Morgan Stanley Managing Director Mike Hennessy and his 40-foot ocean racing yacht Dragon were scheduled to set out today from New York harbor bound for Newport, Rhode Island, on the second leg of sailing’s Atlantic Cup.
Hennessy, 45, said the course will take him and co-skipper Chris Museler down the New Jersey shoreline before following the coast of Long Island toward the finish 231 nautical miles (428 nautical kilometers) away. Hennessy stands in seventh place after the regatta’s opening stretch from Charleston, South Carolina, to New York City.
“On the run down to Barnegat Bay, there’s not a ton of tactics,” Hennessy said during a tune-up sail off Manhattan’s Battery Park. “Then it’s play the gradient or play the sea breeze up the coast. As you approach Block Island, you’ve got to think about which side you want to go in. That’s all currents and tides.”
This year’s Atlantic Cup includes 15 vessels, the largest fleet assembled in the U.S. for the Class 40, a boat designed in France to make solo and shorthanded ocean racing accessible to amateur sailors, said Merfyn Owen, who designed Dragon at his U.K.-based Owen Clarke Design LLC.
The race along the coast of Long Island should allow the two-person crews to build straight-line speed over long distances, Owen said.
“The term you end up using is ‘easy miles,’” Owen said as he steered Dragon downwind toward the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. “They just tick on by.”
Winning the regatta, in which Hennessy placed second last year, also requires a good finish in a crewed inshore regatta off Newport that ends May 27.
Hennessy’s looking forward to restarting the race and getting to Newport with Museler, who won nine U.S. sailing championship medals between 1998 and 2009.
“Lunch Sunday would be a bit aggressive,” he said. “Maybe dinner. Last year, we were docking at 11.”
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