April 2015 Report

The Caribbean race season is now in full swing and I’ve had some great racing in some of the best sailing conditions we’ve seen in a long time. The season kicked off for me with a couple Superyacht events- the Loro Piana Superyacht Cup in Virgin Gorda and the St. Barths Bucket in March. For these events I was racing on the 125’ Parini-Navi/Briand designed P2. Superyachts are the latest big growth segment in our sport, a trend of designing and building true dual purpose boats of 100 feet plus, with the latest performance hull and sails, but with comforts inside for the owners to also go cruising. This year saw the debut of a new handicap system that was desperately needed to keep up with the new yachts being designed and the growing competition between the teams.

The first event in Virgin Gorda had strong winds and some really close battles amongst the top 3 boats. It was all decided in the final five minutes of the last race of the regatta, and our team on P2 pulled off the victory in our class, and the overall regatta prize; a wonderful experience for the owner and everyone on the team that has been racing this fine yacht for over five years together now.

We went straight to St. Barths for the Bucket on the following weekend. This event saw several new competitors and a much bigger fleet to contend with. We sailed a good event and went into the final day in second with a chance at wining, but the wind conditions got very light which hurt us and we ended up 3rd in class. But hey, another podium finish is a keeper.

Next up for me has been a series of events on a Carkeek 40 high performance boat named SPOOKIE. The team has been together for several years and invited me on as the strategist for the three events they are racing in the Caribbean. First up was the St. Thomas International Regatta at the end of March where we managed to get 1st. Next up was the BVI Spring Regatta where we pulled off a 2nd, and next week will be our final event at the Voiles de St. Barths (hopefully not a 3rd!!). Quite the adjustment going from driving a 125 foot, 150 ton superyacht, to hiking out on the rail of a 40 footer! But the bursts of speed and downwind rides at over 20knots have been fantastic, and the team is an incredible collection of talent and great guys, so I am really loving it.

My final event of the Caribbean season will be the RS Elite Challenge during Antigua Sailing Week at the end of April, and then a nice break in May to recharge my batteries. Thanks again to my sponsors Kaenon Sunglasses and Horizon Yacht Charters.

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