It was the Class 40 Gryphon Solo 2, skippered by Joe Harris and Patrick O’Connor, that came out on top in the first stage of the 2014 Atlantic Cup when it crossed the finish line in New York Harbor early Wednesday morning.
The boat completed the 642 miles from Charleston, South Carolina, in just over 89 hours 15 minutes, beating out the second place Dragon in drifting conditions by a mere 15 minutes 5 seconds. The third-place boat, Pleiad Racing, finished just seven minutes after that.
The race, which began in Charleston with the fleet sailing under double-reefed mains, remained close throughout, with multiple lead changes thanks to the fluky conditions north of Cape Hatteras. As the teams approached the New Jersey coastline, Dragon and Pleiad Racing headed in for the coast in search of wind, but Gryphon Solo 2 made a move toward the east, which proved critical when the new breeze came and allowed Gryphon Solo 2 to jump ahead.
Coming into New York Harbor, Gryphon Solo 2 found itself defending a lead of less than a tenth of a mile in a dying breeze, which soon allowed Pleiad Racing to make it even again. Both teams then found themselves battling for over three hours as they struggled to reach the finish in a calm with the current against them. While this was going on, Dragon was able to close up what had been am 9 miles gap to join also in the madness as well.
In end all three teams were forced to make multiple approaches to the finish line before they were able to actually finish—which Gryphon Solo 2 finally did by first sailing past the line and then allowing the current to take them back down to duck across.
Next up in the three-stage regatta will be another double-handed race, starting from just off New York City’s North Cove Marina at noon on Saturday, May 17 and finishing off Newport, Rhode Island. The event will then conclude with a two-day inshore series on Narragansett Bay May 24-25.
For details, visit http://www.atlanticcup.org/.