There is a great buzz of boating going on, and I am really looking forward to the coming weeks. As with the rapid arrival of warm temperatures, green grass, budding plants and chirping birds, life quickly returned to the harbors, bays and sounds here in the Northeast. The sight of freshly launched boats criss-crossing one another as they make their way to homeport, or stretching their legs on sea trial makes me eager to see our family boat splashed. And the first weeknight races of the season have me excited about high octane racing action to come.
The anticipation of spring sailing started more than a year ago as the list of grand prix events that would be visiting our region grew, and now it’s here – all happening in the next few weeks! Nowhere else on the planet has as much racing action going on simultaneously as we have right here in our backyard. The list of boats, names and sponsors is impressive, but the fact that many of these events overlap one another, primarily in New York City, is really something special and absolutely not to be missed.
The most universally publicized event, of course, is the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York. Sailed in 45-foot foiling cats, the ACWS will likely draw the largest crowds of spectators – sailors and non-sailors alike. The fact is, these boats put on quite a show as they fly through (well, mostly over) the water at speeds approaching 30 knots. A number of my friends, many of whom know little about sailing, are nonetheless as eager as I am to spend the weekend in New York and to be part of the ACWS experience. I think that says something about the marketing of the event, or the spectacle of the boats themselves…or both. Either way, it’s going to be exciting to watch.
An event that’s near and dear to the crew at WindCheck is the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing. WindCheck is proud to be a sponsor of this exciting and important event, and the Official Guide starts on page 56. The Atlantic Cup is exciting because it’s a doublehanded event that combines two long offshore legs, from Charleston, SC to New York, NY and New York to Portland, ME at 360 and 640 nautical miles, respectively, as well as Pro-Am races in New York Harbor and a fully crewed inshore series in Portland that counts towards the final score. The Atlantic Cup, from a competitive standpoint, combines many facets of racing, but is important because of the stance that it takes on making a positive environmental impact (which, in essence, is no impact at all – but does one better with environmental stewardship practices aboard the boats, and at stopovers along the way.)
The third major event visiting our area this spring, the Transat bakerly, is the most grueling and dangerous. With a course of approximately 3,000 miles of open water from Plymouth in southwest England to New York, the Transat bakerly is not the longest professional solo ocean race, but its fearsome reputation is well deserved. To win this full-on sprint (sailed in giant Ultime and Multi50 trimarans and IMOCA 60 and Class40 monohulls), each of the 25 skippers will be driving his or her boat and his or herself to the limit, bashing into big storms and heavy seas and staying vigilant for such hazards as icebergs, fog and shipping.
It’s remarkable that three very different professional events with international coverage are converging in our region. It proves that the Northeast continues to be a favorite venue for events that want challenging and exciting racing for the competitors, accessible and active spectating for the fans, and a strong, viable media market to showcase the message of the events and their sponsors. With that winning formula, you can be sure that more and more amazing events – for professional and amateur sailors alike – are coming our way. With a fleet twice the size of the ACWS, the Gotham Multihulls Series, for example, is the largest multihull regatta in New York, and you’ve probably heard that the Volvo Ocean Race is returning to one of its favorite stopovers – Newport, RI – in 2018.
I have seen lots of pictures of sailboats transiting the waters off Manhattan Island or racing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, including the great shot by Billy Black on the cover of this issue! I will be among the thousands of spectators lining the shoreline as these great sailors and spectacular boats lock horns with the New York City skyline as a backdrop, and now I’ll be able to say I was there when it was all happening! I hope you will join me
See you on the water.