Perseverance Pays Off for Newport-Bermuda Winners Mike and Connie Cone

Mike and Connie Cone with crew aboard ACTAEA. Photo courtesy of Connie Cone.
 
Twenty-five years ago, Mike and Connie Cone bought a Hinckley Bermuda 40, ACTAEA, to go off-shore cruising. When a friend suggested racing, they thought they’d give it a try. In 1995 they entered their first race, the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race, and they were hooked. Last month they won their first Newport-Bermuda race, where they walked away with nine trophies.
 
The Cones entered their first Newport-Bermuda race in 1996. “We did terribly in our first race,” said Mike. “I was horribly discouraged and thought it was a mistake that I would never repeat.” That year’s winner, however, gave a speech on perseverance, so the Cones decided to try again.
 
They continued racing, but it wasn’t until 2008 that they started thinking about winning. “That year was a difficult race for us, the conditions were really inappropriate for our boat, yet we got into Bermuda in less than five days and placed in the middle of our class,” said Mike. “That woke me up. We’d gotten our boat to a place where she could perform really well.”
 
Their winning streak began in 2010 with the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s cup. “We won our class quite handily,” said Mike. “Since then, we’ve entered seventeen medium-long distance races and have won or placed in sixteen of them.”
 
The Newport-Bermuda race, however, evaded them until this year. Not only did they win the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, they won eight additional trophies. Mike said it was his crew’s determination that propelled them to victory. “When we arrived in Newport, we were determined to do as well as we possibly could. The least experienced crew has sailed 3,000 miles on this boat, so even though our sail combinations are incredibly complex, everyone knew what to use when.”
 
He attributes much of that knowledge to the service he’s received from Quantum Sail Design Group. “In our first Marion-Bermuda race, we used other sails, and the last one didn’t arrive until the night before the race. I immediately went over to Quantum. Tad Hutchins and the designers and naval architect Jim Ryan have spent a lot of time working with us, tweaking the designs of the sails. Because of the nature of ACTAEA, we can fly five sails at once, so it’s important that they work together.”
 
In addition to creating the perfect sails for ACTAEA, Hutchins also provided on-board training for the crew. “Tad’s been out on the boat numerous times,” said Mike. “He spent nine hours with us one day working on tension, setting sails, and on and on. It was enormously helpful, and one of the reasons we won. We are very happy Quantum customers.”
 
Next up for the Cones is the Governor’s Cup in August, where they’ll defend their title, before preparing for the Baltimore City Yacht Association Baltimore Harbor Cup in October. Until then, Mike and Connie continue to sail and hope to encourage others the same way they were encouraged.
 
“In 1996, ACTAEA and I finished last,” he said, “but what I learned was that perseverance and examination of past performances can help you learn from past mistakes, and your losses can become your victories.”
 
The crew of ACTAEA, winners of the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy. 
Photo courtesy of Connie Cone.
 
 
ACTAEA Trophy List, 2014 Bermuda Race
 
St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy: Corrected time winner, St. David’s Lighthouse division
 
Class 1, ORR fleet: 1st place
 
Corinthian Trophy: Best Performance by an all-amateur crew, St. David’s Division
 
Eastern Ocean Racing Championship Prize: Best combined performance between current Newport-Bermuda race and the prior Annapolis-Newport Race
 
George W. Mixter Trophy, St. David’s Division: To the navigator of ACTAEA, Stan Sneath
 
William C. Finley Trophy: Yacht older than fifteen years with the best corrected time, St David’s Lighthouse Division
 
Dorade Trophy: Best corrected time by a vintage yacht (older than twenty-five years)
 
Cruising Club of America Bermuda Station Trophy: Best corrected time by a vessel skippered by a CCA or Royal Bermuda Yacht Club member
 
Chesapeake Station of the CCA Memorial Trophy: Best performance by a vessel from the Chesapeake Region
ACTAEA races toward Bermuda. Photo by Daniel Forster.
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Collision at Anchor By Jack Klang

Courtesy Photo from Jack Klang
 
 
North of Lake Huron and south of Ontario, Canada lies a cruiser’s dream – the North Channel, a stretch of granite out islands, beautiful passage ways, and private bays. On a visit there with my wife, we found a small cove with a narrow entrance surrounded by granite rock formations and perforated with pine trees and wild blue berry bushes. Determining an adequate depth and enough swing room for our 30-foot cruiser and the one other boat already anchored at the far end of the cove, we dropped anchor at our end of heaven on earth. 
 
