St. Barths Bucket

Just back from racing the 2018 St. Barths Bucket on the J Class yacht TOPAZ.  One day of windward-leewards followed by three days of around the island races.  A typical highlight was race 2 where all three J’s shot the finish line together and finished overlapped after over an hour of racing. Truly a special occasion to be racing these incredible yachts around the magical island of St. Barths.

Outremer 45 HUMBUG

I have just arrived in Mahon on the island of Menorca after taking delivery of my new Outremer 45 Humbug.  This will be my floating home for the next six months while I race in Europe.  A huge thank you to my brother John who helped with every aspect of the commissioning and the delivery from France. And a special thanks to my partners in this exciting project- Outremer, North Sails, B&G, Harken, and Mastervolt. Absolutely the best, each and every one of them. And Mahon is a wonderful place this time of year and the perfect spot to start this exciting new journey.


Looking back on the previous year and ahead at the next is a healthy process that I do every year. On the race course 2017 was a great year. My two race programs were both successful, and immensely enjoyable.

The TP52 class where I drive Provezza is the worlds top grand prix racing class these days, and I am very fortunate to be a part of our sport at such a high level. We have a wonderful team, unique in that we sail with the owner and some of his best mates onboard, which speaks volumes to the character of the team. In a class that is 99% professional, we take great pride in competing at this level with our mixed team of pros and amateurs. It is a greater challenge for us, and it is also a greater reward. We finished 4th for the 2017 season, wining one event, and nearly winning several others.

The year ahead is a huge growth year for the class, with 9 new boats being built, and several new teams joining the class. We are one of the teams with a new boat under construction, and have a challenging and exciting new-boat learning process ahead of us.   I particularly look forward to this interface between the sailors and the design team, where we as the sailors are given a new and untested platform and must use our collective knowledge and skill to test different modes and settings to get the boat to it’s full design potential. This human factor is the greatest variable on the table in front of us, and I relish the opportunity to learn all we can with my teammates over the coming months.

The 52 Super Series 2018 schedule is an exciting one, starting in May, finishing in September, with two events in Croatia, one in Portugal, and two in Spain. The website for the series is quite good, with stories on all the teams, live race coverage, and results.

My other prized race program is the J Class yacht Topaz. These are replicas of early 1900 America’s Cup boats that are being built to original designs, but incorporating the very latest technology and materials. It is a fantastic class that is seeing a huge revival and interest from new owners. All of the boats are crewed by the best sailors in the world, and being raced at the highest levels. Racing these huge 140 foot yachts with 25-30 crew presents some of the greatest challenges in racing, and the experience is this wonderful combination of nostalgia for the incredible history of these boats and our sport of sailing, mixed with some of the most intense, dangerous, and close racing ever seen. Gets my heart pounding just thinking about it. We have a wonderful team led by our German owners that put spirit, camaraderie, and friendship on equal level of importance to results. It was our first year racing together as a team in 2017 and we made great strides throughout the year. We have put all we learned into some upgrades and changes to the boat, and look forward to improving our performance even more in 2018. Our race season starts in St. Barths and continues to Palma, Sardinia, and finally St. Tropez.

On a personal level, 2017 was one hell of a year, with two category 5 hurricanes hitting my home in the Virgin Islands. Physically I survived, the home that I built held strong, with the only major damage being a hole blasted into my roof when an entire roof from another house blew over the hill and hit me. But the emotional blow is what can’t be seen, and it is a long process, that rocks you at first, but ultimately makes you a stronger person, and a better society. We must all look past the difficulty and towards the fresh start that ultimately comes. It may sound cruel, but I truly believe that these hurricanes make our islands and our people better. Post-traumatic growth is a very real phenomena, and can be very rewarding.

And on another personal note, I am very excited to be taking delivery of my new floating home in February. An Outremer 45 will be my new home for the six months that I spend primarily racing in Europe. It has been a dream to own a catamaran one day to travel and explore the world, and I chose the Outremer 45 catamaran based on it’s design and solid reputation. She is a performance cruiser that should perfectly satisfy my desire for a fast and comfortable home. I have been greatly supported in this project by my good friends at North Sails who helped me find that perfect balance of fast and durable sails. Also helping me take this huge leap has been Outremer, B&G, Master Volt, and Harken. It is a great team of partners that I will support in providing feedback and helping to make their products better.

Here’s to wishing all of us a wonderful 2018.


October 2017

Well it’s been quite a month since my last post. In early September I was hit by two Category 5 hurricanes at my home in the Virgin Islands. Pretty scary when you have 150-200mph winds and you’re hoping the house you built can withstand it all. My home held up great, but someone else’s roof hit me in the peak of the storm and blasted a hole in my roof. Well at least we had plenty of spare roof tin lying around to patch my roof with when it was all over!! But quite an experience, especially the aftermath when you are on a small island that is totally devastated. It becomes basic survival living, with no power for months, uncertain fuel and food supplies, neighbors all chipping in and helping each other, lots and lots of hard work, and learning how to get by with very little. But this is all a part of living in paradise, and hopefully we will come back smarter and stronger in the end.

With our airport wiped out, I now had a slight issue with getting to my next event in Spain nine days later! Eventually I went by boat to Puerto Rico that had a functioning airport (at the time) and made it to Spain only one day late for training.

This was our final regatta of the 52 Super Series on Provezza and we were laying in 4th for the season, with a big gap in front of us to 3rd, but only a small gap behind with several teams chasing us. The regatta was in Mahon on the island of Menorca, which is my new favorite place in Europe, but the conditions this late in the year can be quite unstable. We had great winds for our training days, but very tricky and unstable conditions for most of the regatta, making the tactics very difficult. We sailed a pretty good regatta, had our fair share of bad luck, finished 6th, but took care of our #1 priority of beating our closest rivals in order to hang on to our 4th position for the season.   This is the best ever result for our team in the 52 Super Series, so we are pleased with the final outcome, and the upward trend in our performance.

