AMERICA’S CLASS 40 GRAND PRIX

The Atlantic Cup is the United States’ premier and only dedicated Class 40 sailing race. The race showcases some of the top Class 40 sailors in the U.S. and world as they compete in the 3-leg event. The Atlantic Cup challenges the sailors in multiple ways. The two offshore legs will be sailed double handed (two People). The first leg of the race is a long offshore leg covering 640 nautical miles(3+ days). The second leg will be a shorter 360 nautical mile (2+ days) offshore sprint. Both the offshore legs will demand high physical input and provide little rest.  The third leg will force the sailors to switch their boats to an inshore mode and race with a crew of six. The combined overall winner of all 3 legs will be crowned Atlantic Cup Champion.

Additionally, The Atlantic Cup, is one of the most environmentally sustainable races in the United States. Since the 2012 edition of the race the Atlantic Cup has been a carbon neutral race, the only sailing race to consistently reach that achievement in the United States. In addition, in 2016 the Atlantic Cup was the first sports event in the U.S. to be ISO 20121 compliant. For all of the details on the Atlantic Cup’s environmental commitment you can check out our green page.

 

Points

Scoring for the Atlantic Cup will be based upon a “High Point” scoring system. Each boat’s overall score will equal the total points earned in both offshore legs plus the points earned from the inshore races. At the conclusion of the event, the boat with the total highest score will be declared the winner.

To determine the podium winners, the “High Point” scoring system combines all three legs of the race into the boat’s overall score. The points for individual race scores are based upon the number of entrants (unless disqualified or retiring after finishing). The points for each leg are allotted as follows: 1st place will be awarded points equal to the number of entrants; 2nd place points equal the number of entrants minus 1; 3rd place – points equal the number of entrants minus 2; 4th place – points equal the number of entrants minus 3; and so on.

For two the offshore legs, points awarded will be weighted by a factor of 2. For each inshore series, points will be weighted by a factor of one. The inshore series will consist of a maximum of five races, should four or less inshore races be completed; all races will count toward the boat’s overall score. If five inshore series are completed, a boats overall score will consist of the four best inshore races. In the event of a score tie between two or more boats, the tie will be broken in favor of the boat with the most points earned amongst the two offshore legs.

Say What?

Sailing contains a plethora of jargon that can be extremely confusing to the non-sailor. So, here is a plain English explanation to help you understand the key terms that will help you follow the Atlantic Cup.

  • Class: designation of a category that a racing boat falls into based on the specs with which the boat was built. For instance there are categories known as Class 40, Mini, Figaro, etc.
  • Class 40: a monohull racing boat with a maximum length of 40 feet and the Class of boat that will be used in The Atlantic Cup
  • Double handed: sailing with only two crew members aboard
  • Downwind: sailing away from the wind
  • Fully crewed: sailing with enough crew aboard so that each sailing task is performed by a dedicated individual
  • Hull: the body or shell of the bottom of a boat on which it floats in the water
  • Inshore: sailing in close proximity to land and safe harbor.
  • Knot: the unit of speed for boats. It is equivalent to 1.151mph
  • Mainsail: the sail behind the mast. This sail is also controlled by the boom.
  • Monohull: a boat that has only one hull
  • Nautical Mile: 1,852 meters or approximately 6,076 feet
  • Offshore: sailing in open waters usually greater than 5 nautical miles from land.
  • Program/campaign: term used to describe the team members who run the boat and the race schedule that yacht will follow.
  • Prevailing winds: the typical winds for a particular region and time of year
  • Short-handed: sailing with only one or two people aboard.
  • Spinnaker or Kite: the balloon like sail at the front of the boat used when sailing downwind.
  • Upwind: Sailing towards the wind (a boat can not sail directly into the wind, if it did it would come to a complete stop)

Ask The Expert

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Ask The Expert is brought to you by North Sails!

Do you have a question? The North Sails Expert has the answers! Alongside answering your questions the Experts will be providing a detailed overview and recap on each leg and providing commentary while the Atlantic Cup progresses! 

Want to know more about the race, the teams or strategy? Ask your question and our Expert will give you all the details you need to know. Click here to read past questions!

 

Meet Our Experts 

Ken Read

North Sails President, North Technology Group Executive Vice President

Ken Read is one of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated sailors. Read has twice been at the helm of Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup programs, in 2000 and 2003. He was named “United States Rolex Yachtsman of the Year” twice, has won nine World Championships, and was involved with dozens more North American and National Championship wins.

