New York Canoe Club International Challenge Cup 1984
The New York Cup: US report from Steve Clark
The three of us, the Marion Mafioso, stepped off of the little soap boxes with 1-2-3 in the Worlds on them ready to kick butt in the New York Cup. Of course it wasn't going to be that easy. First the Swedes had to throw me in the water and try to get us to drink and carouse all night. Eva and Goran did try their best, but they didn't succeed in their efforts to distract us. We knew that Olle Berggren Max Tollqvist, and Lars Eric Lundgren were holed up plotting revenge for our humiliating domination of the Worlds. Sweden's honor was at stake. (Too bad Eva's wasn't, but that's another story, about somebody else).
Morning came cold and grey with gusty rain squalls out of the East. The forecast for Force 5-6 was right, and the New York Cup was going to be a high speed event, something which the Worlds had not been. Suddenly the Swedes looked a lot better: Lundgren, 75 gold, 78 Bronze medalist; Tollqvist, 81 gold medalist; Berggren — unknown but big and strong, probably fast in a blow. In the skippers meeting we made jokes and acted tough.
The first start was somewhat a disaster for Greymatter. Having shepherded people down the line, I was going to jybe onto port and rejoin the fray—a sloppy jybe and spinnout—quickly right the boat and what-the-f---, no gooseneck. The graphite toggle broke. Fortunately there are two holes in the end plug and some 1/8" kevlar line, a lashup may serve. Should I bother? They are a long way away- could fix boat and try for two straight. No let's stick it together and see...
By the time I am back in action three and a half minutes have passed. Chris and Hannah don't have speed on the Swedes' and are 3rd and 5th around the top mark. They don't make much of an impression on the reaches. Berggren is leading. Tollqvist 2nd, Lundgren back able to hold them up if he wants. Damn wish I could vang the main- gybing is real exciting.
On the second beat I go left they all go right. I am far enough behind so no one bothers to cover and mirabile dictu - a left side lift with velocity. Now we really cutting through the water. 3rd around top mark Tollqvist and Berggren not so far ahead. We could get lucky. At the bottom they do a dumb thing and shoot stereo corners. Max goes left. Olle goes right, leaving Steve the middle, up which I sail. The Puff is not to the left. Max is history and I am left of center and Berggren will cross me easily if I don't get lifted, which isn't happening. §§§ Olle blows his tack to the port layline and starts backing up. By the time he is squared away he has lost almost all his lead. He still crosses me (I'm low on the committee boat layline hoping like hell I fetch). But he has to rip off a good one... BALL FOUR! So Solly Olle. He muffs it and goes swimming. Greymatter wins for USA. I can't believe it and head for the beach for spares.
Quick repairs get us back for Round Two. My thinking is not so sharp this time. I figured I just took 3.5 minutes out of these guys, if I just get across the line with them I should finish a time zone ahead. Not to be. They have obviously adjusted boats and strategy. Max is able to cover me well enough on the first triangle that Olle is basically out of range. I get to within 20 seconds at the lee mark and decide to split with him. He doesn't cover. By the time we reconverge it's clear I made a big mistake, and he has gained. Olle makes no mistakes this time. He puts away race #2 to even the score at 1 to 1.
We call a huddle. I am going faster, but cannot break out of a two on one. I can't slow both of them to spring Chris or Hank, so it seems that the only choice is to have Chris and Hank check Olle and Max and try to Spring me loose. I'm sure that once I get ahead they will not he able to catch up. It is key to have as big lead as possible at the bottom mark so they can't split on me and get too much position.
Before they start Chris gets Olle committed low and Hannah has Max held—up high along the line. I, quite stupidly, mistime the start and come screaming in yelling at Berggren to head up even though he is the leeward boat. Life looks pretty ugly except for new dive; ion: SAN FRANCISCO Roll Tack — (Dive under boat as it is falling over on top of you because you have planted the seat in a wave). Surprise. Surprise, it wasn't a bad start and I have about a 20 second lead at the weather mark. Chris is quite close and is able to use his better off-wind speed to catch and blanket Tollqvist, Hannah does the same with Berggren. Lundgren doesn't seem to be in the picture. By hard work I am able to round the bottom almost a minute up, stretch it on the beat to almost 2 and play really conservatively on the run and beat to the finish.
With the 3rd gun, the New York Cup comes home for the first time in 24 years. Perhaps no other time have I felt the long tradition of the canoe as strongly. For it is all engraved on that cup I just hope we can squeeze Rosey Cheeks, Gonzo the Great and Greymatter in there with Mermaid, Manana, East Anglian, Folly and Wake
...the Americans had issued a challenge to Sweden for the venerable match race trophy, the New York Cup. In the gusty conditions the Swedes gave the Americans one hell of a fight. Clark was the only Yank with the speed needed and he managed to win two out of the three races followed each time by all three Swedish sailors.
Taken from the 1984 Worlds report written by Chris Eyre in Yachts and Yachting magazine
The US team was Steve Clark (Greymatter), Chris Converse (Rosey Cheeks) and Hannah Moore (Gonzo the Great)