North Sails Leg 2 NY-Portland Preview

North Sails President Ken Read Previews Leg 2 New York to Portland

If you wanted two completely opposite legs, then here you go. It looks like the Class 40s are about to experience this in the Atlantic Cup during leg two, to Portland, Maine. What was kind of a semi-docile downwind and warm experience from Charleston to New York, is going to quickly turn into upwind, thrashing, lots of weather systems that come up out of nowhere, and potentially cold weather. I repeat, really cold.

Gone is the Gulf Stream, but the local currents around headlands and islands are going to make it a really different type of sailing. One of the cool things that make the Atlantic Cup exciting to race and follow, is very often these two legs have completely different profiles and it’s looking quite evident that the profile of this leg is going to be totally different from leg one.

It looks like we could see lots of upwind sailing, certainly some breezier sailing, especially with the approaching weather systems. There’s a fair chance that the boats that may not have thrived in the light air- downwind sailing, and could now have their day in the windier, upwind sailing.

With the easterly waypoint involved in the race, it could separate into two very distinct racecourses. The first being upwind work and second being some power-reaching work. There will be lots of weather passages, lots of gusty, windy conditions and at times up to 30 knots. Certainly, as you go around Nantucket Shoals and Cape Cod, you’ll see an array of currents, which will give competitors different types of sailing.

It’s a very interesting racecourse and what looks so simple, will actually be quite complex. The first decision for the sailors is whether they should go down 

the rum line and stay near Long Island, or get offshore to the south of Long Island. It looks like the breeze is going to be much stronger offshore, so don’t be surprised to see the fleet dive south, especially if it’s upwind. And they will spend a lot of

time on port tack to get away from Long Island and get out into the stronger breeze. The current of the Gulf Stream clearly won’t be any part of this leg, but at the same time, it’s going to be quite tricky and quite cold as they move north into Sunday, and the temperatures will drop dramatically.

Of course, when you’re going across the bay of Maine, there’s always a distinct chance of fog this time of year. Fishing boats, fog, weather, tough competition, what’s there not to get excited about?


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