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Update: First 24-Hours of Leg 1 and What to Look For



Tales hits top speeds of 19.6 knots in first leg of Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing 

Photo Credit: Billy Black/Atlantic Cup

Teams will round Cape Hatteras in the coming hours and aim for the Gulf Stream

May 29, 2016 – Charleston, SC – Just over 30 hours into the first leg of the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing and the fleet is through the worst of Tropical Storm Bonnie. Overnight last night the teams saw 35+ knots of wind and a very confused sea state, which made for extremely tough conditions and very little sleep.

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 today.

Privateer’s tracker stopped working shortly after the start yesterday, which is why the tracking map shows them in Charleston. However, they are racing and updating their position with race HQ and as of 3:30 ET they were located at 34.05 357 N 75.59 726 W putting them in the vicinity of Talanta on the tracking map.

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.”

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.”

On board updates from, Pleiad, Dragon, Toothface, Amhas and Privateer can be found here:

North Sails Atlantic Cup Expert, Anderson Reggio, provided a detailed analysis of what to expect and look for in the next 12-18 hours:
“The lead 2 boats right now, Tales and Eärendil are just fast. Tales has shown speeds upwards of 19.6 knots. There are still some cells out there that are remnants from this tropical storm, but they are very much into the southerly breeze and whipping along. Most boats are seeing consistent speeds in the teens except the boats that are back, Dragon, Pleiad, Talanta. They are showing slower speeds, which is either a product of them potentially having broken something or they are just outside the latest set of cells that are going past the boats in front of them.

The next 12 hours, boats are going to be making their way around Cape Hatteras. It seems as though the winning strategy right now is staying in closer to shore where you’re getting a little bit better pressure and just sending it to the north. For Amhas and Toothface, the boats that are starting to push themselves offshore to find the Gulf Stream, the speed difference between is so great between them and Tales that I don’t really see the Gulf Stream, at least until they get past Hatteras, being that significant a factor.

What’s happening is that reports of pressure are stronger in and along the coast than they are offshore. Essentially the storm pushing in from offshore is doing more of a pressing against the shore, so along the shoreline you have 17-20 knots and offshore more in the 15-16 knot range. It’s hit or miss that’s the biggest thing about this, if you look at a satellite picture or radar image you’ll see banding activity in the showers which means it’s probably a banding activity in the cloud formation the teams are seeing as well so they’re basically hopping from one cell to the next. On the leading edge they get a big outflow of pressure, underneath them they get a big softening of pressure and then behind them it can be quite light and variable for a little while until the gradient starts to fill back in.

Looking ahead, it’s definitely a no lead is safe scenario because after they get around Hatteras then the Gulf Stream is definitely going to be a priority. and they’ll be around Hatteras in the next few hours, and then the gulf stream is going to be much more of a priority especially because it will get significantly lighter as they get further north during the day on Monday and even into early Tuesday.

The models, as far as how to set yourself up on how to come into the finish are a bit variable so if I were on board right now I wouldn’t be planning my entrance into New York, because it’s just not clear yet. I expect the leaders to hedge their bets a bit after they get around Hatteras to push offshore to get more into the stream to put themselves more between the competition and the goal post. I’d expect Toothface and Amhas to want to be the furthest east east and hit the gulf stream first. Oakcliff’s strategy isn’t quite clear yet they seem to have gone east for a while and now seem to be taking a more northerly route and for the last three they seem to be unfortunately shot out the back pretty quickly.

Meet the Atlantic Cup Teams: Video Intros HERE

Atlantic Cup Event Schedule

For more information, please visit the Atlantic Cup Events page at

May 31 – Approximate Arrival
Pier 6/One 15 Marina, Brooklyn

May 31-June 3
Teams docked at Pier 6/One 15 Marina, Brooklyn

June 1 – 6pm
Living on the Edge, The Ocean Economy
NY Times Investigative Journalist Ian Urbina to Keynote
Ocean Conservancy’s Dr. Sandra Whitehouse to provide Opening Remarks
Thomson Reuters, Times Square

