Bodacious Dream fends off Le Coq Cuisine in final day of racing
Rain, wind and cold. Those were the conditions that faced the crews of seven Class40 yachts in the final leg of the Atlantic Cup last weekend. The hotly contested regatta in the East Passage came down to the final race Sunday before this year’s championship was decided.
But when it was, Bodacious Dream, a boat sponsored by Jamestown Fish, was at the top of the leader board.
Bodacious Dream had won the first two legs of the nearly 900- mile East Coast odyssey that was the third annual Atlantic Cup. The first leg took the boats from South Carolina to New York City, and the second leg stretched from the Big Apple to Newport. Although Bodacious Dream was ahead on points when the double-handed boats arrived in Narragansett Bay, two days of inshore racing remained. The competition couldn’t have been closer, as crews expanded from two to six for the racing on the bay.
At the beginning of the weekend there were still four boats with a shot at winning the Atlantic Cup. Behind Bodacious Dream by just one point was Le Coq Cuisine, one of the newest boats in the fleet. Closely following were Gryphon Solo 2 and local favorite Icarus Racing. Other competitors included Dragon, Pleiad Racing and the British entry 40 Degrees.
Although Icarus performed superbly over the weekend – winning three races, finishing second in two others, and winning the inshore series handily – the crew of Bodacious Dream, skippered by Dave Rearick of Chesterton, Ind., did what they had to do to win the overall title. It was the two wins in the offshore legs, as well as the consistent performance on the bay (a win and two second-place finishes), that gave Bodacious Dream the cushion they needed to win the cup.
The Class40s are physically demanding boats, and the 55-year- old Rearick was out there with the oldest crew in the fleet – in some cases more than twice as old as the 20- and 30-somethings that populated most of the other boats. If there was any lack of physical prowess, especially important given the harsh conditions on the bay, it didn’t show. It was more than made up for in sailing experience, anyway.
“It was a great regatta,” Rearick said. “When the winds are up like that it’s always a tough physical game on top of the tough mental game that comes with being in such close competition. You really have to be prepared for quicker decision making when the speeds are up like that.”
Going into the weekend’s racing it was clear to Rearick that Le Coq Cuisine was the boat he had to stay ahead of to win the cup. It didn’t begin well: Le Coq took first in the initial race, while Bodacious Dream finished third. A sixth- place finish in the second race also hurt the Fish-sponsored boat.
In the day’s third race, things changed dramatically. Le Coq was in first place rounding the final mark, with Bodacious Dream trailing in second. But disaster struck the lead boat. Le Coq had spinnaker problems and ended up having to dump their chute in the water as Bodacious Dream sailed past them for the victory.
“In windy conditions you win the race by making fewer mistakes than the other guy does,” Rearick said. “Mistakes can prove costly.”
The second day of inshore racing saw less rain, but more breeze. Wind speeds were above 20 knots as the boats approached Beavertail on the first leg. Bodacious Dream had spinnaker problems of its own as it rounded the mark, but recovered to get past Le Coq again and take third.
Going into the final race of the inshore series, Le Coq was the only boat with a chance to catch Bodacious Dream for the overall championship. However, it was dogged by additional problems and Bodacious Dream’s second- place finish secured the title.
“These boats are very, very physical,” Rearick said. “We had the oldest crew on board. The young guys are great physically, but the wisdom of an older, experienced sailor brings you down to an interesting balance.”
Rearick, who was competing in his second Atlantic Cup, said the regatta is a spectacular event. He congratulated the organizers on their hard work in putting on an event with first-rate management. Rearick also appreciates the camaraderie displayed by the competing sailors.
“The people make it all worthwhile, and the Atlantic Cup brings that out as much as anything,” Rearick said. “The Atlantic Cup is in the hierarchy of the best events that are offered for Class40 racing. The coming years will see it blossom into a highly regarded international event.”
Ben Poucher of Icarus Racing commented on the weekend’s racing, which saw his boat dominating the fleet. The expanded Icarus crew for the inshore racing included local sailing rock stars Ken and Brad Read.
“The inshore series section of the Atlantic Cup is particularly good for the Icarus crew,” Poucher said. “We’re used to racing around here. A lot of the guys are pretty spot on around Narragansett Bay. We sailed the boat as hard as she possibly can sail and we did really well.”
Poucher said that the weather conditions demanded a nearly flawless performance to get around the course as quickly as possible.
“The crew that we had on board was used to sailing in heavy air,” he said. “We all worked together as a team and it really showed in the results.”
The Atlantic Cup is the first carbon-neutral sailing event in the United States. The competition is presented by 11th Hour Racing and organized by Hugh Piggin and Julianna Barbieri of Manuka Sports Event Management.
“We are very proud to have a terrific team with us to put together another successful event,” Piggin said. “This year exhibited extremely tight racing in both the offshore and inshore legs with final positions not decided until the final minutes. We congratulate all of the competitors, especially Bodacious Dream, in winning one of the closest grand prix regattas in the United States.”