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AMERICA’S CLASS 40 GRAND PRIX

The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing 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 is designed to challenge the sailors in multiple ways. The first leg of the race is a long offshore leg which will be raced double-handed. The second leg will also be double-handed but will be a shorter, offshore sprint. The third leg will force the sailors to switch their boats to an inshore mode and race with a maximum crew of six. The combined overall winner of all 3 legs will be crowned Atlantic Cup Champion.

Additionally, The Atlantic Cup, with the help of 11th Hour Racing’s sponsorship, 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, one of the only races to reach that achievement in the United States. Teams are required to have an alternative energy source like a hydrogenerator, fuel cell or solar panels. For all of the details on the Atlantic Cup’s environmental commitment you can check out our green page.

Points & Prize Money

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 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.

The competitors have a chance to win prize money in all portions of the race. The purse will be split between the three legs.

Race Schedule

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See All In-Race Events

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

Do you have a question? The Expert has the answers. Do you 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!

Why Class 40

The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing 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.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, partners and supporters, without whom The Atlantic Cup would not be possible.
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