It’s still in its infancy, but after years of hoping and dreaming, it looks like someone may finally have a shot at creating a U.S. pro sailing circuit similar to those running in Europe.
At press time, organizers of the Atlantic Cup, an East Coast series featuring high-powered Class 40 sloops, said they expect to more than double the number of boats taking part in the second running of the event, from four boats last year to 10 in 2012.
This year’s series, which begins May 11, will also feature a second double-handed leg from Charleston, South Carolina, to New York Harbor, in addition to an offshore leg from New York to Newport, Rhode Island, and two days of inshore racing.
Oh, and prize money is increasing from $15,000 to $30,000.
“The growth we are seeing for the 2012 Atlantic Cup is terrific,” says race director Hugh Piggin, a veteran Class 40 sailor who finished 6th in class in the storm-plagued 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. “This year’s race is going to be an extremely tough and challenging competition that will provide some of the best short-handed sailing the United States has ever seen.”
The 2012 fleet will be an international one, with a number of teams from France, Germany and the UK mixing it up with local boats, like Mike Hennessy’s Dragon, Joe Harris’s Gryphon Solo 2 and Mike Dreeze’s Toothface.