Leg 1 – First 48 Hours
Three boats are tied to one another this morning as we watch the fleet come around Cape Hatteras and begin the second half of this first leg of the 2014 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing. Pleiad Racing holds a narrow lead over Dragon and Gryphon Solo II with all three boats within three miles of one another. This morning saw the teams awake to a high pressure moving to the South and East of them, providing for some light southerly breeze.
Today’s challenge will be the timing of the inevitable shift later on this afternoon to a more westerly direction. Does one take the risk to head closer to shore to get to the shift first? Will that take them out of the otherwise dominant northerly Gulf Stream current? Do you instead let the breeze lift you from behind, in hopes of gybing later than the competition to get into a lower lane? These are the questions plaguing all three teams this morning.
It appears that the boats will pass through another transition zone overnight tonight into tomorrow morning where more of an easterly breeze will take hold. Perhaps we’ll see some boats being willing to take a short term loss and head further offshore to position themselves on a better angle for the sprint to the finish. You can be sure they are watching one another carefully to try to position themselves correctly on the floating chessboard of the Atlantic Ocean.