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Atlantic Cup teams set sail to Portland in second stage of race

by Atlantic Cup 1 Jun 23:06 PDT May 25 - June 7, 2024

In an Atlantic Cup first, teams are racing a new course from Newport to Portland for the second stage of the three stage event.

Arrivals in Portland are expected June 3rd ahead of the two-day coastal series on June 5th and 6th.

The second leg of the 2024 Atlantic Cup - Newport-Portland started at 12:00 ET today in sunny skies, with an 4-5 knot northerly in a flooding tide. The starting gun was fired just off Fort Adams State Park with a collection of onlookers on land and water. The French team La Manche Évidence Nautique won the start, with Vogue Avec Un Crohn and Nestenn Enterepreurs Pour La Planete trailing shortly behind. With the northerly breeze, the teams were able set their spinnakers and sail downwind out of the bay making for a stunning sight on the water.

The Newport to Portland course is a first for the Atlantic Cup. Previous editions of the race have gone from New York to Portland. Teams will sail south out of Newport to a series of way points designed to avoid a whale breeding ground before turning north for Portland. The major tactical decision facing the fleet is to decide how best to position the boats ahead of the light winds expected for the remainder of the day. Ahead of the race, front runner Alberto Riva on Acrobatica said, "It will be quite difficult, this leg, in particular the first 24-hours because the weather is quite complex and there will be a sharp transition in the next night which will make a huge difference, so we are very focused on these first 24-hours."

Lennart Burke, on Sign for Com who are currently in third place said of the upcoming route, "We are super excited but it will be really tricky. The wather conditions are not so clear and we don't know what is coming exactly. But it will be a tough and short race, we have to push the boat a lot, a lot, a lot. We can't save so much energy like in the first leg which was longer, so I'm happy to go and happy to fight and hopefully it works out."

Atlantic Cup Race Director, Hugh Piggin said, "Today was another light air start, but it was downwind which was great to see. Everyone was able to get their spinnakers out over the start line on a beautiful day here in Rhode Island. La Manche [Évidence Nautique] led the clean start, taking off with a puff of wind and the rest of the fleet chasing behind them. The fleet is going to have light airs the rest of the day into this evening, so it will be very tough, competitive sailing for them to keep the boats moving and gaining advantage over their competitors. It was great to be back in Newport, it is one of the best places in the world to sail yachts, especially on beautiful sunny days like we have today."

Unfortunately, USA 200, Scowling Dragon has had to retire from this year's race. After sustaining major structural damage during the Charleston-Newport leg, the duo of Mike Hennessey and Roger Junet have deemed it necessary to withdraw from the remainder of the race.

The remaining seven teams are anticipated to arrive in Portland, Maine on the afternoon of June 3rd where they will finish just off Fort Allen Park. The third and final stage of the competition takes place in the form of a two-day coastal series on June 5 and 6th. Racing will begin each day roughly around 10:30 a.m. in Casco Bay.

While racing, tracking can be found at: atlanticcup.org as well as on the YB Trackingwebsite for desktop/laptop users and app for those using mobile devices.

Team updates will be posted on the race's social media channels at: Facebook and Instagram.

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