Atlantic Cup Day 2
Sailing World’s_ roving big-boat correspondent Ryan O’Grady sailed in Leg 1 of the Atlantic Cup as the media crew member onboard Jörg Reicher’s Class 40 Mare with co-skipper Ryan Braymaier._**
**With the zero up and flying, our next waypoint was Cape Hatteras. At some point prior to Hatteras, we would reach the western wall of the Gulf Stream and a reported current of up to 4 knots. The sooner we got that current, the faster we would do to the rest of the fleet what Bodacious Dream did to us. As night fell, the wind slowly started to back and increase, and our Mach 40 Class 40 really came alive. The only light on the horizon was Bodacious Dream, and we were determined to catch her by morning. With each knot of new wind, the gap between Dream and us shrunk. By 4 a.m., the call was made to peel to the Code 5 kite to bear off and pass them. With sheer power, Mare was able to sail under and around Dream, giving us what we thought was the lead. Wind speeds continued to increase into the mid-teens and back enough to let us hoist the big kite. From then on, the day was nothing short of champagne sailing.
Right now, we are on starboard gybe, and averaging a little over 15 knots over the ground for the day, thanks to a healthy 4-knot push from the Gulf Stream. At this point, a 350- to 375-mile day looks to be in the clouds. Not too shabby for a 40-foot boat in 14 knots of breeze! From the latest position report, our strategy has worked quite well. We have put seven miles between ourselves and Bodacious Dream, and 40 miles between ourselves and Talan, the boat that nearly hit us on the first night.
We are approaching the point in the Gulf Stream where it begins to bend east and are planning our departure strategy. Ryan has identified a warm eddy that he thinks we can hook into to give us a further push to New York. To get it, we need to gybe around 7 p.m. to get it. From there, the warm eddy should deposit us near the Jersey Shore sometime around daybreak on the third day. In the meantime, Jörg is driving the boat like a man possessed while Ryan catches a nap. On Mare each crewmember sleeps when they find it necessary, and I don’t think either one has slept for more than six hours for the duration of the race. Ryan looked exhausted; Jörg looks like he can drive until the tiller is pried from his hands. Given his average speeds of late, I think we’d all be perfectly content to let him carry on, as we are doing nearly 20 knots over the bottom right now. I’m off to cook up some freeze-dried food for dinner. Mare does not have a galley. To heat up water for the freeze dried, there is a small Jetboil water heater. It heats the water really fast, but every time I start it, I worry that my hand will be burnt off! Day two has been pretty good to us. Hopefully we can keep the momentum alive through day three.