The schooner Atlantic was involved in her first regatta in the Mediterranean 32nd Régates Royales in Cannes. Rebuilt by Ed Kastelein, to whom we owe the restoration of Thendara and the launch of Eleonora, her sailings have been one of the major attractions of the regattas. On board, the studious atmosphere was emotionally charged. Having established the 3 Mainsails, 2 jibs and staysail the schooner regularly reached 9 knots with less than 15 knots of wind. We then sailed long legs in the bay of Cannes, fully enjoying the pleasure of sailing on this legendary ship, record holder (during 70 years) for crossing the Atlantic ocean. This also allowed us to relax a bit, exhausted we were by the long minutes spent in raising and then curl all halyards. In the light breeze of this Friday, September 25, the long schooner barely crossed the path of the wind. To help, we kept the second jib; Atlantic, with her 69.24 meters in overall length and 330 tons is able to tack without losing too much speed.
First sailing regatta.
The starting procedure begins at last. We remain somewhat remote from other competitors because we are running a deficit of speed and maneuverability. However, thrown to the starting buoy, we witness the magnificent spectacle of the fight between Mariska, Tuiga, Cambria and Moonbeam of Fife. We sail behind them toward the first buoy, and regularly come across Sunshine, also handicapped by the lack of wind. Unfortunately after two hours of racing, the breeze completely ran out of steam. Latest buoys being impossible to reach, we take the opportunity to hoist a slight jib and test 3 boom sails. But the wind did not allow us to assess the sailing capacities of Atlantic that her slenderness and imposing sails suggests. However, this allowed the crew of Ed Kastelein to make further tests and progress in exploiting the potential of the great schooner. Launched in 2008 and only masted last year, we can feel she still has many secrets to deliver.
“It was a dream to rebuild Atlantic,” said Ed Kastelein to NauticNews.com. Compared to Eleonora, I thought I would need 50% extra time. But we took 200% because there were a lot of research to do and solutions to find out”. Whether for the engine or the rigging, the identical construction of the legendary schooner was long and tedious. It started in the Netherlands in 2006 and was completed last summer in La Rochelle with the receipt of the sails. Still somewhat limited, it will be completed early next year with sails adapted to the small wind. Replica of the record holder for crossing the Atlantic for 70 years, the long black schooner hopes to be soon able to compete against the other schooners of the conventional circuit. For the interior, the research was also very thorough. Respecting the original plans and archival photos, Ed Kastelein has adapted the facilities for a charter operation. The 6 cabins are warm and comfortable, with a mix of woods, while the large square in the center of the boat is a must. It consists in a large table to starboard, while to port a cozy sitting area allows reading or drinking coffee in a real saloon. The furnitures are of good quality, while the light is efficiently achieved by large clerestory, well served by white painted ceiling and walls. Forward is a large galley spread on the 2 sides, the 4 crew cabins and a saloon. While to the rear of the saloon, you reach a square protected by the central deckhouse.
Continue the history.
At the Régates Royales, as in all her shows, the passengers expressed their pleasure and pride of sailing aboard the new Atlantic schooner. The deck layout is particularly impressive with its 36 styled bronze winches and slightly prominent clerestories. Thus was preserved the amazing slenderness of the yacht, which main beam is only 8.85 meters (28.8 feet) and hull length is 56.43 meters (185 feet). Nothing hinders moves or vision, which reinforces the incredible sensation of length of the schooner. This feeling is even more impressive at pier. After Cannes, the schooner participated to the Voiles de Saint-Tropez and then began her first Mediterranean winter. In spring, we should see her long and majestic silhouette at the Bailli de Suffren race. Ed Kastelein and his crew will have to push the heart of Atlantic during this long race course, more than a century after Charlie Barr has established the record for the most number of miles sailed in 24 hours (341 miles May 24, 1905) .
Photo Credit : Patricia Lascabannes