At this start of the New Year it’s always good to look back at the past year, and ahead at the next, to make sure I stop and appreciate this great sailing journey that I am on.
My 2015 started with racing a TP52 in Cape Town South Africa, which is a great place to sail, and an even greater place to visit. I followed this up with the Caribbean racing season and three regattas on the Carkeek 40 SPOOKIE, and three events on the Briand 130 Superyacht P2. Some great racing, good results, and even better people that I did it all with.
My next big event was the Around Block Island Race on the new 100’ COMANACHE. This is the newest, biggest, hottest, and most breakthrough boat launched in the past few years. Sailing her was like getting a ride on the space shuttle. Truly a special occasion. We ended up wining the race and setting a new course record. What a blast, and thanks to Kenny Read for the invite!
Following this was the Transpac on the Santa Cruz 70 HOLUA, a 2000-mile race from Los Angeles to Hawaii. For a short course specialist like me, this is like a sprinter doing a marathon. I did my first Transpac 4 years before, so I was looking forward to this one and being more comfortable with the all the nuances of distance racing. It proved to be one of the most incredible sailing experiences in my life, blasting along in the pitch dark, like skiing down hill blindfolded and having to rely on all your senses to survive. Dolphins, whales, squalls, endless surfing, no shower for 10 days, freeze dried food, and sailing into Hawaii at sunrise. Epic.
Next up on my world tour were two events in the TP52 Superseries in Spain and Portugal on the new SPOOKIE 52. This series is the highest level of professional racing in our sport, and was an incredible challenge for our team. We got spanked in the first event as the rookies, but did a great job of learning and came back to win a couple races in the second event.
Immediately following this was the 50th Anniversary E Scow Blue Chip in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. An invitation only gathering of all the past and present legends in our sport. Three days of racing and spending time with some of the greatest sailors, and people, on the planet, in the heartland of America, was really special. Finishing second to Bora Gulari was a bonus. And spending time with my old friend Buddy Melges was an added bonus.
And my final event of the year was the opportunity to match race again in small boats, right here in my home waters of St. Thomas. Match racing remains my favorite form of sailing, where all the fundamental skills of sailing come into play, in a format that brings sailing to the public.
Now looking ahead at 2016, it is shaping up to be another exciting year with a couple new events and new boats. I’ll start with a couple races on the TP52 SPOOKIE in the US, and then do the Caribbean 600 on the RP 82 HIGHLAND FLING. This race of 600 miles around 11 different islands is becoming one of the biggest events of the year and should be a blast. Following this will be several other Caribbean events jumping between Spookie and Fling, some racing on the East Coast, a race to Bermuda, and then a new Swan 115 for a few events in Europe.
Thanks to all the great teams, owners, and crew that I am so lucky to do all this great sailing with. And a special thanks to my sponsors and partners – Horizon Yacht Charters, Kaenon Sunglasses, and Seahorse Magazine.
Wishing you a healthy, happy, and fast 2016,