Nine teams representing the U.S., Canada, Sweden, England, France and Spain will start the 2016 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing at the Charleston Maritime Center Saturday, May 28. Tenth entry Carac skippered by Louis Duc will be unable to make the start in Charleston. Following his second place finish in a brutal Transat race, the boat has suffered technical damage, but it is their hope to race in Leg 2 and 3.
With three days to the start, teams are presently based at City Marina and are busy making final their preparations. For most this will be their first Atlantic Cup and also their first time sailing in the Gulf Stream and the United States.
The first female duo to race in the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing is Oakcliff Racing’s Liz Shaw and Libby Greenhalgh. Before heading out for a test sail, Liz Shaw said, “We have had an excellent prep session, we are feeling really prepared we only have a few loose ends to tidy up, we’re going to go for a test sail today and enjoy beautiful Charleston. The competition is incredible, the organizers have done an incredible job of gathering competition from all over the world. With six nations represented it’s really encouraging for the Class not only in the US, but overall. It’s a dynamic fleet and we’re really excited to get on the course.”
The newest boat in the fleet, Eärendil’s Antoine Carpentier arrived into the basin on Tuesday after having some repair work done to the keel and rudder. Antoine spoke about his excitement on racing into New York City, “I came to Charleston once with Giovani Soldini’s Maserati program, but I arrived and left the day after by plane so I haven’t really sailed in the US. I’ve never sailed into New York before, my camera is ready to take a selfie with the Statue of Liberty!”
The first Spanish team is also nearly ready to race. While making adjustments to their starboard rudder, Pablo Santurde said, “This is my first time sailing in the US I’m nervous about sailing into New York City, the traffic will make it difficult to navigate. I think we have a chance to do well. If you sail without making a big mistake and sail clever you will finish in a good position.”
The 2016 Atlantic Cup will start in Charleston, S.C., May 28, stop in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 31-June 4 and culminate in Portland, Maine, June 6-11. The race is free and open to the public. With over 1,000nm of ocean racing, the Atlantic Cup is the longest offshore race in the Western Atlantic and is also the United States’ only short-handed offshore race dedicated to the Class 40. Since its inception, the Atlantic Cup has been the U.S.’ most environmentally responsible sailing race and is the first carbon neutral sailing race in the U.S. Six countries and 10 teams are represented in the talented field of competitors.