The Fleet left Charleston, SC Saturday afternoon into the first leg of the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing.
Spanish team Tales and French team Eärendil have consistently led the fleet and have chosen a more northerly path. While Amhas, Toothface and Oakcliff in the second grouping opted to head further east. Since the wind shifted, teams have seen very fast sailing, with Tales hitting top speeds of 19.6 knots.
© Billy Black/Atlantic Cup
Below are a few reports from the fleet:
Liz Shaw, Oakcliff Racing
"Overnight we made a conscious decision to push hard. We were in a little pack of boats and we made a goal to have more sail area than everybody else. For a while it really paid off: by this morning we had shot out in front of our group and were going along nicely. There were a few little squalls coming through so we decided to make a change based on what was expected to happen down the track. We went from our full main with a solent with a reef to a code zero, which is typically a pretty easy maneuver, but we had a few little hiccups -- nothing major -- but it just took us longer than it should have. We lost some distance but we're gonna work hard to gain it back."
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Mike Hennessy, Dragon Ocean Racing
"We had a lackadaisical start, we were doing fine to the first mark, but then we screwed up our douse of the code sail, so we were a little bit behind coming out of the channel, but things stabilized after that. The shift came earlier than expected and the reality was we couldn't really hold course once we got over [onto starboard] but it was still better than continuing east on the headed port tack. The third tack we took came with the big shift around 3am and that allowed us to lay Frying Pan shoals and then Hatteras, which is where we're on track for right now. We have the code five up, going pretty well. Everybody is safe and doing well."
Tristan Mouligne on Toothface 2
"We are reaching along approaching Cape Hatteras, we have Amhas in front of us about a mile ahead. We're sailing side by side. They've been a little bit faster than us and they're very slowly building their lead. So we're going back and forth a little bit and obviously that's frustrating for me because those guys are good friends and we have a new boat and would like to be going a little faster!
Last night was tough, it was a rough, rough night but everyone's fine. We lost our windex off the top of the mast and we lost our man overboard module off the back of the boat and didn't realize until this morning. The sea state was definitely confused; the waves were coming from all over the place. You'd get to speed going 10, 11, 12 knots and you'd catch a wave that came from right on the bow instead of the wind direction and we would launch off the wave and slam down pretty hard and I'm sure that's how we got the damage to the top of the mast."
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).