Dragon54

Dragon is one of the original four boats to race in the Atlantic Cup. Mike Hennessy has skippered Dragon since 2011. With a 2nd, two 6th places, 4th and 5th in 2011-16 respectively, you can expect Dragon to be back in full force and ready to reclaim a podium spot in 2018!

Boat Name: Dragon
Port of Registry: Mystic, CT
Builder: Composite Creations
Designer: Owen Clarke Designs
Year Launched: 2008
Source of Energy Production: Hydrogenerator

Michael Hennessy

  • Age: 46
  • Hometown: Mystic, CT
  • Age Started Sailing: 4
  • Describe yourself in one word: Happy
  • What do you do to relax during your free time? Umm…sailing?
  • Career Highlights: 
    • 7th in 2014 Fastnet
    • 2nd in 2012 Newport-Bermuda
    • 2nd in 2011 Atlantic Cup

Ashley Perrin - Leg 1

  • Age: 40
  • Hometown: Mill Valley, CA/London
  • Age Started Sailing: 3 weeks old!
  • Describe yourself in one word: Motivated
  • Career Highlights:
    • 2 handed Marblehead Halifax 2017 1st in class
    • Caribbean 600 1st in class
    • Miami Havana race 2016 1st overall on Dragon

Merf Owen - Leg 2

  • Age: 53
  • Hometown: Hamble, United Kingdom
  • Describe yourself in one word: Committed 
  • How old were you when you first started sailing? 16 
  • Did you or do you play any other sports competitively? Married

Michael Hennessy

In one word describe the Atlantic Cup experience.

One word is hardly adequate to describe the fast, competitive, challenging, fun Atlantic Cup experience.

Is the mental or physical aspect of the Atlantic Cup hardest?

Keeping the focus for days on-end. With inshore racing you have a concentrated period where you are fully committed to the boat and the race. But with a race like the Atlantic Cup you need to keep on it for hour after hour.

What’s your first major tactical decision after the start in Charleston? 

The race through the harbor and down the channel to the open sea is a straight forward drag race, with boat-on-boat decisions.  The first major decision comes after clearing the channel, and is all about deciding where and how you are going to interact with the Gulf Stream. In New York? In New York, the first challenge is how to deal with the sometimes tricky winds that swirl forth from the concrete canyons of the city.  Then, the next major choice comes when you clear the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and need to decide how you get through the lower Harbor to the open ocean.  Wind and current conditions play a big role in that decision.

Is it true that if you sleep on the offshore legs you’ll lose? 

Sleep too little and you start making bad decisions.  Sleep too much and you start losing speed.  

Because of the limited number of sails you’re allowed to carry how does sail preservation and damage figure in your strategy? 

I would be a fool to say no!  The loss of the use of a sail can ruin your chances for the leg you are racing, but also can seriously hurt your prospects for future legs of the Atlantic Cup because of how little time you have to make repairs.

When you’re in the open ocean what is the biggest concern for the boat?

Racing shorthanded on boats likes these, you don’t worry about one “big” thing but instead the accumulation of hundreds of smaller things. Whenever things go pear shaped, it is because there has been a cascade of errors that could have started with something as simple as not having done your morning check of the boat.

What is your biggest fear being alone on deck?

Being alone on deck is something to embrace, not fear.

What does carbon neutrality mean to you?

Leaving no trace as we slide across the globe, other than the wake that fades behind us.

Did you go to University?

Yes, Yale

Did you or do you play any other competitive sports?

Rowed crew in college

How did you get into competitive sailing?

As an adult, entering my C+C 35 III in the Around Long Island Race.

Describe sailing to you in one word.

Happiness

In what way are you superstitious before a race?

No particular superstitions.

Number of transatlantic crossings under sail: 

Two

What is one of your goals for your sailing career?

I am living my goals.

What are your sailing strengths?

Organization, preparation, navigation, determination.

What do you like most about being offshore? What do you like least?

I like everything about being offshore. The solitude, the beauty, the challenge…its all great. There is really nothing about it that I don’t enjoy.

