by Joe Harris
The Atlantic Cup, presented by 11th Hour Racing, gets underway on May 11th in Charleston, S.C. Joe Harris, skipper of GryphonSolo2, reports on a few bits of news and pre-race thoughts:
2013 Atlantic Cup
We began the season a bit early this year by participating in Charleston Race Week two weeks ago and won our small class of three Class 40's. The win was more by attrition than brilliance, as the wind blew over 30 knots on the third and last day of racing, and our compatriots Dragon and Icarus suffered equipment damage and had to retire. It was a good shakedown before racing hard offshore and we worked out a few kinks ourselves. On the second day of racing, we inadvertently left the inspection port of the port forward water ballast tank slightly ajar, so as we filled the tank with seawater, we effectively filled the forepeak. When I went below to see why it was taking so long to fill, I found a swimming pool in the bow, with the battery box nearly underwater. Yipes! We hooked up the mobile bilge pump and pumped like crazy. Disaster was averted and we won't make that mistake again!
We are now looking ahead to the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing, which will start on May 11th in Charleston, S.C. We are very excited to be working with a new energy sponsor, Green Mountain Energy. Green Mountain Energy is the nation's longest serving renewable energy retailer. Green Mountain offers residential, business, institutional and governmental customers an easy way to purchase cleaner, competitively-priced electricity products, as well as the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Green Mountain Energy began in Vermont in August 1997 with a simple idea: To change the way power is made. The Green Mountain logo will fly proudly on GS2's sails and we are looking forward to producing a good result for our new sponsor.
The Atlantic Cup has seven Class 40's entered, with a good mix between old and new boats. Our goal on GS2 is to improve on our third place finish last year, but the competition will be stiff. Fresh out of the wrapper is 'LeCoq Cuisine' from the drawing board of acclaimed Open 60 designer Guillaume Verdier, and they are expected to be quick. Bodacious Dream, a Kiwi 40 and Farr Yacht Design creation showed her speed last year in taking second place overall. 40 Degrees is a fairly recent design from Owen-Clark and seems strong upwind and downwind and is getting their mojo back after being dismasted in last years AC. Icarus Racing is a Rodger Martin design that has proven remarkably slippery even though she was an early Class 40 design/build. Dragon and Pleiad Racing are generation one Owen-Clark and Marc Lombard designs respectively and have each performed well over many races in recent years.
GS2 is a 2011 Marc Lombard-designed Akilari RC2 and after two seasons of racing, I think we finally have her up to speed. I think its fair to say that any of the seven boats have a shot at winning, as the subtle differences in raw boatspeed are outweighed by routing choices and each sailors ability to coax maximum performance out of their boat over long distances. The skippers are an experienced group, so my hunch is that the racing will be extremely close and the win will go to the crew that makes the fewest mistakes.