June 2 – 2pm
Pro-Am Race

June 4 – 12pm
Leg 2 Race Start
Just off the seawall at the edge of Pier 5


June 6 – Approximate Arrival
Finish Line is off Fort Allen Park

June 6 – 11
Teams Docked at Maine Wharf

June 10 & 11
Race Village – Live Music, Commentary Kids Zone, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
Open 10:30a-5:00p
Inshore Racing 12p-4p

June 11 – 5:30pm
Awards Presentation
Maine Wharf

Sea Bags & The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing
Sail Donation Drive

In conjunction with Sea Bags Maine, The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is holding sail donation drives in each city. Sailors are encouraged to donate their old and used sails, which will be given new life by Sea Bags. Proceeds from the sails donated during the Atlantic Cup sail drive will be benefit Charleston Community Sailing, Warrior Sailing Program and Sail Maine.

Dates and Times in which to drop off used or old sails:

June 1-3
12 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY

June 10-11
Atlantic Cup Race Village
Fort Allen Park
Portland, ME

2016 Atlantic Cup Teams

The 2016 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing marks the second largest fleet in event history. Sailors represent 6 different countries including the USA, France, Spain, Sweden, Canada and England.

Pleiad Racing
#39 – Pleiad Racing returns for the 3rd time and will be skippered by Connecticut native Ed Cesare. His leg 1 co-skipper is extremely experienced former VOR sailor, Jeff Brock. His Leg 2 co-skipper is long-time pro-sailor and Westchester, NY native Chad Corning who Ed has sailed with in the prior two editions of the Atlantic Cup. 
Dragon Ocean Racing

#54 – Dragon Ocean Racing is the only boat to have competed in every edition of the Atlantic Cup. She’ll be skippered by owner Mike Hennessy and Owen-Clarke designer Merf Owen. 


Sailing in the Atlantic Cup for the first time are Swede Mikael Ryking and Brit Nathan Fulcher. #95- Talanta, the first and only Swedish boat in the fleet is a second generation Class40.

#102- Privateer is looking to make a good first impression in their first race. This is a race of firsts for co-skippers Richard Fleischman and David G. Hommel. Fleishman and Hommel have teamed up many times before, however this will be the first time they’ll be racing in a Class40. The boat is the sister ship to Oakcliff and was brought over from South Africa this past winter.
Oakcliff Racing

#118 – Oakcliff Sailing is dedicated to putting American sailors back on top of the international leaderboard. In Leg 1, Oakcliff’s own Liz Shaw is teaming up with Volvo Ocean Race Veteran Libby Greenhlagh. In Leg 2, it’s the guys turn and Hobie Ponting will team up with Andrew O’Donnell.  

Tales II

#123 – Tales II – Skippered by Spaniards Gonzalo Botín and Pablo Santurde, Tales II is one of the teams to watch in the 2016 Atlantic Cup. The duo has 11 Trans-Atlantic crossings and what is considered to be one of the fastest boats in the Class40. Gonzalo and Alex have already said they sail to win, but they’ve never sailed in U.S. waters.  

Amhas II

Portland, Maine based #127 – Amhas will be a top team to watch in 2016. Amhas will be sailed by Rob Windsor, one of only two sailors to have competed in every edition of the Atlantic Cup and Brown University alum and Maine native, Micha Davis. As for the name, Amhas, it comes from an old Galeic word for Gannet, the sea bird that can be found around the North Atlantic.

Toothface 2

#128 – Toothface II – Atlantic Cup veterans Mike Dreese and Tristan Mouligné are teaming up for the first time for the 2016 race. This will be the first time Mike has raced his new boat in the Atlantic Cup. Tristan is a veteran of two previous Atlantic Cups and multiple Bermuda 1-2s. 

#145 – Eärendil is one of the newest boats in the fleet. She’ll be skippered by the French duo of Catherine Pourre and Antoine Carpentier who have steadily been moving up the Class40 ranks.

The 5th edition of the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing will start May 28, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Teams of two will race 648nm from Charleston to Brooklyn. After a brief stop-over in Brooklyn, teams will race a second leg of 350nm to Portland, Maine where the race will culminate the weekend of June 11th in Portland with the third and final leg, an inshore series.

The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is committed to being the most environmentally responsible sailing race in the United States. Teams, participants and race management work together to create a fully carbon neutral event. As the race grows, we will continue to seek innovative ideas and products that align with our mission and produce a truly sustainable event.
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