A summer of practice paid off for the Noroton Yacht Club Masters Team Race squad as they won one of the most prestigious masters-level team racing events of the year, the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy, hosted by the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court.

"There was definitely a real sense of satisfaction of being able to win the event after putting so much work into it," said Karl Ziegler, Noroton YC team captain. "We have been practicing every week since May."

While an ominous weather forecast worried officials and sailors, the predicted rain held off for all three days, the breeze was better than expected and the race committee was able to get off two complete round robins, a silver round robin, semi-finals and finals. 

Noroton YC started strong, winning every race in the first round robin. In the second round robin they lost races to New York Yacht Club and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, two of the clubs that also made the final four. 

But the Connecticut squad quickly found their rhythm in the semifinals, beating Seawanhaka 3-0, while St. Francis dispatched host New York Yacht Club, the defending champions, in the other semifinal.

Facing St. Francis, which had won the event in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Noroton YC won the first two races of the best-of-five finals, before dropping the third. Team racing can be a game of momentum, but Ziegler says the team wasn't fazed by the loss. 

"We felt like we had a really good chance of winning that race and things just did not go our way," he said.

The fourth race went to Noroton YC, cinching the championship.

"[The races] were incredibly tight, as you can imagine with the two best teams," said Ziegler, "A lot of really good team racing. And like it is against good teams, whoever made the last mark trap at mark three ended up prevailing."