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Posts Tagged ‘Argo’

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Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 11.15.04 AM2-time Melges 32 World Champ Jason Carroll doesn’t do things by halves, and he poured a small fortune in upgrades into the well-worn Gunboat 62 Elvis over the winter in preparation for an active 2016.  Ryan Breymaier took the Navigator’s award last week guiding the big cat from Lauderdale to Key West.  Here’s RMB’s first (of many) high-speed reports from 2016:

The forecast was for northerly 15 knots at the start and easterly at the finish, which would have meant short-gybing all the way from Lauderdale in order to avoid the worst of the Gulf Stream current; not the forecast we were looking for, considering that Elvis has been modified with 4 meters more rig, a longer boom and a longer bowsprit in order to power the boat up and fix persistent lee helm.

The end result of the mods is that the boat has 50% more mainsail and 55% more downwind sail, with a roller-furled, tight-luff gennaker replacing a spinnaker in a sock. We were afraid that we would not have quite enough power in the VMG conditions with a tight-luff sail and would have bad gybing angles resulting in about a thousand gybes down the course.

The boat also has bigger winches to deal with the sailplan, a real traveller and hydraulic mainsheet (instead of a bridle mainsheet to the transom corners), and the secret weapon; tillers which allow steering from outside instead of the wheel inside just aft of the mast – which is ideal for communications and comfort, but not at all for feel.

Start day dawned exactly as predicted with a nice northerly. We happily got our favored pin end and headed offshore on port with the big A3 pulling nicely.  We even lifted a hull as we crossed the line! Regardless of the adverse stream, there was more wind offshore and we wanted to avoid the wind shadow that is often found near the Miami skyline.  This was an immediate split from our main competition, the newly launched Arethusa, 60 feet of Nigel Irens-designed Gunboat. They outweigh Elvis by around 8000 pounds, but have a big mast and the soft luffed full-size kite which we feared would be our undoing.

As Arethusa (and most of the fleet) headed inshore, we made a couple of short gybes and stayed in the pressure offshore, especially in light of the approaching transition zone which we could see in the cloudline ahead.  Sure enough, we ran into the clouds and were rewarded with an earlier than expected easterly shift and pressure.  We started to soak, but not too much in order to keep the speed advantage given by luffing slightly with our tight luffed sail.  Elvis loves this; we were sailing between 2 and 5 knots faster than the breeze at 130 TWA.

After a little while the northerly tried to reassert itself so we went back inshore to consolidate and cemented about a 4 mile lead.

We had been watching the radar further down the course, where there was plenty of squall and rain activity.  This is classic KW race behavior, with the northerly on the north side of the keys fighting against the easterly breeze offshore.  As the squall line  showed itself to be just South of the lower keys, tactician Anthony Kotoun and I agreed to gybe back inshore in order to get into it as late as possible.

We were rewarded with a huge northerly shift as we got to the beach with the TWD going from 75 to 350 in the space of about 5 minutes.  We were on starboard so we just bore away and found ourselves headed SW in the perfect direction down the rhumb line, but directly into the squalls.

As we came into the first rain the breeze came up quickly and we eased sheets to stay on course and peeled to our Screecher/FRO, and one of those spectacular runs you hope for came together; 30 knots of boatspeed at the peak, with about an hour around 25.  Awesome crew work from the Elvis crew through 3 headsail changes and reef in and out allowed us to stay at full speed, putting a further 8 miles on our competition.  That’s when we decided to do some monohull hunting, looking for Wizard and Spookie, who had started half an hour ahead of us.

As we finished the last 25 miles of the race we realized that Wizard had the VMG edge on us (to be expected as they are 70 feet or so and very well-sailed) and that we were just slightly faster than Spookie who we passed in the channel heading up to Key Weird.

Unfortunately for the more awake amongst the crew, we arrived a couple hours after last call and so had to content ourselves with a big lunch and even bigger evening the next day.

