There are lots of races run throughout the year. Some ‘round the buoys, others ‘round the world; some fully crewed, some double-handed or solo. Aside from the Volvo Ocean Race, there is only one that combines both offshore and inshore racing, and The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is also the only race that I know of that mixes offshore, inshore and short-handed sailing together, creating a rather unique event. Add the green initiatives undertaken by the race organizers and competitors, and The Atlantic Cup is truly something different.

When Manuka Sports Event Management partners Hugh Piggin and Julianna Barbieri first contacted WindCheck about The Atlantic Cup, we were eager to get involved. Having an international field of sailors competing in our regional waters gives a huge boost to the sport of sailing. A race like The Atlantic Cup also gives non-sailors an introduction to how exciting sailing can be by providing close-quarters action and visibility that many other sailboat races do not. Furthermore, the event’s ecological initiatives demonstrate that our sport can exist in harmony with the environment while delivering all the excitement and fun of any other sport.

The field for this year’s Atlantic Cup is stacked with excellent sailors and will allow for prime spectating at the start in Charleston, SC, the VIP Pro-Am Race in New York Harbor, the start of the second leg and the fully-crewed Inshore Series in Newport… and fans will be able to track their favorite team’s progress online at The fact that this competition takes place over several weekends in three major coastal cities provides the opportunity for a vast number of fans to get in on the action – and gives a wide range of exposure to those not as well acquainted with our sport.

The 2012 edition of the race was the very first carbon neutral sailing race in the United States, and this year the race will also aim for carbon neutrality. Teams will be required to have an alternative on-board energy source like a hydrogenerator, fuel cell or solar panels. Additionally, the Guide itself, here in WindCheck (which is always printed on recycled paper using soy ink), is designed to reduce one-time event print waste.

The sailors in The Atlantic Cup are rather accomplished – and they need to be. The first leg of the race is longer than the Newport Bermuda Race, testing the offshore skills of racers who will sail double-handed past the oft-volatile Cape Hatteras. Leg two will have crews hard at work tactically, finding the best route along the South Shore of Long Island, through Block Island Sound and into Newport. The buoy racing in Newport is yet another test for teams and can shake up the scoring. There are plenty of ways to grasp – and lose – valuable points along this race circuit.

The Guide to the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing begins on page 19. There are lots of reasons to check out the race particulars, team bios and sponsor environmental initiatives. We are proud to be partnered with 11th Hour Racing, Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, Sailors for the Sea, Green Mountain Energy, Manuka Sports Event Management and the diverse group of sponsors and race partners who have gotten behind this event. I hope you’ll check out The Atlantic Cup – here on the pages of WindCheck, of course, but also in person if you’ll be in Charleston, New York or Newport this month. Learn about the ways this event is changing the sport of sailing and how the technologies and other environmentally conscious efforts can make their way onto your boat and into your habits – changes that not only will make life easier on board, but also help change the planet.

See you on the water.

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