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First-timers eager to take on Resolute Cup Challenge

by New York Yacht Club 9 Aug 2018 16:05 BST 10-15 September 2018
Club Náutico de San Juan - 2018 Resolute Cup © Courtesy of the CNSJ

The entry list for the fifth edition of the Resolute Cup, the premier national interclub keelboat competition, will expand beyond the boundaries of the contiguous United States for the first time this September. Shouldering the pride of a Caribbean island with a rich sailing heritage will be the crew representing the Club Náutico de San Juan from Puerto Rico.

"Although well known for its International Billfish Tournament, Club Náutico de San Juan has, since its founding in 1930, a long sailing tradition," says Jose Cartagena, Commodore of the CNSJ. "In addition to several Olympic sailors, the Junior Sailing Program has produced several one-design world champions and outstanding college sailors. We think that our sailors can compete well with sailors from other yacht clubs around the nation. The Resolute Cup is the one venue where we can certainly test ourselves."

The Resolute Cup, which was previously known as the U.S. Qualifying Series for the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, was first run in 2010 and is held every other September at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I. The regatta pulls together some of the best amateur sailors from around the United States, each representing their home yacht club. The provided-boat format ensures as level a playing field as exists in the sport of sailing with the skill and preparation of each team determining the final outcome. In 2018, 28 teams from all three major U.S. coastlines, plus the inland lakes, will converge on Newport for four days of intense one-design racing in the Club's fleet of identical Sonar keelboats (right). The winning team will earn its club an invitation to sailing's premier amateur big-boat competition, the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. The 2018 Resolute Cup is sponsored by AIG Private Client Group and Helly Hansen.

The Club Náutico de San Juan is one of a handful of yacht clubs that will be sailing in the Resolute Cup for the first time. Also on that list are Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club from Blue Hill, Maine; Houston Yacht Club from La Porte, Texas; and Sachem's Head Yacht Club from Guilford, Conn.

"Our members, particularly the sailors, feel honored by the invitation and are very enthusiastic about the Club's participation in the 2018 Resolute Cup," says Cartagena. "Many have expressed interest in being in Newport for the regatta."

The feeling is similar in picturesque Down East Maine, where Kollegewidgwok members enjoy an active summer schedule of racing in Atlantics, Herreshoff 12 1/2s and Lasers.

"Our club is very excited about being accepted to compete in the Resolute Cup," says KYC Fleet Captain Sean Guinness. "We do a lot of fleet racing in July and August and are always looking for ways to get more sailing in."

Historically, the Resolute Cup hasn't been kind to first-time competitors. Sandra Baldridge, from Houston Yacht Club in La Porte, Texas, said her team is aiming for the top of the leaderboard, but is also well aware of the work it will take just to be in contention for a top finish.

"Our team hasn't talked about where we want to end up, but obviously in the top two would be a great accomplishment," says Baldridge. "Our main focus right now is to plan, work hard and train for the event.

"Our Resolute Cup team training includes competing in the Wednesday night races, either locally on Clear Lake or at the Sea Base in Galveston. Our neighboring yacht club has a fleet of Sonars and we were able to secure one for additional practices. In addition, members of our team actively sail other boats on a regular basis."

In just over a month's time, it will be apparent whether Houston Yacht Club's preparation, and that of the other three rookie clubs, will measure up to what was put in by the 24 teams from clubs with prior Resolute Cup experience. The final two days of the regatta will be live streamed via Facebook..

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