Final Stretch for 1,008 Mile Sailing Race

Jun 11, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine - 10 sailing crews from all over the world are in Casco Bay for the final stretch of the 2018 Atlantic Cup Race.

The first two legs of the 1,008 mile race began as offshore competition on May 26 from Charleston, South Carolina to New York, then from New York to Portland. 

It's the second time the biennial race has finished in Casco Bay; previously, the finish line was in Newport, Rhode Island. But race organizers say the idea in coming to Casco Bay, with its islands, and raggedy coastline,  was to demand another skill from competitors. 

"We wanted the champion of the Atlantic Cup not only to be a good offshore sailor, but be an all-around sailor." says race organizer Hugh Piggin. Saturday and Sunday competition feature fine-cut, inshore skills, rather than a long-distance haul. 

"These guys sail around shore courses in Portland Harbor, close-quarter racing, boat on boat tactics are required. It's just a different skill set that these guys have to have to do well. It's very tricky." says Piggin.

After the first two legs, which involved a two-person crew sailing around both Cape Hatteras and Cape Cod, the French flagged Eärendil dominated, but lost a little ground with Saturday's first round of six-crew inshore handling.

"Today was really good, it went about as we expected." said skipper Catherine Pourre.  "In fact, we had more wind than we expected.  We should have done better, especially on the second course where we started early which was a very silly thing to do because we didn’t need to do that. But, we recovered which was important."

The Boston-based Toothface II  and the Portland, Maine based Amhas are also in podium position. Amhas skipper Micah Davis says his six-person crew will just have to find a way to stay ahead of the pack. "It sounds like it’s supposed to go a little more southerly," he says "so, once again, a day where the weather will be up and down, the wind is a little more fluky. Hopefully, our six will be a drop and we will be tied with Toothface but we need to do well.”

Boats take off for a final day of racing with a ceremony at 10:30 Sunday morning at Maine Wharf.

Competition is expected to wrap up by 4:00 p.m. 

This story was originally published June 10, 2018 at 10:52 a.m. ET.