What is your favorite sports team?

I am more about the short handed sailors. Mich, Thomas, Francois.

What is your favorite type of music?

Anything. Shuffle is an awesome feature.

What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re offshore? Least favorite?

A few slices of sausage and a hunk of Parmesan cheese helps alleviate the boredom of freeze dried.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I keep my talents at procrastination well hidden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley Perrin – Leg 1

How old are you?

40 at the start

Did you go to University? 

BSc Double major in Physical Geography and Oceanography at University of Southampton

Did you or do you play any other competitive sports?

Yes, university field hockey

Are you single, in a relationship or married?

Married

The Atlantic Cup has a big sustainability message in that the event organizers try to run the race with as little impact on the planet as possible. What does taking care of the planet mean to you?

It means protecting our remote places so they remain pristine and untouched by humans so future generations can enjoy them. Ensuring our natural resources are used in an appropriate manner and waste is decreased and managed so as not to ruin our natural landscapes.

If you had to convince someone to do their part in protecting our oceans, what would you say to them?

A picture paints a 1000 words I think showing them a waterway whether it is a river, steam or the ocean without plastic and with plastic would do a lot to convince someone that without is the way to go.

The Atlantic Cup also has a robust Kids program, where we teach kids about offshore racing, geography and protecting the planet. We also ask the Kids pick their favorite team. Tell us why Atlantic Cup Kids should vote for your team.

Hennessey has done every addition of the race with a cool 30 foot dragon painted on the side. Oh and he is doing this race co ed for the first leg then wife leaves and husband (Merfyn Owen) yacht designer joins for the second leg then poor mike has husband and wife back onboard for the inshore portion.

What makes you tough enough to race in the Atlantic Cup?

I am stubborn my husband says – very stubborn.

For someone who doesn’t understand short-handed offshore sailing, can you explain it in less than 2 sentences?

Wet, cold, miserable and expensive (for the owner), challenging, rewarding, sleep deprivation.

How did you get into competitive sailing?

I decided when I was 12 I wanted to race around the world. I went offshore when I was 13 on Marionette a Lightwave 395 owned by Chris Dunning an Admirals Cup captain for Britain.

How did you meet your co-skipper?

My husband designed his boat

What makes you and your co-skipper a good team?

Mike is a cerebal sailor, he is strong at race preparation and navigation. I am good at keeping a boat in one piece with a high work rate.

Merfyn Owen – Leg 2

Environment & Kids

The Atlantic Cup has a big sustainability message in that the event organizers try to run the race with as little impact on the planet as possible. What does taking care of the planet mean to you?

Taking care and caring for people as much as caring for the planet. I am however passionate about reducing/eradicating plastic bags and food packaging. It makes no sense that countries like Uganda and Kenya can ban plastic bags and yet they’re handed out with everything in the UK and US. I’ve used Ecover soaps/materials for more than thirty years…since I was at college.

If you had to convince someone to do their part in protecting our oceans, what would you say to them?

 Use ecological detergents and don’t put anything in the oceans that you either haven’t eaten first or wouldn’t be happy to have hanging around on your kitchen counter for a couple of weeks.

Sailing Information

How old were you when you first went sailing?

16

How did you get into competitive sailing?

By chance, answered an advert in Yachts and Yachting magazine for crew and started racing a trimaran at university, won young yachtsman of the year. That got me onto a bigger 60’ tri as the competition winner and then at 22 I was a navigator on an 85’ catamaran in the Round Europe Race.

Describe sailing to you in one word.

Passion

In what way are you superstitious before a race?  

