\NEWPORT, R.I. – Collegiate champions from five different decades, including five winners of college sailing's top individual prize, are among the 110 sailors that will compete in the fifth edition of the Resolute Cup, a Corinthian championship for U.S. yacht clubs held at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., Sept. 10 to 15. The regatta is sponsored by AIG Private Client Group and Helly Hansen.
As sailing is a lifelong sport, most accomplished collegiate sailors continue to compete long after their academic careers end. Not surprisingly, winners of the Everett Morris Memorial Trophy, annually awarded to the InterCollegiate Sailing Association's sailor of the year, often achieve even greater success in their post-collegiate sailing. A case in point is that of Coral Reef Yacht Club skipper Augie Diaz, who won the Morris Trophy in 1974 while a student at Tulane University, and has since won multiple world championships in addition to medals in the 1971, 2011 and 2015 Pan Am Games.
But the idiosyncrasies of the Resolute Cup—supplied boats and sails, short courses, high number of races and a rotation system that will have teams sitting out every fourth race—mean the event has a lot more in common with a typical college regatta than the traditional world championship. So when looking to establish a form guide for this event, past collegiate success may be as good a barometer as anything else.
"Like in college sailing, I think consistency will be the big differentiator in this regatta," says Diaz, who was US Sailing's Rolex Sailor of the Year in 2003. "Also, not fading at the end of the day when everyone is tired will be important. This is why I am coming with three young guys that are really good sailors on their own."
The presence of Diaz will bolster Coral Reef's chances to break into the top half of this ultra-competitive regatta, a feat which eluded the CRYC team in the previous two editions. But, in the search for a true favorite, it's hard to look past Larchmont Yacht Club.
The storied Western Long Island Sound yacht club won this regatta in 2012 (at right). Two members of that team, Clay Bischoff (top photo, green hat) and Cardwell Potts (yellow hat), will lead the 2018 entry. Bischoff, who will skipper at the Resolute Cup, and Potts each won the Morris Trophy, in 2003 and 2004, respectively, while sailing for Harvard University. To tune up for this regatta, Bischoff, who is also a member of the New York Yacht Club, won the NYYC Members Fleet Racing Championship and finished second in the Morgan Cup. Both of those regattas were sailed in the same Sonars that will be used for the Resolute Cup and on the same body of water.
Two other teams will have college sailors of the year on board. Tim Wadlow, who will skipper the entry representing Corinthian Yacht Club from Marblehead, Mass, won the award in 1997 while sailing for Boston University. Wadlow sailed for the United States in the 49er class at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Seattle Yacht Club (left) has twice finished on the podium in the Resolute Cup, with a second in 2012 and a third in 2014. Jay Renehan, a the 1985 sailor of the year while at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, was part of the latter effort. He'll call tactics for skipper Andrew Loe, who was himself a college all-America selection.
"Removing the boat preparation element shifts more emphasis onto execution," says Loe. "Ultimately, it's still a fleet racing regatta. Teams need to manage risk well, develop and execute a solid strategies, and get a bit lucky to win. There are many races, and each team will make many mistakes, staying focused for four long days on the water will be a major test for this desk jockey."
Racing for the 2018 Resolute Cup will start at 1100 EDT on Wednesday, September 12. The schedule calls for three full rotations (six races on, two races off) before the top 14 teams will sail a double-points medal round of up to three races on Saturday. The final two days of the regatta will be live streamed via Facebook with tracking and commentary from America's Cup commentators Tucker Thompson and Andy Green. Photo credits: Courtesy of Augie Diaz, Billy Black, Allen Clark/Photoboat.com