Newport, RI (September 14, 2022) – Experience matters at the Resolute Cup. It’s been said before and it will be said again, but it’s more compelling to look at the hard evidence. After a sparkling day of sailing in Lower Narragansett Bay, the leaders of the two qualifying fleets for the Corinthian Championship for US Yacht Clubs are skippered by former winners.
San Diego Yacht Club’s Tyler Sinks dominated the blue fleet, scoring just the top three, while Danny Pletsch has Lakewood Yacht Club one point ahead of two teams in the red fleet. Sinks won this regatta in 2016, while Pletsch propelled the Larchmont Yacht Club into the winner’s circle in 2012.
“We knew we would be comfortable in the RS21s because we have a fleet of them at our home at Lakewood Yacht Club, so we were happy to start the day in that fleet,” says Pletsch. “We tried not to complicate things too much, to find our way and continue towards the windward buoy.
“It was a mental day with the current running through the racecourse. And the wind was coming from Jamestown, so it was very choppy as well. I can’t say one side worked every time; it was head out of the boat and sailing towards dark water.
Eastern Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club, winners in 2010 and 2014 respectively, are second and third in the Blue Fleet. Storm Trysail Club, fourth in 2016 and 2018, is third in the red fleet. Corinthian Yacht Club, currently second in the blue fleet, is the only club in the top three of either fleet to not have finished fourth or better in a previous edition of the regatta.
Sinks and his team from San Diego are technically the defending Resolute Cup champions because there was no event in 2020. But a lot can change in four years. The RS21 hadn’t even been introduced to the US market in 2018.
“It’s been a few months since we’ve sailed Sonars, and it’s still new to RS21, so we’re trying to learn every opportunity we can and just focus on our focus,” says Kayla LaDow of the San Diego Yacht Club team. “It was a head full day out of the boat. We constantly tried to ask ourselves: “Are we going to pressure? and always be above that and look around the racetrack and see what’s going on.
While a 12-boat fleet is small by the standards of many popular one-designs, Pletsch and LaDow said a good start is key to a good race.
“There are so many good clubs and good sailors involved in this event, if you try to complicate it too much you start falling back in the peloton,” says Pletsch. “Key #1 is getting off the start line and being able to go straight. That’s all I think about: ‘Do I have the ability to come straight off the starting line?’ If you can go straight without anyone else fucking you, you’re already in the first half.
And for the first two days of the Resolute Cup, the first half is all that matters since when it comes to the general classification, the first is as good as the sixth in the qualifying series. Tomorrow night the top six teams from each fleet will move up to the Golden Fleet and the scoreboard will be cleared.
As a result, the most interesting part of the dash for the first two days isn’t the pointy end, but right in the middle. Fans of NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments call this precarious position “the bubble.”
With the qualifying heats half over, The Bubble is a popular spot. In the red fleet, there are five teams, separated by nine points, between fourth and eighth. In the blue fleet, it’s even more crowded with nine points separating fourth from ninth.
Among the clubs whose Gold Fleet hopes are on the line is host club New York Yacht Club, who are currently sixth in the Red Fleet. Skipper John Bainton says the path to the Gold Fleet is paved with better results in RS21. The New York Yacht Club team opened the day with three tough races in the energetic sportboat, but bounced back with three top-four finishes in the Sonar.
“We need to improve our maneuverability in the RS21,” says Bainton. “We struggled with that, just to define all the roles and refine the handling of the boat. We are looking forward to starting in the Sonar tomorrow so we can have a really good course setup. I think this will make the transition to RS21 a bit easier as we are not learning the course and the boat at the same time.
In most one-design fleets, the best place to research – outside of the water – is the post-race social, when competitors are usually quite open to sharing advice. However, the efforts of many clubs to participate in this regatta have raised the stakes. The tent tonight was a great place to reconnect with old friends and enjoy the best view of Newport Harbor. Extracting quick nuggets of information, however, was difficult.
“We’re all here to have fun, but at the same time, due to the level of competition and trying to outperform your peers from other clubs, I feel like there’s a bit of a trade secret, in especially in the handling of the boat in the RS21,” says Bainton. “It’s something that gives people an edge, and some teams are a bit more trained in that boat than others.”
With one day under its belt, the New York Yacht Club will be aiming to improve its RS21 results while maintaining its advantage in Sonar. If those two things fall into place, Bainton’s crew will find themselves in the Gold Fleet. But all the other teams that gravitate around the mid-fleet are thinking in the same direction: repairing our mistakes, continuing to rely on our strengths.
The qualifying series races for the 2022 Resolute Cup will begin tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Lower Narragansett Bay. The Gold Fleet and Silver Fleet series will begin Friday morning and run through Saturday afternoon and will be streamed live on Facebook and Youtube.
The races take place from September 14 to 17.
Event Details – Results – Team Composition
The Resolute Cup was first held in 2010 as the American qualifying series for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. The biennial regatta, which takes place from the New York Yacht Club Harbor Court, has since developed its own identity as yacht clubs from across the United States send their top amateur sailors to Newport, RI, to compete for bragging rights. national races in addition to a coveted place in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the premier international Corinthian sailing regatta for large boats.
A live broadcast by Icarus Sports will allow the last two days to be watched online via Youtube and Facebook. TracTrac live tracking will be available for all four days of competition.