by Joe Harris
Atlantic Cup 2012, presented by 11th Hour Racing, final leg of the three stage race is underway. Joe Harris onboard GryphonSolo2 provides a progress update:
Inshore Race Day 1 - Atlantic Cup 2012
The GryphonSolo2 team is preparing for the start today of the inshore series here in foggy Newport RI. This is the final event of the three part regatta that has unfolded over the last three weeks, and GS 2 currently stands in fourth place on the leaderboard after the two offshore legs from Charleston to NYC and then NYC to Newport. The first two offshore legs were sailed double-handed by my co-skipper Tristan Mouligne and myself, but the inshore series will be sailed with six people on the boat. The additional crew members we are bringing on are as follows:
JohnJay Mouligne - Tristan's younger brother, who helped sail the boat to Charleston before the start. JJ has sailed many offshore miles on the Mouligne family boats and is a big, strong guy who will be a huge help at the mast hauling sails up and in general helping on the foredeck.
Charlie Enright - Charlie is a recent grad of Brown University (my alma mater as well) where he sailed for four years with great success. Charlie grew up in Bristol, RI and has sailed on Narragansett Bay his whole life, so has great local knowledge. More recently, Charlie sailed with the Disney-sponsored 'Morning Light' team that did so well in the Transpac race and resulted in a very cool movie that is worth checking out. Charlie now works at North Sails in Portsmouth, RI and will trim sails and help call tactics.
Dylan Vogel - Dylan is a sophomore at Roger Williams College and is a key member of their nationally ranked sailing team. Dylan is the son of Scott Vogel, a former America's Cup sailor and also has been sailing in the Newport area his whole life. Dylan will run the bow and lead sail changes at mark roundings.
Phip Hallowell - Phip has worked at RigPro in Portsmouth RI as a rigger for many years and is a well-known and very highly regarded local sailor who is much sought after for big boat racing both inshore and offshore. Phip has helped me with my various boats over the years and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to masts, running rigging and how to make boats go fast. Phip will trim the main and help call tactics. He is our steadying force to manage the chaos at mark roundings with 14 other boats!
So that is our all-star line-up, not to forget Tristan who is an all-round contributor and will float on the boat between the bow and stern as a trouble-shooter and deck boss. I get the easy job, which is to drive, and the boys are telling me to resist the temptation to pull on the strings and just concentrate on driving. As a solo sailor, I am used to doing everything, so having five teammates on board and just driving is unusual for me, but we each have to concentrate on our roles and do our jobs well for the team to succeed.
I am excited for this inshore series as I think we have an excellent team and stand a good chance to move up in the standings if we race consistently and avoid mistakes and pile-ups at the marks. The weather forecast is for relatively light winds- I hope the fog burns off- but hopefully a sea-breeze will develop in the afternoon as the land warms up and we can get cracking.
Sunday, May 28: Yesterday was a good day for Team GryphonSolo2 as we finished in fourth, then third, then second positions in the three inshore races and moved from fourth place to third place in the overall standings. The racing was really fun, as we zigzagged around Narragansett Bay in close quarters with 13 other Class 40's and the competition was fierce and the racing very tight.
Getting a good start was necessary, and we improved as the day went on, with our downwind start in the third race launching us down the race course towards the Newport Bridge well ahead of the pack and in clear air. In the previous two races with upwind starts we had a bit of trouble getting away clear and finding a lane of clean air.
Overall, it was GS2's fine sailhandling that allowed us to excel and that is a tribute to our crew. I can't say enough about our crew as they really rose to the challenge and executed complicated take-downs and sets at the turning marks that allowed us to make gains where others struggled.
So, I am looking forward to today's racing, with the goal being certainly to hang on to our newly won podium spot, but also to see if we can eat into Bodacious Dream's narrow lead and grab second place. Mare is too far in front in first place to reel in, due mainly to their illegal canting mast, which has given them superior upwind speed and height. More to follow on that.
I will report back at the end of the day's racing.
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