North Cove digs up to prepare for fast sailors


By Ronda Kaysen

It’s full speed ahead for the Volvo Ocean Race, which will sail through New York for the first time in its history next month.

In preparation for the big day, the Battery Park City Authority began dredging the North Cove Marina last weekend to give the seven sail boats enough room to dock.

“These are the most extreme racing boats in the world right now. They’re so light and fast and powerful. In order for us to get the race to come to Manhattan, we needed to provide them with enough water,” said Michael Fortenbaugh, commodore of the marina.

The seven sailboats race at speeds of up to 500 miles an hour and need to dock in deep water. The racers set sail last November from Vigo, Spain and will finish in Gothenburg, Sweden this summer.

Battery Park City Authority is footing the $2-million-plus bill to dredge the marina, a process that will take two weeks and involves large cranes that lift the silt out of the marina. This is the first time the marina has been dredged since it was built. Once work is complete, the marina will be at least 16 feet deep.

“Over the years, the silt has increased in the harbor,” authority spokesperson Leticia Remauro said.

Fortenbaugh and his partner, America’s cup winner Dennis Conner, signed the lease for the marina last spring with the intention of bringing more races to New York. Bringing the Volvo race here — considered one of the world’s most famous sailboat races — was Fortenbaugh’s first goal for the marina. “It’s going to be so cool for everybody who lives and works here to see these boats,” he said of the annual race, which began in 1973.

The racers, who are now in Baltimore, will arrive in New York around May 8 and stay until they set sail for Portsmouth, England on May 11 at 1 p.m.

“This is the pinnacle of the sport, people who’ve devoted their life to sailing—these people are so hardcore.”


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