Nine teams representing the United States, England, Sweden, Canada, France and Spain started the 2016 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing at 12:05 ET on Saturday in light rain and a northeast 10-15 knot breeze. The oldest boat in the fleet, Pleiad Racing owned the start line. Coming into the first mark teams had to make a very physical sail change from their Code 0 to solent in order to sail upwind at a tighter angle of which the Spanish team, Tales II, executed flawlessly and launched to the front of the pack. After the mark rounding, Tales continued to extend on the fleet with Eärendil, Pleiad and Oakcliff close behind. As the teams exited the jetties to enter the ocean, rain increased, the breeze became puffy and the sea state became lumpy.
The first 24-hours will be extremely challenging and present difficult conditions as the teams race to get over the top of the tropical depression that has formed just to the southeast of Charleston.
North Sails Atlantic Cup Expert, Anderson Reggio said:
“There’s a tropical depression coming in towards the Carolina coast, which will become a tropical storm tonight. The boats need to get over the top of it and get to the Gulf Stream to make their way north as quickly as possible. The challenge in going over the top is that they will be getting headed the entire time, which means the decision of when to leave port tack and move to starboard is crucial. The longer you wait, the better the shift, but it also puts you more towards the center of rotation and it’s going to be upwind 15-foot waves, 30-knots of breeze tonight. Strategically, the boats that move north first are going to be playing a more conservative long-term game. The boats pushing east will have a much better shift and will be in kites a lot sooner, but again they will have to get closer to the center of rotation and they’ll be dealing with the worst of the seas and the wind.”
#65 – Carac skippered by Louis Duc and Yves Sale suffered damage in the Transat race and was forced to withdraw from the Atlantic Cup.
The 9 teams will continue en route to New York Harbor where the finish line will be just before the Brooklyn Bridge at Pier 5. Models are showing a fast race with an estimated arrival time of sometime early Tuesday morning, May 31. The second leg of the competition departs on June 4 at 12 p.m. The event culminates in Portland, Maine with two days of Inshore racing (June 10-11).
While racing, tracking can be found at: http://atlanticcup.org
The North Sails Atlantic Cup Expert will also provide analysis daily at what’s happening on the course, which can be found at: http://www.atlanticcup.org/race#expert
Photo Credit: Billy Black/Atlantic Cup