Portland the finish line for East Coast sailing race

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PORTLAND — A major sailing event will make its Portland debut next week.

The Atlantic Cup, now in its fifth year, is an offshore sailing race held on the East Coast each spring. It features nine boats raced by teams of two, representing six countries.

Presented by 11th Hour Racing, the Atlantic Cup will be making its first Portland appearance June 6-11. The race began May 28 in Charleston, South Carolina, and will end in Portland.

Julianna Barbieri, who co-founded the race and is the commercial director for the event, said nine teams from across the world were scheduled to arrive in New York City from South Carolina on Memorial Day and, after a few events in the city, would leave for Portland June 4. All told, she said the race would cover 1,000 nautical miles.

Barbieri said the city is a good place to finish the race. She said when she came here in 2014 and met with city staff, everyone was supportive. Additionally, she said, Portland was a “natural fit” in the desire to make the race longer.

“It’s a nice, vibrant city,” Barbieri said.

There will be several events marking the end of the race June 6 off Fort Allen Park. Barbieri said the winners will be announced and trophies handed out that night at 5:30 p.m. at the Maine Wharf, near the Portland Science Center. The boats will be docked there for the remainder of the week for visitors to see.

On June 10 and 11 there will be inshore racing, as well as live music, food trucks, a beer garden and events for children, all of which will be free and open to the public from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in Fort Allen Park.

“It should be a really good time,” Barbieri said.

Friends of the Eastern Promenade will be selling 100 raffle tickets for a spot on board one of the boats during the inshore races. Barbieri said it will be “the only way on board” for anyone interested. Tickets are available on the Friends of the Eastern Promenade website.

In addition to being an intense ocean race, Barbieri said, The Atlantic Cup is the “most environmentally sustainable” race of its kind. The race is carbon neutral, according to its website, and Barbieri said the sailors recycle, compost, and do not use single-use water bottles.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

The fifth Atlantic Cup sailing race, which began May 28 in South Carolina, will finish June 6 for the first time in Portland.

Nine teams from around the world, piloted by two sailors each, will race from Charleston, South Carolina to Portland, and stop in Brooklyn, New York, along the way.

Following the conclusion of the Atlantic Cup, the sail boats will remain in Portland for the week, and there will be a host of events and smaller races in they city’s waters.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.