November 9, 2018

The Story of RESOLUTE, BB25

RESOLUTE Crew at the Panerai awards ceremony. Left to Right:  Paul Conway, Jonathan Harvey, Panerai presenter, Jack Alexander, Brian Cardillo and Paul Chasse. Photo © Cory Silken / Panerai

When Jonathan Harvey says he’s been sailing his whole life, it’s not an exaggeration.  His first outing was on a catboat on the Mohawk River at just a few months old in early 1942, and he’s been sailing ever since! 

From racing 12 meters in Cowes, ocean racers to Spain, finishing first in the Bermuda Race on STORMVOGEL, to racing a Star Boat on Lake George in New York, Jonathan has a rich and varied history on the water, and is a long time member of the New York Yacht Club.  It was eleven years ago, when Jonathan and his wife Margaret were racing DULCIBELLA, a Stuart Knockabout off Manchester, Massachusetts,  that he decided his next boat needed to be a Herreshoff Buzzard’s Bay 25. Jonathan had been unhappily trailing one particular BB25 when he decided that to get in front, he would need his own.  In consultation with his friends, sailmaker Robbie Doyle, wooden boat builder Damian McLaughlin Jr., and Gloucester boatyard owner Jack Alexander, Jonathan decided to commission construction of his own BB25,  and campaign her with a group of first rate North Shore sailors.  The result was RESOLUTE, a very fast race boat with a storied name.

For the last decade, RESOLUTE has successfully raced on the North Shore and taken a lot of silver, but it is this past summer that Jonathan will remember most fondly, and in particular, the Marblehead leg of the Panerai Classic Yacht Regatta.  As the skipper and helmsman, Jonathan was always cautioned not to turn around to see where the other boats were in relation to RESOLUTE, the theory being that he needed to pay attention to boat speed and leave tactics to others.  It was just a quarter mile from the finish line at the head of Marblehead Harbor when Jack Alexander gave Jonathan permission to take a moment to do just that.  RESOLUTE was in the lead and the entire fleet was fighting to catch up.   It was not to be.  RESOLUTE took the gun and with that, almost ended her decade long racing career.  However, Margaret encouraged him to do the Commodore’s Cup at the Eastern Point Yacht Club in Gloucester, and so, as her final race under Jonathan’s command, RESOLUTE won the 2018 Commodore’s Cup, for the second time.

Jonathan says of RESOLUTE that she is a handful to sail, fast and elegant – a remarkable miracle given the age of the design.  Below is his race report from the 2018 Panerai regatta in August.

Pleased to report that RESOLUTE was First to Finish and overall winner of the Marblehead leg of the 2018 Panerai Classic Yacht Regatta in the Grand Prix Class. Jonathan, Jack Alexander, Paul Chasse, Brian Cardillo and Paul Conway (a new recruit) on board.  Two trophies, one from the Corinthian Yacht Club and one from the Panerai Watch Company, a large silver plate, and lots of photos at the awards ceremony. There were 52 boats this year including the 12 Metre VALIANT, COLUMBIA (the Starling Burgess schooner), a sister ship to RESOLUTE, SONNY, a New York 50, SIREN, a New York 32, sister ship to Rod Steven's MUSTANG, the Sydney Herreshoff 42 sailed by John Taguiri, two Concordia yawls, BLACKWATCH (with Robbie Doyle aboard), the big Sparkman and Stevens yawl that beat us to win the regatta a few years back, and an array of magnificent classic yachts including WHEN AND IF, General George S. Patton’s John Alden Schooner.  Conditions were RESOLUTE weather, flat, 10-13 knots of breeze and a light rain.  We used the #1 Doyle jib, took the lead early on and never relinquished it. No boat caught us, although it was a bit close at the finish.  With the board up on the reaching legs, RESOLUTE accelerated and seemed to be telling us to just "let her run".  I kept a light hand on the tiller and she loped along the following seas with very little commotion. It was a triangle course up to Newcomb's Ledge, then to the next mark, twice around, finish at the head of Marblehead Harbor.  It was a bit nerve wracking at the end, and sweet relief to get the gun with the whole fleet pounding on our back door (18 miles). A very special day for RESOLUTE and her last major regatta.  At the end of season, she is being donated to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol.

Thank you to Jonathan and Margaret for entrusting us with her! Drop by next summer to see her in the water as a part of our education programs, inspiring a new generation of sailors.