Grand Prix Dreamin’
For U.S. sailors with grand prix dreams, the time may have come to make those dreams a reality. Now in its third year, the Atlantic Cup, a pair of Class 40 double-handed offshore races and a fully crewed inshore series run off Newport, Rhode Island, is set to resume May 11-26. And for those interested in getting into the game (not to mention trying for a share of the regatta’s cash purse) there are three ready-to-go Class 40 racers available for immediate sale or charter—including the Owen Clarke-designed Cutlass, winner of the 2011 inaugural series. (According to regatta director Hugh Piggin, there are also plenty of U.S. Class 40 sailors out there ready and willing to help a new program get up to speed. Visit atlanticcup.org for details.)
Since its inception, the Class 40 has served as an affordable alternative to the Open 60s that have long dominated shorthanded racing. The result has been an explosion of interest in Europe, with the boats representing a major force in such events as the Transat Jacques Vabre. Although U.S. sailors have been slower to embrace the class, events like the Atlantic Cup and a growing number of boats on this side of the Pond suggest it may soon achieve the critical mass necessary to really take off. So what are you waiting for?
Photos courtesy of Billy Black/Atlantic Cup