Clubs Seek to Repeat at Resolute Cup


Pulling a few favorites from the diverse and talented roster of 30 American yacht clubs that will compete for the 2016 Resolute Cup this September is not an easy task. One place to start is with the three clubs that have previously won the regatta.

The 2016 Resolute Cup, which will be sailed out of the New York Yacht Club’s majestic Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, R.I., Sept. 12 to 17, is an evolution of the U.S. Qualifying Series for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.

The re-branding of the USQS, sailed every even year since 2010, is a tribute to the interest and effort committed to the event by clubs from all corners of the United States, and nearly everywhere in between as well. While it was launched as a feeder event, the Resolute Cup has grown into the unofficial keelboat championship for the United States yacht clubs.

Three different clubs won the three previous editions of the regatta, and each will return to contest the fourth. The defending champion is Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Harbor, Calif.), which also placed third in 2010 and fourth in 2012. Skipper Justin Law, a native of Southern California, is new to the Resolute Cup, but not to Newport, R.I., nor the New York Yacht Club.

“Anything at the New York Yacht Club is always really well run,” he says. “I spent three summers coaching at Sail Newport. I love Newport in the summer, so any chance to get back I take.”

Law is quick to add that this event is distinct from almost every other keelboat regatta, and that representing his home club will only add to the challenge.

“The club is really looking to qualify for the Invitational Cup,” says Law, noting that only the top two boats in the Resolute Cup will be guaranteed a spot in the 2017 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup. “We know the pressure is there, but I don’t think we’ll start feeling it until we get to Newport.”

The Resolute Cup, which features provided boats and sails, short courses and prohibitions against any rig tuning, is often compared to a college regatta. So it’s no surprise that Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club has turned to Andrew Mollerus, fresh off an All-American senior season at Harvard University, to lead its squad. He’ll be supported by tactician Jamie Anderson and crew Peter Beardsley.

“The Resolute Cup is a unique regatta,” says Mollerus. “I love that it draws talented American sailors from a ton of different regions, ages and backgrounds to compete in standardized boats: a style of racing seldom found outside of college sailing. It is also a remarkable opportunity to race on behalf of Larchmont Yacht Club at such an event.”

Larchmont finished fourth in the 2010 Resolute Cup before upgrading to first in 2012. The string of top-five finishes came to an abrupt end with a 12th-place result in 2014.

“I’m not sure what the membership’s expectations are, but we know we have their support no matter what,” says Beardsley. “There is a deep talent pool at LYC and expectations are usually high. We think that if we can make it to the Championship Series in Melges 20s that a lot of folks from LYC will expect us to be very strong since we have one of the largest sportboat fleets in the country with our Viper 640s. But just making it that far will be an accomplishment given the depth of the Resolute Cup fleet.”

While Larchmont and Newport Harbor will pin their hopes on first-time Resolute Cup skippers, Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.) will once again turn to keelboat guru Bill Lynn, who skippered the EYC team to victory in 2010 and second place in 2014, as well as a ninth in 2012.

“For Eastern, it’s always been about trying to qualify for the Invitational Cup, which we’ve managed to do two of the three times we’ve sailed in this event,” says Lynn. “We were in the hunt last year for the Invitational Cup [Eastern finished third], and we have a ton of support from the membership, so we figured we’d take another swing at winning it.”

Taking another swing at the Resolute Cup means learning a new boat. The Resolute Cup has always used two different boats to ensure the winner is the best team and not simply the crew with the most experience in a specific design. For 2012 and 2014, the J/70 was used along with the Sonar. This year, the Melges 20 will be used in addition to the Club’s fleet of 21 Sonars.

Lynn is a former world champion in the Sonar class and doesn’t expect any problems with that boat. But if all goes according to plan, and Eastern is among the 10 teams that qualify for the Gold Fleet, Lynn will have to win the regatta in the Melges 20.

“It’s a tricky little beast to sail well,” he says, “but the standardized tuning should simplify things a bit. We’ve been sorting out the boat handling and I think that’s the area that’s going to separate the winners: who can get the kite up and down, plane sooner and jibe better. In terms of our chances against the M20 regulars, who knows? Good tactics and boat handling might be enough to neutralize our lack of time in the boat, but we could also be in for an epic beating.”

That is true of every team competing in the 2016 Resolute Cup, regardless of pedigree. With the fleet expanded to 30 teams, just a third will qualify for the Gold Fleet. Teams that focus too heavily on the Melges 20 may find themselves struggling in the Sonar, which will be used for two-thirds of the qualifying races for all 30 teams.

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 their team as compete for one of sailing’s most challenging Corinthian honors.

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.); Riverside (Conn.) Yacht Club; 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.).

Background: 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 served 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 keelboats, with standardized 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 U.S. Qualifying Series include Newport Harbor Yacht Club (2014), Larchmont Yacht Club (2012) and Eastern Yacht Club (2010).

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