North Sails Expert Leg 1 Recap

North Sails President Ken Read Provides His Outlook On The First Leg Of The Atlantic Cup

Leg 1 of the Atlantic Cup did not disappoint with regards to lead changes, tough tactics, a bit of luck and of course a tad of boat speed.  Sounds like a sailboat race doesn’t it? For the most part the word on the streets in NYC is “becalmed”.  Predominantly a light air run to the Northeast from Charleston to NYC, the boats had to deal with plenty of potholes along the way.  

First big decision?  Easting towards the stream or straight line sailing towards Hatteras. I think when it was all said and done the more direct route gave the first jump on the fleet.  

Next Decision? How do deal with a fickle and “skinny” Gulf Stream with plenty of eddies and meanders to throw a loop into the tactics.  Squalls always help determine races around the Stream as well and there are plenty of stories of positioning around clouds turning into huge gains and loses in a short period of time.  Then came the big blocker in which the top two boats Eärendil and Amhas both got round the center of the high, much better than the rest which resulted in big leads in the end of what was for the most part a close race.  
The Hudson River added a big of angst but no big last minute passes and the fleet is all in safe and sound.
When it was all said and done, the leg was won by the boat that most deemed the quickest. Eärendil sailed by  skipper Catherine Pourre and Pietro Luciani pulled out to a comfortable leg win in the end, but not without being pushed hard by Amhas. Where I think they shined was getting around the high pressure center after exiting the stream.  The Gulf Stream is always a blessing and a curse, known by all who sail the Bermuda Race every two years.  It sucks you in, makes you want more, and if you get too greedy it can spit you out backwards if your not careful.  You would think with todays modern weather technology there would be better modeling of the stream and the eddies, but at the end of the day it’s always a bit hit or miss.  
This time, exiting early in order to position around the high center proved to be the big move. Weather over current.  Well done Eärendil!
Now a quick rest and a trip to Maine. Getting colder, cold weather, likely fog, and for sure game-on for the overall title.  Can’t wait to be glued to my Yellowbrick Tracker to watch the next leg in the East Coast classic.




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