I’m not

Number of transatlantic crossings under sail:

Seven and two Cape Horns

Please list some of your sailing career highlights:

Relief skipper – 1984 Ocean Youth Club Robert Clark 72’ sail training ketches

Navigator – 1985 Round Europe Race – Novell Network – 85’ Catamaran

Boat Captain and crew – 1989 Round Europe Race –-Spirit of Apricot – 60’ trimaran – 1st

Co-skipper – 1993 Cardiff Discovery – DH passage Australia to Florida via Cape Horn – Open 60

Project Manager – 1994/95 BOC Challenge – Thursday Child – Open 60

Skipper – 1996/97 BT Global Challenge – Global Teamwork

Project Manager – 1998/99 BOC Challenge – Team Group 4/Mike Golding – Open 60

Designer – 2000/2001 Vendee Globe – Kingfisher/Ellen MacArthur – 2nd

Skipper/team leader – 2003 Greenland sailing climbing expedition – Skycatcher

Designer – 2004/2005 Vendee Globe – Ecover 2/Mike Golding – Open 60 – 3rd

Co-skipper – 2005 Transat Jaques Vabres – Artforms/Kip Stone – 2nd

Co-skipper – 2010 Bermuda Race DH Division – Dragon/Michael Hennessy – 1st

Co-skipper – 2012 Atlantic Cup – Dragon/Michael Hennessy

What is one of your goals for your sailing career?

Single-handed round the world – East to West, non stop

What is your 2018 race schedule?

Atlantic Cup (Leg 2)

Halifax to Saint Pierre Miquelon

Expedition around Greenland 

How did you meet your co-skipper?

My company designed his boat and I did some trial sailing with him

What are the strengths of your co-skipper?

Research, organization, passion, focus and working hard enough to fund the whole thing!

What are your sailing strengths?

Dogged determination, focus, helming, trimming and an in-depth technical knowledge of some of the boat types I race on.

What do you like most about being offshore? What do you like least?

Being on watch on my own and arriving.

What is your biggest fear of being alone on deck?

I don’t have one I don’t think.

What makes you and your co-skipper a good team?

We’ve become great friends and we trust and know each other very well.

What do you see is your biggest challenge in this race?

The competition! 

How do you rate your chances in the Atlantic Cup? Who do you think is the favorite?

It depends on wind strength. If it’s sub 12 kts for a lot of the time…good.

If it’s sub ten knotsts for a lot of the time…even better.

What do you think about the leg from New York to Portland?

Love the prospect of sailing further and in waters which will make for a more interesting tactical leg. Looking forward to being in Portland and Maine again, it’s one of the best places that I’ve ever lived/spent time in.

Is it true that if you sleep on the offshore legs you’ll lose?

No it’s not and I would guess I probably sleep as little as the best of them. I tend to push myself very very hard. But, if you don’t get some sleep in 48 hours you increase your chances of making errors when it comes to complex decision making. I’ve always been a fan and follower of Claudio Stampi.

Because of the limited number of sails you’re allowed to carry how does sail preservation and damage figure in your strategy?

I know the last running of the race was affected greatly by a storm offshore, but my view is that sail damage shouldn’t be an issue, except you would be screwed if you broke your A2. That should not happen. However sail-pan design/inventory choice prior to the race is a very important. The relatively short legs make it difficult to recover from any damage or poor nav decisions because the fleet is very competitive and you will be punished for it.

Miscellaneous

What is your favorite sports team?

Wales Rugby XV

What is your favorite type of music?

Classic Rock 70s to 90s 

What is the most played song on your I-pod?

Paul Brady – the Homes of Donegal

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re offshore? Least favorite?

Favourite – Alpine Aire freeze dried

Least favourite – Pot Noodle……but no one has tried to feed me that offshore for a long time.

What is your favorite movie line?

If you told them I designed it, do you think that might help?

What do you do to relax during your free time?

Reading.

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  • A Brutal 24 Hours…

          Following a light downwind start to the second leg of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the conditions have deteriorated making it a brutal 24-hours for the teams. The crews are currently battling 30 knots of breeze coming from the northeast in what’s been described to us as a horrendous sea state. The Class40[…..]

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        View this email in your browser The wind was stronger than expected after the start of leg two of the The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing. The teams were able to make their way down the coast of Long Island “faster than traffic moves on the Long Island Expressway!” said Mike Hennessy of Dragon. “This first[…..]

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