So a very enjoyable and successful race season in 2017, and many exciting projects to look forward to in 2018.

September Update

Just back from the first ever J Class World Championships, in Newport, RI. Absolutely one of the most incredible experiences of my sailing career.   These are rebuilt originals or newly built replicas of the majestic 130ft J boats that were raced in the 1930’s Americas Cups.   There has been a revival of the class, with up to eight of these boats now being actively raced. The class rules allow you only to build to original hull design plans, but you can use all modern technology for rigs and sails. So we now have this beautiful blend of old world design, mixed with the latest modern technology, and being raced as hard as you possibly can by some of the sports best sailors. It is an experience like no other. Absolutely the most challenging/scary/pleasurable driving role I have ever had, and some of the closest racing ever. All in some of the most beautiful sailboats ever designed. Quite the combination.

I sail onboard TOPAZ with a crew of over 30. This is only our third event together, and we still have hundreds of small steps to get this complicated boat even close to it’s full potential.   LIONHEART from Holland has been racing for 5 years and have a very complete package of boat and team, and they sailed very well to win the event. We finished fourth, but managed to win 2 of the seven races, so we had our moments of joy.

Some of the photos from the event are truly incredible.   To read more about the event and see some great photos, visit the J Class website at

Up next for me is the final 52 Super Series event of the year onboard PROVEZZA in Mahon, Menorca, Spain in late September. We won our last event and so are hoping to continue the momentum and finish the year strong.

July Update

Traveling home now after finally, finally, wining a TP52 Super Series event in Porto Portals, Majorca, Spain. I say finally because we have been within reach on the final day in 4 of this year’s 5 events, but just couldn’t manage to close strong and win. But at this event we finally put it all together, and had the confidence and speed on the final day to get the job done.

I am particularly proud and happy with this win. First because it is the TP52 Super Series, which is the absolute highest level of big boat racing that exists today. Second, because of the great team that I achieved it with. PROVEZZA is a Turkish team crewed by a mix of amateur Turkish sailors and several pros like myself. To win against some of the all-pro teams that we were up against, brings back that special fight and reward of beating higher ranked teams, similar to what I tried to do from my little Virgin Islands nation. And finally, to win for Ergin Imre, the owner of our team, and one of the nicest gentlemen in the sport of sailing, proves that good guys really can win.


So headed back home now for two weeks and then it’s off to Newport, RI for the J Class Worlds on the mighty TOPAZ. A couple weeks later it will be the final race of the season on PROVEZZA in Menorca Spain. A busy time of year, but I love it; the challenge, the competition, the people, and the traveling to great places. Feeling most fortunate.

June Update

Currently flying back home from a long, three-regatta trip. First up was Bermuda in early June for two events, the Americas Cup Superyacht Regatta, and the Americas Cup J Class Regatta, both on the J boat TOPAZ. For those not familiar with the J Class, these are yachts from the 1930 Americas Cup era. They are being restored or built new to original 1930 designs in this incredible resurgence that is taking place in the class. It is akin to classic cars, being fitted with the latest in turbo charged engines (all carbon rigs and sails), and racing around a track in anger. For Bermuda we had 7 of these beauties racing, the most J Class yachts ever assembled in one place together. About 135 feet long and crewed by as many as 30, these are some of the most challenging yachts I have ever raced.

TOPAZ is J8, an unbuilt 1935 Frank C Paine A design. Frank Paine had previously designed the yacht “Yankee”, which was built by Lawleys in 1930. ‘J8’ has been researched by the Hoek office, and found to be a good all round performer. She is the longest waterline J Class designed, with the highest keel aspect ratio, combined with the lowest wetted surface area. Frank Paine had already calculated in the 1930s that it was better to take a penalty on an increased waterline length in a trade off against sail area and displacement.

We still have a lot to learn on J8, and many upgrades needed to be able to challenge the other J’s that are years ahead of us in this evolving class. But we showed signs of speed, and the crew did a great job keeping us in the hunt at both events, where I think we finished 5th.

Three hours after our final race ended in Bermuda I was on a charter flight to Sardinia, Italy where my next regatta was starting the following day!! My PROVEZZA team in the 52 Super Series had to do the training days without three of us who were in Bermuda racing J’s, but we made it in time, hopped on the boat, and started race 1 at 1300 hours that next day. We ran 3rd for most of the race, but ended up 4th in this opening race. We then fought over the remaining 4 days and 8 races against the other 10 teams in everything from light winds to 25 plus, and on short windward/leewards and long coastal courses, in one of my favorite places to race. It was a fantastic week, and all came down to the final leg, of the final race, to determine the winners. We rounded the last mark of that final race and headed for the finish in position to win the regatta. But in one of the cruelest outcomes I have felt in a while, the small shackle on the tack of our spinnaker failed, and in the minutes it took for us to recover, all of our opponents passed us. So from wining the regatta, we end up tied for 4th, and losing on the tie-break to finish 6th. Buggar!

But now that the tears have all dried, we will try to take confidence from this experience that we are capable of wining if we can piece it all together again.

I am now looking forward to a couple weeks at home to debrief, hit the reset button, and enjoy a little time off. Then I’m off to France to visit the Outremer yard and see my new Outremer 45 being built. This will be my European base in the coming years that I will live on between events and move between regattas. All work of course!! Following this visit to the yard I will fly directly to Palma Majorca Spain for the next 52 Super Series event where we currently sit in 4th for the season, and hungry to redeem ourselves from having that win stolen from us in Sardinia!