by Richard Crockett
There is many a local RSA sailor who will remember Donald Alexander as a tough and wiley competitor on the race course when he sailed, Dabbies, Sprogs, Fireballs and Lasers. In fact in juts about anything he sailed he was able to go fast and always be a threat.
Having recently hit the ripe old age of 60, Donald, the younger brother of Campbell Alexander a doyen of the RSA Laser Class, decided to embark on this Atlantic Cup campaign. He is no stranger to the Class 40 as he purchased one in the UK a few years ago and sailed it singlehanded to his home in the USA.
The Atlantic Cup is a 3-stage, double-handed offshore race that spans the eastern seaboard of the United States. At 1,008 nautical miles it is the longest offshore race in the Western Atlantic. In addition, the Atlantic Cup is the only race to include rounding both Cape Hatteras and Cape Cod.
Sailing the “Power of One”, Alexander has teamed up with Paul Peggs, his mentor for his first singlehanded passage.
The first 24 hours of the 2018 Atlantic Cup have been intense, with three groups forming shortly after the start, with ‘Power of One’ taking the coastal route opting to sail fewer miles against those heading for the Gulf stream.
North Sails President and Atlantic Cup Race Expert, Ken Read, provides an overview of the fleet, “As anticipated the decision to go east for the Stream or stay close to the rhumb line has been crucial with the leaders for the most part heading just east of rhumb and putting in very few extra miles. In essence the leaders are letting the stream come to them rather than forcing in extra miles. Which means it is fun, fast sailing and my guess is that the sailors are having a ball so far.
One thing that sticks out is the pair punching it out for the lead being quite close, which often results in short term gains due to concentration and having someone to spar with. But, that sometimes can also cause a bit more fatigue for short-handed teams as you tend to get out of your rhythm and press a little hard until fatigue takes over. With that said, ‘Ahmas’ and ‘Angola Cables’ have positioned themselves well to get to the Stream easily around Hattaras and get a bit of a sling shot around the boats to the west like ‘Toothface’ and ‘First Light’.
Good clean fun out there. I like most of you am quite jealous. Great boats and terrific sailing and it looks like getting around Hattaras will come with little concern which is always very, very good.”