Italian team Acrobatica wins Charleston to Newport leg of the Atlantic Cup

After an exhilarating 704-nautical mile race from Charleston to Newport, it was a matter of minutes separating the first and second place finishers. The Italian/French duo of Alberto Riva and Jean Mare on Acrobatica captured line honors, crossing the finish line at 07:46:16 a.m. EST in heavy fog. Their cumulative time of 2 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 16 seconds not only secured their victory but also set a new Charleston-Newport course record, shattering the previous record set by Mare in 2012 by over 11 hours.

In a nail-biting conclusion, Everial crossed the finish line just 10 minutes and 27 seconds after Acrobatica. The youngest duo in the fleet, Melwin Fink and Lennart Burke on Sign for Com, completed the podium, reaching Newport at 10:00:12 a.m. EST.

The nearly three-day race was marked by a variety of weather conditions, including over 48 hours of thunderstorms and high winds, challenging Gulf Stream conditions, and fast downwind sailing. The close competition saw the remaining four teams all finishing within an hour of each other, making for an intense and closely fought battle throughout the race.

Reflecting on the challenging competition, first-place finisher Alberto Riva of Acrobatica shared his thoughts: “This race was the very first time I have seen these waters and it was an adventure. It was the very first time I had been so close to a competitor [Everial] for such a large part of the race. For me, discovering we were able to match them and those conditions—it was a great discovery. I learned lots of things about Acrobatica.”

Second-place finisher Erwan Le Draoulec of Everial remarked on the race’s varied conditions: “The leg was really good and complete with different conditions. The start had very light winds, but with the downwind we got some good speed and from there had to get through the storms. The race was not perfect, but it was pretty close to perfect. This boat [Everial] is made for downwind sailing, so it worked pretty perfect at the end there.”

Melwin Fink of Sign for Com, the third-place finisher, appreciated the learning experience: “The race brought us so many conditions and experiences we haven’t faced on the Class40 yet, so that was great—especially against such great competition.”

Atlantic Cup Race Director Hugh Piggin commented on the impressive performance: “It’s pretty impressive the speed that these teams have gone and how they have kept it so competitive. It has been neck in neck for nearly three days. The race featured two parts; the first 50 miles getting out of Charleston was light air and the tactical race of getting into the Gulf Stream. After Cape Hatteras, it turned into a downwind drag race. The guys have had to keep the boats at 100% and they have been pushing them very hard.”

Unfortunately, Scowling Dragon suffered damage early Tuesday morning. The team is safe and is expected to arrive in Newport late Wednesday.

The eight teams will remain in Newport until Saturday, June 1st, docking at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard. The public is invited to visit the teams during this period. The second leg of the competition departs on June 1st at 12 p.m. from Fort Adams, featuring a 249-nautical mile sprint to Portland. The race culminates in Portland, Maine, with a two-day coastal racing series on June 5-6th.



Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!