Whether it's a recurring regatta, restaurant or retail store, there's no compliment like a repeat customer. Since it was first run in 2010, the Resolute Cup has struck a chord with Corinthian sailors around the United States. Of the 28 clubs (click here for a list of competing clubs and sailors) sending teams to the fifth edition of the biennial Corinthian championship for U.S. yacht clubs, 24 have previously competed in the regatta. Four of the clubs competing this September have a perfect attendance record, having sent a crew to each running.
"It’s very much a yacht club event and we all take a fair amount of pride in representing Eastern Yacht Club," says Bill Lynn (above, center), who will skipper the EYC entry this year, as he has each time the regatta has been run. "It's also yet another Class A New York Yacht Club event. They know how to do it right, and it's fun to be a part of these things."
The Resolute Cup was first run in 2010 as the U.S. Qualifying Series for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. The biennial regatta, which is sailed out of the New York Yacht Club Harbor Court, has since developed an identity of its own as yacht clubs from around the United States send their best amateur sailors to Newport, R.I., to compete for national bragging rights in addition to a potential trip to the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, sailing's premiere international Corinthian big-boat regatta. The 2018 Resolute Cup will be sailed in the New York Yacht Club's fleet of 23-foot Sonars. With provided sails, equalized rig tune and a regular boat rotation, it's a true one-design event. The regatta takes place Sept. 10 to 15 and is sponsored by AIG Private Client Group and Helly Hansen. The final two days of the event will be broadcast live via Facebook.
Another club that has yet to miss a Resolute Cup race is Carolina Yacht Club from Charleston, S.C.
"It's a great event and the competition is some of the best that we've ever sailed against," says Miles Martschink (at right, sailing in 2016), who will be sailing in the regatta for the fourth time. "It's a fun week, the New York Yacht Club does a great job and we're just happy to be a part of it." It's fun for us to come up here. Newport's a beautiful place and the NYYC does a great job with this regatta.
While Carolina Yacht Club has yet to break into the five in the overall standings in an individual event—the club's best finish was 10th in 2012—Martschink didn't hesitate when asked about the keys to succeeding in this provided-boat event.
"Sailing clean, and boat speed," he says. "You can't tune the boats, so it's all how well your team can make the boat go. It's sail adjustment, weight adjustment, constantly working. And if you're not going fast, change something."
Lynn and Eastern Yacht Club won the first edition of the event and has finished on the podium two other times, third in 2016 and second in 2014. As a former Sonar world champion, the fact that this year's Resolute Cup will be sailed exclusively in the Bruce Kirby-design keelboat seems to his strengths. However, Lynn knows this event too well to take anything for granted.
"It’s obviously super close, the boats are exactly the same same, it’s really hard to have an edge with these boats and the identical sails," says Lynn. "There’s a couple of really good sailors. But it’s a very deep fleet and it’s going to be just as easy to come in 12th in a race as to come in second. So it’s about minimizing the 12ths and maximizing the seconds. We hope to string together a lot of decent races and let the other guys make mistakes."
Larchmont Yacht Club skipper Clay Bischoff, another former champion in this event, had a similar theory on how find the sharp end of the standings.
"Our mindset is more about how do we stay focused each race," he says. "In many regattas, you find our pretty quickly if you can win it or not. This regatta will have so many great sailors, and it's unlikely anyone will have a major speed advantage or disadvantage. Also, the regatta will have a high volume of races. It will be one by the team that steadily improves each day, each race and that can excel across a range of conditions."
Traditionally, the Resolute Cup has qualified two or three teams for the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup the following year. This has created a situation, toward the end of the event, where teams in the top three focus more on defending their podium position than gunning for the overall win. However, with Louisiana's Southern Yacht Club, which won the Resolute Cup in 2016 and the Invitational Cup in 2017, securing an automatic bid for 2019 and significant international interest in the event, which will be the first one sailed in the New York Yacht Club's fleet of IC37 yachts, only one team from the Resolute Cup will earn a berth in next year's big show. With a double-points medal round of up to three races closing out the regatta, the final races of the regatta are likely to be quite tense.