Big Wind, Sunshine and Competition Supercharge the Resolute Cup

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15 September 2016

NEWPORT, R.I. (September 14, 2016) — It was a tale of two fleets on Day 1 of the 2016 Resolute Cup, A Corinthian Championship for U.S. Yacht Clubs. In the Red Group, which spend the day ripping around Narragansett Bay on the speedy Melges 20s, the wheat quickly separated from the chaff, with a handful of teams assembling very strong score lines through five races and setting themselves up to be in the top 5 after the end of the qualifying series tomorrow. Competition in the Blue Group, which sailed the more tactically demanding Sonars, was much more compact, with nearly three-quarters of the fleet finishing in the top 3 in at least one race and the key moments in each race often being decided by the smallest of margins.

"We knew coming it today that it would be a game of inches," said Erik Storck, skipper for the Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.) team, which leads the Blue Group with 30 points from seven races. "We said that after the one practice race we did yesterday. It was just trying to sail free as much as possible on the first beat and tying to be in it at the top mark."

The 2016 Resolute Cup features teams from 28 yacht clubs from all corners and coasts of the United States. Each team is comprised of three or four amateur sailors, each of whom is a member of the club he or she represents. The first two days of the regatta are used to select the 10 teams that will sail in the Melges 20s for the Resolute Cup and a pair of spots in the 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. The remaining 18 will sail in the Sonars for Silver Fleet honors. The 2016 Resolute Cup is sponsored by Porsche, Helly Hansen and Melges Performance Sailboats.

In the Red Group, just three teams won the seven races: Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans), New Bedford Yacht Club (South Dartmouth, Mass.) and Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Newport Beach, Calif.). That trio of crews also claimed a good portion of the remaining podium positions as well. Southern Yacht Club will head into Day 2 of the regatta with just 9 points, from five races, with New Bedford a point behind in second and the California team—the regatta's defending champion—in third with 12 points.

Brothers Marcus and Andrew Eagan, who are sailing for Southern Yacht Club, are quite familiar with the Melges 20, having finished second at the class's 2013 World Championships. The windy conditions, where the Melges 20 scorches downwind at breakneck speeds, rewarded their experience.

"Our boat speed was really good," said Jackson Benvenutti, the Southern Yacht Club tactician. "Upwind everyone kind of seemed the same, but things spread out downwind. There were big differences in speed, but I think most of it was the boat handling. Andrew does a really good job trimming the the kite through the jibes, and Marcus is good at driving the boat. We've been working together well as a team."

Tomorrow the two groups will switch boats. And the weather is forecast to change quite a bit as well, with today's meaty sea breeze replaced by a less punchy wind from the north. For the team from Southern, the light breeze for the Sonar racing could play to their advantage just as the windy conditions did today.

"The Sonar is a handful with three people, but it looks like a little bit of a lighter forecast for tomorrow, which I think plays to our hand a little bit," said Benvenutti. "We might get a little lucky there. But regardless, we're ready even if it's windy, it'll just bit a little bit more of a beast."

For the Storm Trysail crew, which features three Storck siblings, the toughest job may fall to tactician John Storck, who will be responsible for keeping track of the math and ensuring that the team finishes inside the top 5. The scoreboards are wiped clean for the finals, so qualifying is the only thing that matters. 

"Tomorrow's a new day," said Erik Storck, "and I think you're going to see some different names and faces in the top in the Melges. We'll just try to be one of those."

After a grueling day on the water—racing started promptly at 1030 and didn't finish until after 4—the sailors came ashore and quickly scurried off to change for a reception provided by the Italian Trade Commission. Nothing puts the bow on a great day of sailing like some extraordinary Italian food, cocktails and wine.

Racing tomorrow starts at 1000 and another long day is anticipated, with seven races scheduled for each fleet.

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2016 Resolute Cup
New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, Newport, R.I.
Day 1 Preliminary Results
For race-by-race results, click here

Red Fleet: 1. Southern, 9 points; 2. New Bedford, 10; 3. Newport Harbor, 12; 4, St. Francis, 16; 5. New York, 20; 6. Balboa, 21; 7. San Diego, 24; 8, Coral Reef, 35; 9, Beaufort, 36; 10, Larchmont, 37; 11. Nantucket, 39; 12. Corinthian (Phila.), 40; 13. Beverly, 43; 14. Cleveland, 45.

Blue Fleet: 1. Storm Trysail, 28 points; 2. Sea Cliff, 30; 3. Corinthian (Marblehead, Mass.), 35; 4. Carolina, 41; 5. Shelter Island, 42; 6. Austin, 50; 7. American, 53; 8. Winnipesaukee, 55; 9. Chicago, 56; 10. Eastern, 57; 11. Bayview, 65; 12. Wadawanuck, 66; 13. Lake Geneva, 73; 14. Sandusky, 86.

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; 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.)