Atlantic Cup Inshore Racing & Last Day Recap!

The 2013 Atlantic Cup is over and Bodacious Dream had a fantastic run of it … placing first in the two offshore legs and a respectable second in the third element, the inshore series, which combined to put us at the top of the leaderboard and first overall in this year’s event!

Sunday was the last day of the competition, and it arrived with weather similar to how it was for Saturday’s last race, which we won. Wind speeds were again between 18 and 25 knots with an overcast sky, though fortunately no rain.

Boats at the dock
Sunday morning before start – Photo by Billy Black

Racing in “sporting” conditions like these is always challenging … physically as well as mentally. The decisions come even quicker and the pure physical energy needed to handle sails in such wind jumps exponentially. Along with that, your chances of making mistakes that can cost you places, goes up as well. Often these regattas are won by whatever boat makes “the second to the last” mistake. There were plenty of mistakes made out there on the water, and we certainly had our share.

Lecoq Cuisine, Icarus, Bodacious Dream & Gryphon Solo 2
Lecoq Cuisine, Icarus, BoDream & Gryphon Solo 2 - Photo by Billy Black

One such costly mistake happened on the last turn to the finish during Saturday’s final race. We were chasing down Lecoq Cuisine who had the lead, when they had a problematic spinnaker takedown while rounding the mark. Their spinnaker caught the water and began dragging behind the boat, which allowed us to pass them and continue on to win that race. This is all part of what makes racing so exciting to watch, but what also makes it painful when it happens to you or to a tough and valiant competitor.

Going into Sunday’s races, we remained in the overall lead, but again we had to keep even or ahead of Lecoq Cuisine in the day’s two races in order to preserve it. Our plan was simple … race hard, not let Lecoq get ahead of us and solidly cement our place at the top of the standings.

Bodacious Dream & Gryphon Solo 2We started the first race in a very good position with water ballast in place for the long starboard sail to the first mark off Beavertail Point. I’m pretty sure we were the only ones with water ballast loaded, as we saw Bo surge ahead when the heavy gusts of wind hit, leading the entire fleet around that first mark in what was a rather tricky, high wind gybe. This is a maneuver that can really go wrong if everyone doesn’t do their job exactly on cue.

We pulled that mark off perfectly, and then set up our Code 0 sail, an asymmetric sail designed for a broader angle to the wind. With the sail up and rolled, ready to be deployed, we delayed the decision to deploy it as the winds were still in the high 20’s. All of a sudden, on its own, the Code 0 unfurled and took to the wind, jamming the furling line in the process. This meant we suddenly had way too much sail area up. Crewmember Ryan Scott and I moved quickly to the foredeck to get the sail partially furled and dropped back to the deck where we got it under control. Not only can a problem like this cost you places in the race, but it can cost you personal injury and broken gear as well. We were lucky and only lost three places on that one. We stashed the sail below, but it remained unusable for the rest of the race.

We sailed extra hard for the rest of that particular leg and rounding the next mark, we were again headed upwind – certainly one of Bodacious Dream’s very good points of sail. With Lecoq ahead of us after the Code 0 mishap, we set to sailing the upwind leg as perfectly as we could, and so were able to pass them halfway up that leg! Now back in third place, we chased the leaders all the while keeping Lecoq behind us. We jib reached down to the last turn mark, where we had Bodacious Dream doing over 19 knots across Narragansett Bay. Quite the thrill for all of us that was! Later, we learned that the camera boat was having a tough time keeping up with us! We turned the last mark, set our A3 spinnaker and sailed to the finish, taking a third behind Gryphon Solo 2 and Icarus, but leading Lecoq and gaining one more point on them.

Bodacious DreamLeaning in … - Photo by Billy Black

Our confidence was high going into the second and final race, and we got a great start which put us ahead of the fleet to the first turn mark … at which point we made a tactical error, which dropped us behind three boats and into fourth place. Frustration almost always leads to determination, and we got our focus together enough to pass two boats on the way to the next mark – one of which was Lecoq! In second position now, we saw that our job was to sail perfectly around the course and to stay ahead of Lecoq. In similar circumstances on Saturday, we did just that, even nearly pulling ahead of Icarus at one point. As we crossed the finish line in this final race of the competition, we knew we had done the job, and cleanly won the overall event with a solid second position in the inshore series, on top of our two closely fought victories in the offshore legs.

Worn out, tired, beat up by the windy days of racing, we were all elated and feeling victorious on our return to the harbor. My abiding appreciation to our hardy inshore crew: Jay Hansen, Jay Cross, Christer Still, Skip Mattos and Ryan Scott, and of course to Matt Scharl for his stellar tactics and fortitude on the offshore legs, all of which combined to bring Bodacious Dream to the podium at the awards ceremony Sunday afternoon to collect her first prize overall in the 2013 Atlantic Cup!

Bodacious Dream on the podium
On the Podium … Photo by Billy Black

Not only that, but thanks to you, our loyal fans, we also carried the vote for the “Most Popular” team! What an extra kick that was!

My heartfelt thanks to all of you Bodacious Dreamers out there for supporting us, following us and sharing in this great event.

My congratulations as well to an amazing international group of competitors who gave it their all with some consistently great sailing. The special camaraderie that we all shared here in American waters makes this event a standout event worldwide. We send out a challenge to our friends across the oceans to come prepared for some great racing next year!

All the teams on the podium
The Teams on the Podium … Photo by Billy Black

A special thanks to Julianna Barbieri and Hugh Piggen of Manuka Sports Management and 11th Hour Racing for making this event a truly spectacular one!

That’s it for the moment. It’s time to go give Bo a wash-down and find her a place to stay for a couple of weeks, while I head for home to catch my breath and recover from the amazing events of the last three weeks.

We’ll be adding photos to our Facebook page and right here on our website soon … and I’m sure I’ll have another story here in a day or two, so stay tuned for more coming right up!

- Dave & the Bodacious Dream Team!

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