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Resolute Cup Offers Grand Stage

Published on August 10th, 2016

Among the 29 teams participating in the 2016 Resolute Cup are a number of smaller yacht clubs eager to make a name for themselves on a national stage. “[Our members] are astounded that we qualified for our yacht club,” said Conor Hayes of Winnipesaukee Yacht Club (Gilford, N.H.). “We are a very small yacht club, and they are all very excited that we are able to compete on this level.”

Now in its fourth running, the biennial Resolute Cup has evolved into the unofficial keelboat championship for United States yacht clubs. From September 12 to 17, teams from across the United States will be competing on Narragansett Bay for national bragging rights as well as an invitation to the 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. For nine of the 29 clubs, this will be their first time competing in the event, which is held out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I., and sponsored by Porsche Cars North America, Helly Hansen and Melges Performance Sailboats.

A diverse group of entries, both in terms of the location and size of the competing clubs, has been a hallmark of the Resolute Cup since the inaugural edition. Expanding the field to 29 entries and enhancing the event’s unique identity has only served to broaden its appeal.

“Rarely has Wadawanuck Club [Stonington, Conn.] competed on a bigger, more national, level, so that was something that really had a lot of appeal,” said skipper Jason Michas, at right. “Our membership is big enough that we could fill a Swan 42 [the boat used for the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup], but I don’t think anyone was looking to go for an event at that level. The approachability of this event, even though it’s still a yacht club national championship, made it really appealing for us as a small club.”

For other first-time competitors, the link to something larger, the top two teams from the Resolute Cup will earn an invitation to the 2017 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup, which attracts top yacht clubs from around the world remains a big part of the allure.

“The New York Yacht Club is a venerable yachting institution and they run a first-class event,” said skipper Fred Hunger of the Cleveland Yachting Club (Rocky River, Ohio). “The fact that this event is the qualifier to a larger event for sailing in Newport is what we are looking forward to.”

While some motivations for competing may differ, a core tenet of the Resolute Cup, to run a Corinthian keelboat championship amongst preeminent United States yacht clubs, rings true throughout the fleet. Each sailor must be a World Sailing Group 1 (amateur) sailor, and a full member of the club he or she represents.

“I was attracted to the concept of a real one-design event with a new format and which had the basis of promoting club competition,” said Douglas Wefer of Sea Cliff (N.Y.) Yacht Club. “I would say that we haven’t had an event that the club has been as excited to cheer for as this. New York Yacht Club has done a great job of framing this as competition between clubs, and that makes the whole club excited.”

As with previous editions, the 2016 Resolute Cup will utilize two one-design fleets. Teams will sail a two-day qualifying series in both Sonars and Melges 20s, with the top 10 teams moving to the two-day championship series in Melges 20s and the remaining teams competing in Sonars. While experience in either boat can be an advantage, the Resolute Cup is anchored to the belief that the best sailors can make any boat go fast.

“The Melges 20 will be a change and that brings a whole new dynamic,” said Wefer, a four-time collegiate All-American for the University of Michigan. “I have sailed Sonars a fair amount, but the dynamics of the two boats are so different that it will take finding a strong happy medium in both classes to do well. Being consistent is key.”

The peppy Melges 20, with its large asymmetric spinnaker, is one of the world’s most popular and most competitive sportboats, thrilling amateurs and professionals alike with its performance, agility and intense one-design competition. Since sails will be provided and the rig tune will be standardized across the respective fleets, the winning team will be the one that is best able to adapt to the sailing styles required for success in each design.

“At the end of the day everybody has just got sails and you do the same thing to them,” said Jason Michas, who has extensive experience in the Melges 20. “You have to figure out in real time how what you’re doing is affecting how fast you‘re going forward.”

The team that can figure that out the best will claim the 100-year-old silver trophy, a berth in the 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and the right to call themselves the fastest yacht club in the United States.

Live race tracking for the duration of the regatta and a live webcast of the event’s final two days will enable friends, family and fellow club members around the country to follow along as their team competes for one of sailing’s most challenging Corinthian honors.

2016 Competing Clubs
American Yacht Club (Rye, N.Y.)
Austin (Texas) Yacht Club
Balboa Yacht Club (Corona del Mar, Calif.)
Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit)
Beaufort (S.C.) Yacht and Sailing Club
Beverly Yacht Club (Marion, Mass.)
Carolina Yacht Club (Charleston, S.C.)
Chicago Yacht Club
The Cleveland Yachting Club (Rocky River, Ohio)
Coral Reef Yacht Club (Miami)
Corinthian Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.)
The Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia (Essington, Penn.)
Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.)
Lake Geneva Yacht Club (Fontana, Wis.)
Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club
Long Beach (Calif.) Yacht Club
Nantucket (Mass.) Yacht Club
New Bedford Yacht Club (South Dartmouth, Mass.)
New York Yacht Club
Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.)
San Diego Yacht Club
Sandusky (Ohio) Sailing Club
Sea Cliff (N.Y.) Yacht Club
Shelter Island Yacht Club (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.)
Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans)
St. Francis Yacht Club (San Francisco)
Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.)
Wadawanuck Club (Stonington, Conn.)
Winnipesaukee Yacht Club (Gilford, N.H.)

Event Website

About the Resolute Cup
The Resolute Cup is a biennial Corinthian competition among U.S. yacht clubs. The 2016 Resolute Cup will take place Sept. 12 to 17, out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport. R.I. The event is an evolution of the U.S. Qualifying Series for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, which was first held in 2010, and serves as a pathway for American yacht clubs seeking to compete in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, sailing’s premiere international, Corinthian, one-design competition. Competitors in the 2016 Resolute Cup must be World Sailing Group 1 (amateur) sailors and members of the club that they represent. The competition is held in supplied Melges 20 and Sonar keelboats, with standardized sails and rigging, ensuring a true one-design competition where the skill of the sailors—their tactics, boat speed and teamwork—determines the final outcome. Past winners of the Resolute Cup include Newport Harbor Yacht Club (2014), Larchmont Yacht Club (2012) and Eastern Yacht Club (2010).

Report by Event Media

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