San Diego Yacht Club’s path to the pinnacle of Corinthian sailing started with a win in the 2018 Resolute Cup. At the time, Tyler Sinks and his team had no way of knowing it would take five years, numerous cross country flights and more than a little heartbreak before they could bring the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup home to San Diego. But the most rewarding journeys in life usually come without a precise roadmap or a fixed schedule.
“The Invitational Cup is a big undertaking, both financially and logistically,” says Sinks (above, at left, after winning the 2018 Resolute Cup). “It took a full team effort to help raise the funds, get the days off work, cancel other plans and quite simply, prioritize the regatta. It’s the cost of winning, and it was all worth it in the end. Having come so close in 2019 and 2021, winning in 2023 felt all that much better knowing how much we had all put into it. The feeling is hard to describe.”
Since 2010, the Resolute Cup has served as a Corinthian Championship for U.S. Yacht Clubs and the only surefire pathway for an American club to earn a berth in the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, Corinthian sailing’s most prestigious international competition. The seventh edition of the Resolute Cup is scheduled for September 9 to 14 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I. The regatta will utilize the Club’s fleet of Sonars, with provided sails, equalized rig tune and on-the-water umpiring ensuring sailing’s ultimate level playing field. The request for invitation window is currently open and will close on Friday, February 23. The Notice of Race is available here.
Historically, the Resolute Cup has proven an effective crucible. Of the six U.S. yacht clubs to have won the Resolute Cup, four have gone on to finish first or second in the following year’s Invitational Cup. But the competition is much more than just a steppingstone. It’s a rare chance for sailors to compete without worrying whether they did enough boat maintenance or bought the right new sails during the off season. The requirement that every sailor be both a World Sailing Group 1 competitor—i.e. an amateur sailor—and a member of the club he or she represents ensures the regatta is a lively melting pot of like-minded athletes from across the country. The post-race socializing is as fun as the racing is intense.
“There is no better competition in sailing than a borrowed-boat regatta,” says Sinks (at left). “The parity amongst the boats really prioritizes how the teams sail the boats and work as a team. So much of sailing today is who has the nicer sails, or the new boat, or the sweet bottom job. I want to know who the best team is. Also, the price of admission is far lower than if you had to bring your own boat to the regatta.”
For five of the six previous editions of the Resolute Cup, the event has been sailed in two fleets of boats and broken into two days of qualifying and two days of gold- and silver-fleet competition. This year, as was the case in 2018, only the New York Yacht Club’s Sonar fleet will be used, and the field will be increased to 28 teams.
“We’ve always had more interest in the event than space available,” says event chair A.J. Evans. “Expanding the field to 28 teams ensures greater representation from across the country. We’ll be able to let in more grass roots sailing clubs that have both the passion and talent to do well at the regatta, but maybe not the name recognition of the bigger clubs.”
Selection for the Resolute Cup is by resume. Clubs must complete the online Request for Invitation (click here) by Friday, February 23. Clubs will be notified in early March whether their request has been accepted.
Then the hard work begins. And who knows better what’s required than Sinks, who won two renowned borrowed-boat competitions in 2023, the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and San Diego Yacht Club’s Lipton Cup.
“Surround yourself with the best teammates you possibly can,” he says. “If I had a dollar for how many times my crew helped get us out of a tough situation on the water, I’d be retired. Our team stayed together throughout the 5-year Invitational Cup Campaign, which helped us learn together and make gains as a team. I can’t emphasize the importance of solid teammates; they make all the difference.”