After skippering two Volvo Ocean Races, Ken returned to his business and sailmaking roots as President of North Sails Group. On behalf of North Sails Read has also become an ambassador for the sport of sailing, serving as color commentator for NBC Sports in the 34th and 35th America’s Cup. Most recently, Ken was the skipper of the record breaking 100’ super maxi, Comache, breaking the Transatlantic, Transpac, Sydney to Hobart and Newport Bermuda race records.

 

 

Kimo Worthington

Vice President of North American Sales and Service

Kimo is well known in the sailing industry for his competitive racing experience and for his expertise in managing large-scale campaigns, including the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup. In the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race, he was watch captain and sailing team manager for Paul Cayard’s winning team, EF Language. Kimo was General Manager for the second place Pirates of the Caribbean entry in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race, and for the PUMA Ocean Racing team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 editions. More recently, Kimo was aboard the yacht Comanche for her 2016 record-breaking race to Bermuda.

Kimo’s professional sailing career includes competing in six America’s Cups, including a win with America3 in 1992. He is an experienced coach and has led many teams, including Bill Koch’s progressive America3 women’s team in 1995.

 

Charlie Enright

Skipper, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, North Sails Expert

Charlie Enright joined the North Sails team the day after his 2008 graduation from Brown University. His desire to work for North Sails was based on the fact that North is the sailmaking industry leader with vast R&D resources. Since then, Charlie has gone on to accomplish great things. He was instrumental in putting together the campaign, then skippering TEAM ALVIMEDICA in the 2014 Volvo Race and skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the current Volvo Ocean Race. In addition, he has shown versatility in an assortment of boats – from a victory in the J/24 MidWinters to a win in the Newport-Bermuda Race.

 

 

 

Steve Calder

North Sails Designer

Steve Calder has been working for North Sails since 1979 and has been a sail maker since age 16. He is an Olympic bronze medalist, and Soling World Champion,. In addition, Calder has won multiple North American and World championships. In 2016, Steve broke the Transpac record, onboard Mighty Merloe

Steves sail design career has spanned decades and multiple America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns. He has contributed on 6 Americas cup campaigns and was the sail designer for Ericsson Racing, the winner of the 2007/8 Volvo Ocean Race edition.

Why Class 40

The Atlantic Cup is the only dedicated Class 40 sailing race in the United States.

The Class 40 is a monohull performance sailboat with a maximum length of 40 feet. The Class 40 has a strict box-rule, which basically means there is a maximum overall size for boats in the class. Competitors are free to manipulate their own boat designs, as long as they do not exceed the box-rule. Part of the attraction to the Class 40 is the box-rule because it keeps costs down. However, because that is the only rule it gives boat designers many opportunities to focus on the technical aspects such as type of sail, mast height and weight while not restricting innovation and development. Consequently, boats are very competitive and racing is extremely close over long distances.

The Class 40 was established in 2004 and has experienced the highest growth of the short-handed classes in the last four years. Many short-handed classic races such as the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Route de Rhumb and the Qubec St Malo all have a dedicated Class 40 entry, which has enabled the Class to be tested and become well established. Overall the original goal was to make offshore races accessible to amateur sailors; however with the success of the Class 40 a very strong professional competitor base has formed.

The Class 40 was chosen because it is a fast, versatile, affordable platform. This particular class is designed for short-handed offshore sailing, which means the boat is designed to be sailed safely, by one or two crew, in extreme offshore conditions, which is necessary for the offshore portion of The Atlantic Cup. The Class 40 will also guarantee very competitive, fast racing.

Why have off-shore and in-shore legs? The Atlantic Cup is demanding that competitors be skilled at two different disciplines within sailing: ocean racing and buoy racing. This will result in a competitive event and ensure the winner is a complete sailor. Additionally, the yachts will have to be all-around performers meaning competitors will not be able to tailor their designs to specific racing criteria. For instance, in the world of auto-sports this would mean that a car would need to be able to be a street racer and an off-road racer. Overall this will level the field between the different designs even further, and result in extremely close competition.

Why have shorthanded off-shore races? Shorthanded sailing is a very tough discipline, which requires both sailors to be both in top physical and mental condition to navigate through potentially difficult weather systems. With only two members on board, each will have to balance how hard they can push their bodies with relation to fatigue while trying to beat their opponents. Crew members will get very little sleep as they all want to push their yachts close to 100% for the entire leg. This means fast, competitive racing for The Atlantic Cup.

Also important to having two crew members on board is that the offshore legs will be in waters with commercial and recreational traffic. Having two crew means that they will be able to maintain a proper watch, which is essential for safety.

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