I am definitely looking forward to getting to the Heineken regatta where there promises to be a big Gunboat fleet to line up against, as well as the awesome dock parties which I am confident we can also win, especially given all the training the boat’s built-in rum pump has given us all!  The Elvis team are a great crew; sailing regularly with the same core team shows in the quality of teamwork on the water. It’s also been a lot of fun for me to reunite with some guys I haven’t sailed with since college 13 years ago – a great way to start the 2016 racing year.

Ryan out.

January 18th, 2016 by admin

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GC32 Key West Race Week

Photojourno Jen Edney got her flight wings today on a trip out to the course for Quantum Key West Race Week, and got this beautifully playful shot of the Team Argo boys, who lead Flavio Marazzi by just a point after two races.  GC32s are doing a little reporting over here.

January 20th, 2015 by admin

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twin peaks

As the days grow short, foiling Great Cup 32 sailors grow impatient, and last weekend, both the Hungarian team and the shiny new American team took advantage of autumn breeze to go record-hunting…

On Friday, Hungarian team RSM DTM (owned by Zsolt Kalocsai) smashed the ‘cross Lake Balaton’ record – also known as the Hungarian Sea – previously held by the Pauger P50 double masted cat.  The GC32 took less than two hours to complete the 49 NM course, and their time of 1h57m shaves almost a half hour, or more than 25% of the time off the long-standing record. Sure it was cold, but nothing warms like victory…and rum.   5000 miles away, the first-ever US-based GC32 Argo also had a strong first weekend despite landing a week earlier in Newport straight from the builder in Dubai.  As a Moth racer, two-boat Melges 32 campaigner, past M32 World Champ, and high-performance monohull guy, new owner Jason Caroll finally came over to the dark side with the GC32, and he didn’t waste any time.  Their first assault was the Around Jamestown Island Record and not because the season victor takes home his weight in rum.  Well, not entirely.  Thanks to its location just a few miles from the yachting wonders of Newport this record gets constantly attacked by some of the world’s best sailors, so it makes sense that it was a major goal for the Newport-based Argo team.  And attack they did: On just their third day sailing the boat, Argo notched the first sub-1 hour time ever recorded for the busy record.

IMG_2148With 16-22 knots from the West, Argo hit a top speed of over 37 knots enroute to a new record of 58 minutes and change for the AJIR, and here is the report from Argo program manager Chad Corning.

All it took was a two-day test session in La Baule, France last month for Jason to press ‘GO’ on a GC 32 of his own.  These boats are truly next-level stuff, with balanced power, adjustability and top end speeds that defy belief.  Our immediate goal would be the around Jamestown Island record which had been set in perfect conditions earlier this year by the Marstrom 32 Bronco.  

Once all the bits had arrived in Newport from around the globe, we had just four days to build the boat with Jim, Mischa, Macca and Mikey all working huge days to get it done.  We made it into the water Friday, and had a three day window to work to take a crack at the record.  

Conditions were fairly benign as we worked the boat up, but we still topped 30 knots of boat speed.  We took a stab at a lap of the island, but inconsistent pressure and a sub-optimal direction left us with a 1:20 time – 17 minutes short of glory.  Saturday was another great day with a near-vertical learning curve going and another bump in top speed to 33 knots.  Our attempt time came out about the same as Friday, as conditions remained just too light to get it done.  

Everyone was licking their chops though as we looked at the forecast for Sunday.  Fresh westerlies were on tap which would make for reaching on both long legs of the course – perfect.     IMG_2163Sunday dawned with more wind than forecast but from the right direction.  GAME ON!

