who came from as far away as Connecticut and San Diego for the event. Saturday started very light and the racers waited for the wind until 1 PM. The first race was a windward - leeward of 5 miles in shifty, tricky conditions. The race committee wisely finished the races at the leeward mark, then adjusted for another race, which was 1.5 times around with a leeward finish. CAN 37 Frenzy squandered a huge lead by not having read their race instructions, and continued right by the finish line. They eventually turned around to finish 7th. Saga cruised in for the easy win. Good sailing by the Moderns, whether it was by skill or luck, produced a 3 way tie at the end of 2 races between Capriccio, Pacemaker, and Haute Flash.

Saturday night's party was as it should always be. Warm Indian Summer, amazing food, and everyone thought they should have won the races. Kimo made a presentation on the coming inaugural Queen Christina Nations Cup. A fun time was had by all.

Sunday racing was a little slow to get going, but there was more wind oscillating from 5 to 10 knots. In the first start of the day there was some miscommunication between members of the race committee on whether Maybe VII was OCS. This resulted in an unfortunate and late general recall. The second start of the day saw the beginning of a trend to the left side of the course, where beneficial tidal currents rewarded those who hit the corner with an easy sweep up to the weather mark. Before the start of the second race there was a horrible t-bone collision between US 119 Sockeye and US 96 Hanko III, who had to retire with a bow-sized hole amidships. In the second and third races leads and advantages shifted like the wind, which seemed to decrease on cue as soon as you rounded the weather mark. At the end of 3 races for the day, there was again a 3 way tie, with the series going to first time Lipton Cup competitor and new owner Eric Jespersen on CAN 37 Frenzy. Eric's crew rightly tossed him in the water as soon as the results were announced.

 Sail Boat  1  2  3  4  5  Final
 CAN 37  Frenzy        10
 USA 123  Haute Flash            10
 KA 8  Pacemaker            10
 US 73  Saga            12
 US 97  Buzzy III            16
 USA 119  Sockeye            17
 US 87  Maybe VII            19
 KC 12  Ca Va           29 
 KC 79  Starwagon       37 
 USA 122  Capriccio        DNC  DNC  41
 US 96  Hanko III      DNC  DNC  DNC 48