With a fleet of five Class 40s competing in The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing #106-GryphonSolo2, skippered by Joe Harris and Patrick O’Connor, crossed the finish line first at 05:20:10 ET on Wednesday, May 14, with an elapsed time of 89:15:10 to complete the 642 nautical mile first off-shore leg of the Atlantic Cup from Charleston, S.C. to New York Harbor. The race, the most sustainable sailing event in the United States, saw USA’s 106-Gryphon Solo 2 finish 15 minutes, five seconds ahead of #54 Dragon (89:30:05), followed by the team of #39 Pleiad Racing (89:37:20).
GryphonSolo2 - 2014 Atlantic Cup
The race began at 12:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 10th from the Charleston Maritime Center, which saw teams from the USA, compete extremely closely for the three-day, first leg. The teams left Charleston harbor with double-reefed mains in 20-25 knots of breeze. #116 JeffreyMacFarlane.com jumped out in front after the start, but #106-GryphonSolo2 moved ahead when the spinnakers went up. The fleet left Charleston on a fast passage to Cape Hatteras, which in the first night brought squalls across the course. #116-JeffreyMacFarlane.com damaged their primary spinnaker, which proved to be costly for the remainder of the race. After Cape Hatteras the fleet encountered 24 hours of light fluky wind as a frontal passage passed over the area towards the east. The front three boats of #54-Dragon, #39-Pleiad and #106 GryphonSolo2 were in sight of each other for the first two days of the race with lead changes occurring on multiple occasions. As the teams approached the New Jersey coastline, Dragon and Pleiad headed for the coastline in search of wind.
GryphonSolo2 made a move toward the east, which proved critical when the new breeze came in as it allowed them to overtake the leaders. Coming into NY Harbor, GryphonSolo2 was defending a .1nm lead and was 300 yards away from the finish line in a very fickle breeze. The breeze shut off allowing Pleiad to catch up and both teams battled to reach the finish in a windless, current against them situation for over three hours. Dragon, who was 9nm behind closed the gap and also fought the fickle, current situation. All three teams had multiple approaches to the finish line before they were able to actually finish. GryphonSolo2 ultimately was able to sail past the line and allow the current to take them back down to duck across the finish.
The leading three teams traded positions in the run up to New York where ultimately first through third were separated by a mere 22 minutes.
'We had the most bizarre finish. I’ve never seen anything like this happen. We would come in get close, run out of wind and get pushed back. This happened three times and then Pleiad showed up to the party, they approached the finish multiple times and the same thing happened, and then Dragon showed up. We were able to sail over to New Jersey to get a little breeze and sail up past the mark before dipping back in to cross the line. For two years of racing in the Atlantic Cup I haven’t won a leg so this is a really great feeling,' said GryphonSolo2 skipper Joe Harris.
'For me it feels awesome to win, I’ve been around the Atlantic Cup for four years and this was my first year racing so to come out and get a win in the first leg is fantastic,' said GryphonSolo2 co-skipper Patrick O’Connor.
*Due to technical difficulties, #25 - Flatline was unable to make the start in Charleston, SC, but will join the fleet in New York City. Flatline will be scored as DNS (did not start) and be given 0 points for the first leg. The first leg represents one third of the scoring for the overall Atlantic Cup, so Flatline is still in contention once they join the fleet.