A quick test run prior to starting proved that the boat was a absolute beast in the breeze-on conditions.  The first leg out to Beavertail was slightly cracked from upwind on starboard and we skimmed or foiled at 16-18 knots.  A quick tack and we were off on a broad reach down the back side of the island, a condition that the GC 32 likes, to say the least.  Our hair was fully on fire on this leg, though we had to take a two minute pit stop at the north tip of the island to repair the rudder down line which had broken.  After nailing a jibe it was all on to the finish.   The moment of the day came when we rode a big lifting puff to 37 knots of boatspeed.  With board-flat water, the boat just wanted to go, and we all foresaw a 40-knot ride.  But the puff faded, and as we neared the Newport Bridge, the boat dug its nose in heavily.  With the port foil hitting a lobster pot, the horizontal element of the foil quickly became vertical at 30+ knots and the bottom half cleanly sheared away.  With the record in hand, we low-rode into the finish eventually stopping the clock at 58 minutes and 31 seconds, the first sub 1-hour lap of the island.   On board for the record – Jason Carroll, Mischa Heemskerk, Cameron Appleton, Mike Kuschner, Michael Barnes and Chad Corning while Andrew Macpherson from GC and our boat captain Jim “Grande” Condon manned the chase boat.  Team Argo has a lot to learn in this new world, but our first taste was extremely satisfying.    

The Argo GC32 heads south for the winter and will be joined by more GC32′s from Europe for some winter foiling – we’ll have some more news on that program soon.  Short vid of the Opti fleet flyby here, and a bit of post-crash non-foiling here.

October 28th, 2014 by admin

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Jason Carroll’s 5-year journey to win the Melges 32 World Championship is over, and a huge congratulations to the party-loving anarchists aboard the good ship Argo on a brilliant performance in the world’s toughest owner/driver fleet.  We’ll have a more detailed report from one of the war horses aboard later this week, but one thing is for certain in the M32 Class – if you want to win a Worlds, you start with Morgan Reeser as your coach.  Joy Dunigan photo with a bit of freaky editing by Clean to make it a little more like the movie poster the shot brings to mind.  More shots here, and check out more great work from Argo mastman Petey Crawford starting tomorrow as live video producer (and shooter/editor/a dozen other jobs) at the Little Cup.

UPDATE:  Coach Reeser lays out his ‘roadmap to success’ and a word or two about the Argo program, from somewhere over the Atlantic in a very large non-commercial jet.  Rough life, Morg!

The Argo Worlds was a pleasure to be involved with as they deserved a World Championship in ’11 and ’12!  I’m so thrilled that they go it this time.  They are a great team that needed to realize how good they were and what was required win a Worlds.


1) Average first mark rounding (top 30%)

2) Always passing boats after mark 1.

3) Save your drop race for the final fleet race

Team Argo had more fun than anyone else at the event (ie. they did not change what they normally did just because it was the Worlds!)

A great team, a great class, and a great boat to sail with so many other fantastic owners and their teams. 

I can’t wait till Miami 2014!




September 22nd, 2013 by admin

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The beautiful people (including former SCOTW Molly Baxter) pose for a drunken, blurry trophy pic after taking the overall Lauderdale to Key West Race victory aboard the Gunboat 62 Elvis - even with a rating some complain is a gift.  If the rest of the crew look familiar it’s because they’ve been frequent visitors to the front page as part of Jason Caroll’s Melges 32 Argo.  Argo never races Key West Race Week, though Caroll and crew say they love the 160 NM feeder race, and will do it again.  Bella Mente was first over the line, and first corrected monohull - results are here.

In the ‘other’ Key West event, numbers are down yet again in almost every class for yet another year, especially among the bigger boats; the handicap fleet loses another ten boats this year, with just 31 handicap racers in total – and that includes the TP52s, IRC, PHRF – everything.  Yet thanks to our friends at the green donut and the nutters at J/Boats who somehow managed to get 39 J/70s registered and delivered in just a few months, Quantum Key West continues to tick along on life support.  On a positive note, the HPR fleet is a nice new addition to the Grand Prix circuit (is there a Grand Prix circuit anymore?) and the Melges 24 is enjoying something of a rebound, while the Swan 42s have shown they are indeed physically capable of leaving the Northeast. Light air is forecast for the beginning of the week, and organizers claim to be doing some kind of live coverage…hey, how innovative!  Umm…maybe not.

Best place for daily results is here.  Best place to jaw about it; here.


January 21st, 2013 by admin

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