Cream rising at Resolute Cup
Published on September 16th, 2022
Newport, RI (September 16, 2022) – On a shifty, puffy and generally frustrating day on Narragansett Bay, the key to success in the 2022 Resolute Cup was patience and conservative decision making, at least according to the two skippers currently occupying the top two slots.
“Anything in the top six, we’re happy with,” says Wade Waddell, of the Corinthian Yacht Club team. “If we found ourselves in the top group, we were looking to play defense more than for an opportunity to go from fourth to second. If we can pass a boat with taking little risk then we will.”
With four finishes between fifth and second, Waddell steered the Corinthian Yacht Club team into the overall lead on the first day of Gold Fleet sailing in the Resolute Cup. Two points behind Corinthian is the defending champion crew from San Diego Yacht Club, which started the day with a win and then added three more solid, if unspectacular, finishes.
“You’ve got to be patient,” says Tyler Sinks, from San Diego Yacht Club. “It’s very painful sometimes because you execute your game plan and things don’t work out or the race goes inside out. We had a situation today where the guy in first got passed by a big pack from behind. It’s just that kind of race. It’s so shifty, it’s so puffy. No lead is safe.”
After two days of relatively fresh breezes, which allowed the race committee to whip through races in rhythm during the two-day Qualifying Series, the opening day of Gold and Silver fleet sailing was much more challenging.
The northerly breeze shifted often, died early, but then refused to cede the inner Bay to a southerly seabreeze knocking on the southern boundary. The race committee battled all day, moving marks and shortening races when needed. But it was still a day to keep your head out of the boat and your expectations in check.
“It was shifty, and a lot of variation in pressure and current to take into account,” says Marie Crump, who is sailing for Storm Trysail Club. “You had to keep racing every single second. You really had to not rest on what last race was. There were some patterns. But even between the two fleets, we were seeing different things.”
Crump is sailing with three brothers, Erik, John, and Ian Storck. They were the top qualifier from the Blue Fleet and looked very strong in the first three races today. An 11th in the last race dropped them to third, six points behind second, but well within striking distance of Waddell and Corinthian Yacht Club with one day of racing remaining.
For Waddell, even with the shifts and pressure changes, the start was still the most critical part of the race.
“Our priority off the line was to have options,” says Waddell, who was an All-American sailor at Boston College, graduating in 2019. “That sounds simple, but I really wanted to put the boat in a position where if we got off the line and saw pressure left we could hold our lane forever and get there, but if we saw an opportunity to go right, we had the ability do that as well. Low density [starting position] with options.”
This is the first appearance at the Resolute Cup for both Waddell and Corinthian Yacht Club, which occupies a classic waterfront clubhouse on Marblehead Neck, north of Boston. The event can be intimidating for first-timers, but Waddell is soaking up the experience with aplomb.
“It’s fun, it’s competitive,” says Waddell. “Switching boats is a really cool format. We’re really fortunate to have lot of people at the club who are really excited about team racing and that carries over to all New York Yacht Club events. I’ve received tons of texts all week, from Day 1, a lot of support from the club.”
Like Waddell, Sinks was also a star collegiate sailor at Boston College. In the decade since he graduated, Sinks has packed in a fair amount of “adult” sailing to augment his college resume, including a win in the 2018 Resolute Cup and two podium finishes in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.
Will that help tomorrow when the pressure mounts at the sharp end of the fleet?
“Every event is kind of its own event, but I think it does, it has to,” says Sinks. “There were times when we would get kind of wound up and nervous about the last day, but we’ve done enough events where we know there’s always going to be another race, another regatta. So we’re just going to take it one race at a time. Some things are out of your control at these regattas, some things are in your control. We’re just going to do the best we can.”
The Silver Fleet was able to get in three races before the breeze died, Southern Yacht Club won two of three races and has the lead by two points over Carolina Yacht Club. New York Yacht Club is third after a win in the final race.
Racing is held September 14-17.
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 coveted berth in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, sailing’s premiere international Corinthian big-boat regatta.