My second Atlantic Cup truly was a great experience. I love the event for so many reasons – it’s really the only Class40 race in the US, with very special venues and phenomenal organization. Charleston and Newport are great sailing towns with marinas, shipyards, and everything you could possibly need before a regatta, and New York – well, that’s got New York City, and it is a very special experience to approach the skyline from the sea after a few days offshore. Knowing my friends and family were nearby during both the finish and start made it even better.
My Atlantic Cup experience started back in February, when USMMA Sailing Foundation boss Ralfie Steitz offered me the use of the Foundation’s Class40; the pretty grey boat known to many of you as Icarus. I was so flattered by the offer and was looking forward to getting on the boat, but with my winter regatta schedule and the horrible winter in the northeast, I only had two opportunities to sail the boat before the start of leg 1 (including the delivery to Charleston)! At the start of leg 1, we put up our race sails for the very first time. We had three serious problems during this leg. The first was our inexperience with the boat – this certainly hurt us, but also meant that our learning curve was steep as we figured out ways to make the boat go fast. Second, we encountered trouble with our electronics – none of them worked for the first three days of the race and we had a faulty iridium antenna so we couldn’t download any weather information. And third, we blew up our A2 kite during the first day! With all of the trouble we encountered, we managed to keep a positive attitude. I saw how responsive the boat was and began to really understand its potential. All in all, while we would have loved to have had a better result, we were proud that we only finished just over three hours behind the leading boat.
While leg 1 was full of frustration, leg 2 was just the opposite. It was our time for redemption and our sailing was fantastic – our speed was fast and our navigation was spot on – the weather reporting we had from PredictWind’s (one of www.jeffreymacfarlane.com sponsors) high resolution forecasts certainly helped. The race was incredibly tight – I slept for just a single hour and my co-skipper Jake took only two hours rest. I drove the entire time and Jake stayed busy taking care of sail and boat trim. We managed to squeeze out a win over Dragon by just 80 seconds.
While the first two legs of the Atlantic Cup are sailed double handed, the third and final leg – the inshore series – is sailed fully crewed. Making the transition to sailing with five other people is not an easy task, but our fantastic crew made it worth it! We sailed with Phil Garland, Chris Poole, Ross Weene, and Ervin Groove. Phil focused on navigation and main trim. Phil knows the waters of Newport better than anyone and is an incredibly talented sailor. He and I communicate well on the boat and I was so pleased to have another opportunity to sail with him. With Chris’s great match race experience, I asked him to focus on boat-on-boat tactics.
Chris and I both represent Oakcliff but this was the first time we’ve had the chance to sail together, and hopefully it will be the first of many. He made great decisions and was able to help position the boat in strong places. Ross works for Roger Martin and helped design the boat. He trimmed the jib and kite, always keeping his eyes forward, watching to see what needed to be done. Ervin was at mast and helped Jake with the bow. Both of them worked together to make sure the front of the boat stayed organized and they moved very fast. Ervin’s height and strength coupled with Jake’s quickness helped us avoid errors. Together, we won two of the races and took second place for the inshore series.
At the end of the two and a half week regatta, we scored 34 points, tying with Gryphon Solo 2 for first place. Unfortunately due to the tie breaking method, we took second place. Regardless we were pleased with and proud of the result. The Atlantic Cup gave us the opportunity to do some fantastic Class40 sailing close to home and I look forward to sailing in the race again next year. Thank you to all of my sponsors and supporters for making it possible for me to sail in such an exciting event!