National bragging rights at Resolute Cup
Published on August 3rd, 2022
After a four-year layoff, amateur sailors representing two dozen of the top racing yacht clubs in the United States will once again gather in Newport for the sixth edition of the Resolute Cup, a Corinthian Championship for U.S. Yacht Clubs.
The 2022 Resolute Cup, which will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court September 12 to 17, is also the only guaranteed pathway for a U.S. yacht club hoping to earn a berth for the 2023 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the premiere international regatta for Corinthian sailors.
“We were really disappointed to lose the 2020 event to COVID,” says Jack Cummiskey, the event chair. “But the 20-plus yacht clubs that had signed up for 2020 and immediately committed to this edition were a strong indication of the nationwide support for this regatta. The event is very special, both for the competitors and the host club.”
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, RI.
The field will seek both national bragging rights along with a coveted berth in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, sailing’s premiere international Corinthian big-boat regatta. The 2022 Resolute Cup, which will run September 12 to 17, will use the New York Yacht Club’s fleet of 23-foot Sonars and a fleet of RS21s provided by regatta sponsor RS Sailing.
There is no better indication of the regard with which clubs hold this event than the quality of the sailors lining up to compete. While all are certified amateur sailors—as determined by World Sailing, the sport’s international governing body—there is a strong congregation of sailing talent including regional and national champions, collegiate All-Americans and former Olympic sailors.
“Our Club has a growing talent pool, I was very honored when the team campaigning for the Resolute Cup asked me to join,” says Shelter Island Yacht Club skipper Amanda Clark, a two-time Olympic sailor in the Women’s 470 class. “My husband and I run a water filtration and water testing business now, so I have less time to sail or coach. I had to wait till I knew what my summer and fall was going to look like before I could commit.”
Shelter Island Yacht Club (Shelter Island Heights, NY) may look like the epitome of a quaint, family-focused club from the outside, but beneath the weathered wooden-shingle exterior is a serious competitive fire.
“Our team has solid experience sailing in Sonars as our club has a few we use for match racing and team racing,” says Clark. “While we have the two RS21s at the club on loan, we are trying to maximize our time training. So far we have found the boat to be sporty and fun to sail. We have been working on downwind mode choice and teamwork around the course.”
As was the case with four of the five previous editions of the regatta, the 2022 Resolute Cup will utilize two fleets of boats, the New York Yacht Club’s fleet of 23-foot Sonars, with traditionally rigged spinnakers and a displacement hull, and a fleet of 21-foot RS21s, which feature a planing hull and an asymmetric spinnaker flown from a retractable bow sprit.
The 24 teams will be divided into two fleets for two days of qualifying where each team will compete in both boats. The top six boats in each fleet will move into the Gold Fleet, which will sail exclusively in the RS21s for the final two days of the regatta, while the Silver Fleet will compete in the Sonars.
Though the boats are roughly the same size, they require different skill sets, which will reward teams of versatile sailors.
“Transitioning between the Sonar and RS21 can be a challenge since their handling characteristics are quite different, as are downwind tactics and strategy with a sprit boat compared to a spinnaker pole,” says Peter Vessella, of the St. Francis Yacht Club team from San Francisco, CA.
“The heavy Sonar with a bigger keel is slow to accelerate, but carries momentum, while the RS21, with smaller, high aspect foils, accelerates faster, but doesn’t carry momentum. Starting techniques have to be tailored to each boat. The teams that can feel comfortable in both boats and mentally switch gears will probably be up at the top in the final standings.”
Vessella is a veteran one-design competitor, with decades of experience in boats such as the Star, Laser, Etchells, and VX One. This will be his second time competing in the Resolute Cup and he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Participating in the prestigious Resolute Cup is an opportunity to compete and test your skills against other amateur sailors from around the country,” he says. “Being organized by the New York Yacht Club assures it will be fair and well run.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to sail under our burgee and represent the St. Francis Yacht Club at this prestigious event. My team will do our best to make our members proud.”
2022 Resolute Cup Teams*
American Yacht Club, Rye, N.Y.; Austin (Texas) Yacht Club; Carolina Yacht Club, Charleston, S.C.; Chicago Yacht Club; Corinthian Yacht Club, Marblehead, Mass.; Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, Mass.; Fort Worth (Texas) Boat Club; Houston Yacht Club, La Porte, Texas; Lakewood Yacht Club, Seabrook, Texas; Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club; Muskegon (Mich.) Yacht Club; New York Yacht Club; Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Newport Beach, Calif.; Noroton Yacht Club, Darien, Conn.; Pensacola (Fla.) Yacht Club; San Diego Yacht Club; Seattle Yacht Club; Shelter Island Yacht Club, Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.; Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, La.; Stamford (Conn.) Yacht Club, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, Calif.; Storm Trysail Club, Larchmont, N.Y.; The San Francisco Yacht Club, Belvedere, Calif.
*One team still to be announced