The competition for the 2016 Resolute Cup, a Corinthian Championship for U.S. Yacht Clubs, ended long before the final race. The team from Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans, La.) was so dominant they would’ve won the regatta even if they didn’t sail the final two races. Marcus and Andrew Eagan, along with Jackson Benvenutti, did sail those two races—which they won, just like every other Gold Fleet race today—and the final margin of victory was 28 points, against a total score of 13. The 2016 Resolute Cup is sponsored by Porsche Cars North America, Helly Hansen and Melges Performance Sailboats.
On the other hand, the race for the other two key honors—the second qualifying spot for the 2017 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup and the Silver Fleet champion—couldn’t have been any tighter. After some white-knuckle racing and some fretful moments while the scores were counted, Balboa Yacht Club (Corona del Mar, Calif.) finished second in the Gold Feet while Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit, Mich.) survived a incredibly intense race for first place in the Silver Fleet.
“This is a great win for Southern Yacht Club and a good one to bring back home,” said Andrew Eagan. “A lot of people at home have been watching and emailing Marcus and I and Jackson, texting us and leaving us voicemails. My mom and dad just flew in yesterday so they’ll be here tonight at the dinner to celebrate with us.”
The Eagan family has every reason to celebrate. The Southern team started strong on Day 1 of the qualifying and never showed any sign of weakness through 23 races over four days. Only two of their results were outside the top 3.
“We seemed to really mesh together as the event went on,” said Andrew Eagan. “We’ve sailed together before and have a lot of the same mindset on doing things. We established on Monday our routine from going to bed to waking up in the morning to getting through the day and we kind of kept our routine going and it seemed to work: plenty of rest and talk about how to get better each day and what not to do.”
While Southern Yacht Club was blitzing the fleet, a pair of very interesting battles played out. The first was for the final qualifying spot for next fall’s Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup. Entering the final race, four teams were within two points of that spot. Eastern Yacht Club, which has won this event before, held the initial advantage, but on the fourth of five legs, Alex Steele and Balboa Yacht Club seized on an opportunity.
“We knew that we had to beat Eastern and [on the final run] we were talking about jibing early, but we decided on staying with them and trying to hurt them a bit,” said Balboa Yacht Club skipper Alex Steele. “We ended up rolling Eastern and making them jibe off and they lost two boats. It really came down to the last run.”
Steele was a little disappointed by his own performance during the first three days of the regatta. Things turned today with a team decision to loosen up and enjoy the moment.
“Yesterday we were just angry at each other and not having fun,” said Steele. “Today we said let’s just step back and relax a bit and still sail super hard and tight. I was listening to Toots and the Maytals and a French DJ group [while racing]. It was a fun day. It was great racing. This is probably the tightest racing I’ve done in 15 years. With the quality of the competition, even getting out of our qualifying group was difficult.”
Eastern Yacht Club (Marblehead, Mass.) rounded out the top three, two points behind Balboa. Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Shelter Island (N.Y.) Yacht Club were tied for fourth a point further back, with the former winning the tiebreaker.
Bayview Yacht Club Finds Its Silver Living
After coming to terms with the disappointment of not making the Gold Fleet, Marc Hollerbach and his team from Detroit’s venerable Bayview Yacht Club set their sights on being the best of the rest.
“We thought consistency would be what would pay off, and we were not,” said Hollerbach with a wry chuckle. “But neither was anyone else, fortunately. The distinction between the Silver and Gold Fleet is a distinction with no real meaning because anyone of the teams in the Silver Fleet could’ve been in the Gold Fleet, they just were not for this regatta. The people we’re sailing against in the Silver Fleet, I would drive 1,000 miles just to sail against those guys. Consistency we thought would do it, but there were so many good people you just couldn’t be consistent.”
So in the absence of a steady diet of top-five finishes, Hollerbach and his crew of son Nathan Hollerbach and Nick Marcolini tried to take advantage of their moments, winning one race and finishing four others in the top three, and limit the damage when things didn’t go well. At no point was that more apparent than in the final race where Bayview battled for in the middle of the pack for five legs, moving between sixth and 13th before eventually finishing 10th. Nine seconds was all that separated from the Detroit club from 12th place in that race, and second place in the regatta.
“The fleet is ridiculously good and it was super shifty and if you couldn’t get off the line you were behind, forced out to the edge and you had to take when the fleet gave you,” said Nathan Hollerbach, the team’s tactician. “That’s what happens in very intense racing.”
“I’ve not been involved with this before, we’ve sent other team in past, but it’s very important for Bayview to participate,” said Marc Hollerbach. “The Resolute Cup has become more and more intense and the level of competition is rising. This has become a premier event in the country and we want to be a part of it.”
With the win in the Silver Fleet, Bayview has earned an invitation of the 2018 Resolute Cup. Given the positive reviews from competitors at this year’s event, that guaranteed berth could be quite valuable. More than 40 clubs applied to be a part of this year’s event and that number could well rise in two years.
Corinthian Spirit Award Winner to Put Bike Toward Youth Team in 2018
While the results had been finalized long before the awards ceremony, there was one surprise remaining. The Corinthian Spirit award was voted on by the competitors and the result was not revealed until late in the award ceremony. Porsche Cars North America contributed a Porsche RS Bike, with a retail value of $8,000, as part of the award. Each team received one vote and every competitor was eligible. The winner was Brandon Flack of the Wadawanuck Club (Stonington, Conn.) team. And he quickly proved his mettle by promising to donate the bike toward a youth team to compete in the regatta in 2018. Once a sportsman, always a sportsman. It certainly ended this regatta on a very promising note.