by Joe Harris
Atlantic Cup 2012, presented by 11th Hour Racing, second edition kicks off in Charleston, South Carolina today, May 11th, with the first leg of the three stage race. Joe Harris onboard GryphonSolo2 provides a progress update prior to the race start.
GryphonSolo2 - Atlantic Cup 2012
This is the first in a series of updates coming from the sailing vessel GryphonSolo2, a Class 40 being sailed by your faithful author Joe Harris and co-skipper Tristan Mouligne in the Atlantic Cup yacht race. The race is scheduled to start off the maritime center in downtown Charleston S.C. at 6:00 PM EST today and the destination is New York City, some 650 miles to the north. We have been preparing GS2 since she launched in early April and the boat, sails and equipment appear to be in pretty good shape. The fleet of 15 boats is an eclectic mix of Europeans (mainly French, who have dominated this niche of the sport) and Americans, and it is the first race that the Euros have ventured across the pond to join American Class 40 racers, so it is a watershed moment for the Class. Race Director Hugh Piggin is the former Project Manager of my Open 50 GryphonSolo(1) campaign and we have sailed many miles together, so it is great to see Hugh and his wife Julianna managing this growing race in first-class style.
The race can be thought of in two parts - the first being to get from Charleston to Cape Hatteras, which is about 250 miles and the second leg from Hatteras to NYC, which is about 400 miles. Weather for the first leg looks to be fairly light winds from the ENE, which is exactly the direction we want to go, so it may be 'on the nose' as they say and the challenge will be to keep the boat going fast in the right direction. Once to Cape Hatteras, racers will face a decision as to whether to continue a bit further East to enter the Gulf Stream, a warm 'river within the ocean', flowing in a Northeasterly direction at velocities between 2 and 6 knots. If one does get on the 'conveyor belt' of the GS current, you then have to decide when to get off and head to the finish line off the Statue of Liberty in NYC. This should present a great tactical challenge to the navigators and viewers at home can watch all the action unfold on the race web site in real time, as all the boats will have GPS trackers on board which will relay position data to the web site.
After a brief respite in NYC, the race will head back offshore to Newport, RI, and will conclude on memorial Day week-end with inshore crewed racing around Newport harbor. A low point scoring system will determine the combined winner of the three-stage regatta.
So, with much running around to do before the start, I will sign off for now but will plan to communicate daily over the course of the three to four day race.
Thanks to all our supporters and good luck to all my fellow competitors.
Cheers for now
Atlantic Cup website