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 in 2011-13 respectively, Dragon came extremely close in 2014. Heading into the third leg tied for first, the team hit a rock in the first race of the day that forced them to pull out of the rest of racing. A huge disappointment to Mike and the Dragon team, however you can expect them to be back and ready to reclaim a podium spot in 2016.

When asked what he has been doing to prepare for 2016, Mike said, “We know we are going to have to bring our A game to win in in the 2016 edition.  The enhancements we made to Dragon brought her speed potential to the next level and that put us on the top of the leaderboard in 2014 going into the third leg of the event.  Our unfortunate introduction to the rock off Beavertail put paid to that effort, so we have something to prove in 2016.  The 6,000 ocean miles that we raced in 2015 has all been practice for the Atlantic Cup!”

  • 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


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 do you think about the change for Leg 2 and the new finish city of Portland? The introduction of Portland, Maine as the final stop-over for the Atlantic Cup is an awesome change.  It shakes up Leg 2, changing it from a flat out sprit to a longer and more strategic race.  Decisions about on-shore sea breeze versus off shore gradient will still come into play, but the shoals south of Nantucket add an entirely new element of risk and reward to the leg.  Not to mention the potential for lobster pots coming into Portland!    And the city itself is a perfect host for a bunch of hungry and thirsty sailors.  Vibrant, exciting, warm and welcoming… you would be hard pressed to find a better place to visit by land or sea.

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.

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