US Class 40 racing
After two full days of inshore racing The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing crowned Cutlass/11th Hour Racing as it’s first champion last night in a prize giving ceremony at the Newport Shipyard.
The inshore series took place both Saturday and Sunday in Newport under grey skies with the fleet racing three races daily. The breeze was approximately 8-10 knots from the Southeast on Saturday and picked up to 15-18 knots from the same direction on Sunday. Each team raced with a crew of six on 7-10 mile courses inside Narragansett Bay just off Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island.
Cutlass dominated throughout and never lost a race in what was very close quartered, tight racing. Places changed nearly every leg often with only seconds separating the boats at turning marks. Team Icarus placed second in the inshore series, but because of their 4th place finish in the offshore leg they came up short in the overall competition. Toothface hung on to 3rd place by one point over Icarus overall.
Capitalizing on the momentum they gained in their win in the offshore leg, Dragon started the inshore series strong with 2, 3, 2 finishes on Saturday. However, Sunday they struggled and placed fourth in all three races, but Dragon did enough to hang on to 2nd place overall.
Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing awarded the 2nd and 3rd place checks to Dragon and Toothface and Jerry Cahill from the Boomer Esiason Foundation awarded the $7,000 first place check to Cutlass. $5,000 went to second place Team Dragon and $3,000 to third place finisher Team Toothface. The teams from Dragon and Toothface announced that they would donate 10% of their prize money to the Boomer Esiason Foundation, whose mission is to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Said skipper, Rob MacMillan on his first place victory: “I thought the racing was fantastic, the offshore leg was challenging and a very tactful race and the inshore racing was cool. The courses were not traditional windward leeward; they created courses that played to strengths of the Class40. While it made for more work on the boat, with more sail changes, it definitely made for an overall team effort, which made winning that much greater. I think the organizers have hit a home run with format and I look forward to seeing what they come up with for next year.”
Mike Hennessy of Dragon said of inshore racing, "I think it's no wonder we like offshore sailing better than inshore racing, we were doing better at it, but it was great racing, we had a great time! It's a very different style of sailing and it's fun and exciting, but I think all things being equal I like offshore sailing better. I think the event was everything, in fact it was more than I expected, this is a fantastic event, fantastic showcase for the boat, the Class, great racing, lots of fun and I think it's a good sign of things to come."
Ben Poucher of Team Icarus said, “I think the inshore series was a really good learning experience for our team and we got better every race and we see the potential for improvements. It was the most fun weekend of inshore racing that I’ve ever had. It was awesome and I look forward to the 2012 edition of the Atlantic Cup.”
More photos from George Bekris/www.georgebekris.com