That night a thunderous noise and violent collision woke us with a start. We scrambled up the companionway to find a huge sailboat hard against our side. The hatch of the other boat rumbled open enough for a head to pop out and mumble, “You okay?” Before we could respond, the head disappeared. At daylight we checked our boat for damage (our stainless steel rub rail had saved us). A few minutes later, the big boat quietly motored out of the cove and disappeared.
 
Although we had allowed adequate swing room to give clearance to the only other boat anchored in the cove, the late arriving skipper did not. The size of his boat (estimated at more than 45 feet) and his excessive anchor rope facilitated a swing arc covering more than half of the available area (whereas we anchored on a three-to-one short scope). If the late-night arrival had followed proper anchoring etiquette, we could have avoided the unfortunate, and potentially damaging, situation.
 
Anchoring etiquette says that the first boat to anchor has the right to choose their anchoring location. All future arrivals are obliged to choose their location so it does not impair the previous arrival. If the locations seem close, it is proper to dinghy over to the other boat and ask if they are comfortable with your location. If you decided to stay, hanging a few fenders can add peace of mind, and extra protection, in case of a collision. If you’re unsure about or uncomfortable with the situation, the courteous thing to do is find a new location.
 
If a collision does happen, whether because of miscalculated distance or ignorance of proper anchoring protocol, etiquette says to check both parties for injuries or damages. Offer assistance if needed, and stand by until help arrives.
 
Following proper anchoring etiquette will ensure a safe and worry-free stay for you and your fellow cruisers. 
 
About the Author
Jack Klang is a Cruising Consultant for Quantum Sail Design Group. He has shared his vast experience with thousands of sailors through his seminars, a syndicated newspaper column, magazine articles, and television and movie appearances. He is the author of “Cruising with Quantum,” a series of how-to articles covering all aspects of sailboat cruising, as well as an instructional video. Jack is recognized as one of the country’s five best sailing speakers, appearing at boat shows across the country. For the past five decades, Jack has sailed the Great Lakes, Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. He earned his first Coast Guard captain’s license at age eighteen and has logged over 30,000 miles under sail as a cruiser, ASA instructor, charter captain and delivery skipper. Contact Jack at captjack1(at)charter(dot)net.
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Quantum Sailors Go One and Two in Close International Star Class World Championship

In a race that many are calling one of the closest contests in the history of the International Star World Championships, the Quantum® teams of Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen of Germany and Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy finished first and second in Malcesine, Italy this past weekend.
 
Stanjek and Kleen led by ten points going into the last day of racing. They started conservatively but failed to get into good pressure, dropping into sixteenth position. Negri and Lambertenghi took advantage, playing the shifts well to take the lead at the first bottom mark. By the end of the third leg, both teams were in contention, with Negri and Lambertenghi finishing well ahead of the fleet, but Stanjek and Kleen’s original lead and a final push at the end were enough to secure the win. They are the fourth German team to win the International Star Class World Championship, finishing two points ahead of Negri and Lembertenghi.
 
After the race, Kleen told Star World, “We made a mistake on the first beat and put ourselves under a lot of pressure. The first downwind leg was very one-sided and we had little opportunity to make any gains, but a good second beat put us back in contention. We really didn’t know the overall position on the final downwind leg, so we concentrated on taking twelfth position, which we thought would be enough. We dared not believe it when we crossed the line, but when [we] were told that our provisional result had been enough, we were so delighted. We came second in 2011, so to win this year has finished that feeling.”
 
Quantum teams took five of the top ten places in a fleet of eighty-seven boats. Congratulations to everyone!
 
2014 International Star Class World Championship
 
1 – Pica, Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen
2 – ITA 8491, Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi
4 – USA 8465, Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins
6 – Eleven Fifty-nine, George Szabo, Edoardo Natucci
7 – GRE 8434, Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras*
 
*Sails with a partial Quantum Inventory
 

For full results, click here

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