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Afloat: Winds of fortune

By invitation only. That is how The Resolute Cup, held at the New York Yacht Club’s (NYYC) Newport station, defines the entrants to its four days of one design racing.

The Cup, first started in 2010, is a bi-annual event bringing together the top amateur sailors from a roster of yacht clubs with competitive sailing programs.

That roster is truly national in scope, with clubs from San Diego and New Orleans on the water. Sailing took place Wednesday Sept. 14 to Saturday the 17th.

This year’s Cup saw our own (SIYC) team of Amanda Clark, Jack Lane, Connor Needham, Allie Maurillo and alternate Alex King make their way to Newport, where the team experienced its waters at their best. Day after day saw steady winds and bright blue skies.

The waters sparkled and the town and magnificent NYYC chateau-style clubhouse were the very definition of New England.

Two different types of boats were sailed, one a 23-foot Sonar and the other an RS21. Each class of boat is identical in every way allowing the sailors aboard to demonstrate their skills at navigation, sail handling, and race course tactics to be the determining factor in the competition.

There was a sendoff party on Friday, Sept. 9. At the event, past Olympic contender Amanda Clark spoke about the SIYC’s participation: “Racing at the club is always evolving, the club was founded on racing and we are very active on the water, we have a deep talent pool of racing sailors. I am thrilled to be part of the team.”

Kathi Needham added, “We are so grateful to the sailing program for giving Connor his love of the sport, the club’s sailing and racing program has been a great experience.”

Several club members as well as this columnist made their way to Newport to support the team.

Dennis and Ellen Clark sailed (actually motored) up on their boat. Peter and Kathi Needham sailed up on their catamaran Aloha and served as the observation boat for the races.

Friday and Saturday they had a full crew of spectators. Ben Dyett and Jay Cross took the fast track and went up by speedboat.

Others like Steve Schram and Jay Mills went by car.

Thursday night saw a festive party at Harbor Court for all 23 invited clubs under a big tent by the water’s edge. The Shelter Island team had much to celebrate as they learned they qualified for the Gold Series. Thus the final two days of racing were against the best of the fleet as the other boats competed in the Silver Series. 

Alas, the SIYC team, up against stiff competition, did not finish in the top three places.

However, there should be no doubt that the club and the team did their best and shared an amazing experience participating in the Resolute Cup, one that they and all who supported them can be proud of.