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Posts Tagged ‘mudratz’

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We don’t know yet whether Mudratz grommet Peter Cronin has what it takes to be an all-star professional racing crew, but we’re quite sure he’s already got what it takes to be the youngest On-Board Reporter in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race when the next race starts in 3 years.  We’ve been following Peter for a while now – Clean actually spoke to him last year for the SA Podcast during the Mudratz’ youth Melges 24 campaign – and he just continues to impress everyone with his energy and ability to share his experiences with the wider community.  Huge thanks to our Boatyard pals Bicey, Rodrigo, and Amalia for taking time out of their busy schedules to help fire up the next generation, and for understanding just how important that is.  Got teens? Share this with them.

You don’t have to be an old man to look back and reflect on your life, and I guess I’m lucky to have some wild examples of how seemingly unrelated experiences, chance encounters and everyday life events can come together over time, leading to opportunities one could never had imagined or even dreamt of. I am 17, and in 2 short years I have been fortunate to live a dream.

In March of 2017, after my grandfather’s passing, I learned I would be traveling with my grandmother to Portugal to spend a few days in the countryside and Lisbon. I would then travel to the UK for a few days, and end the trip by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary 2. It was to be a memorial trip, a trip that they had been planning for years; a trip he sadly would never take.

There are aspects of this vacation that any traveler would fall in love with: The blue water of Cascais, Portugal; the vineyards that seem to go on forever in the rolling hills to the North; the walled city of Obidos; or perhaps the area of Nazare, home of the biggest wave ever surfed. Yet when I was told we would be spending 4 days in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, only one thing came to my mind. Not the awesome restaurants, the 12th century buildings or the 21st century shops — but the fact that it was the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) Headquarters. I knew that I had to break away from my family and somehow make my way into the Volvo HQ, even if just to look through the locked fences.

Two days before I left for Lisbon, my skipper Zach and I sailed our third Secor Volvo Fishers Island Sound race. We were sailing to defend our last two victories, but on the last race of the last day, we lost our grip on the lead we’d held throughout the regatta. I was commiserating with one of our biggest supporters – Sailing Anarchy’s Alan Block – and talking about writing an article on the race, and I wasn’t quite sure what he planned when he asked me what my schedule was in Lisbon, and if I thought I could escape the family for a day.

A day and a few texts later and I had an invitation from VOR communications boss Rodrigo Rico to come and check out The Boatyard!

It seems like ages ago when, as a 15 year old during the 2015 stopover I fell completely in love with the Volvo Ocean Race. As a young sailor, as part of our sailing club the MudRatz, I had been lucky enough to get a tour of parts of the VOR race village, meet members of the crew from Team Alvimedica and sail on an M32 catamaran. I was able to manage 3 visits to the village during that stopover, and my love of the race has only grown in the years since. The idea of getting a personal tour of the race HQ was a dream come true. Actually, it was beyond any of the dreams I had!

The days leading up to my visit to the boatyard were spent touring Portugal, but my mind stayed focused on one thing: The Boatyard. When I met Rodrigo and began learning about the Boatyard operations, my idea of “one design” was completely redrawn. While I understand the importance of the boats being identical, when Rodrigo explained the processes by which a hull was refitted and put back together, it blew my mind. He explained that for all eight boats, the same person would do the same job for each boat to ensure that there were no discrepancies between them.

For the past year, the VOR boatyard has been busy refitting the boats for the upcoming start. Rodrigo walked me through the stations of the boatyard where specific steps for each boat were completed. He explained to me that there were three steps that were completed indoors before the boat was ready to be set on its keel. Upon arriving in Lisbon, the boat was sent to stage one where the entire hull was taken apart and every single piece of equipment was logged. From gears in the winch pedestals, to bolts in the engine, every single part of the boat was recorded to perfect duplication between the boats. Furthermore, every inch of the hull and all the parts of the boat were examined with ultrasound to make sure there were no structural weaknesses.

After completing the first stage, the hulls were put back together and sent to stage two. First the hulls (including the centerboards) were sanded and washed, with the same pair of men that have sanded every other boat in the Volvo fleet working together, plank sanding the entire hull. By using the same people for the same job there is no doubt each boat is 100% identical and no one boat is faster than the other. After the boards were completed and the hull smoothed, the boats moved onto the third and final stage that was completed indoors.

Here, in stage three, the cosmetics of each ship were born. Rodrigo walked me into what looked like a run of the mill storage container but, upon opening the doors, I was amazed to see a fully automated paint mixing machine and the shelves fully stocked with paint. Because carbon fiber can be damaged when exposed to prolonged periods of UV, no carbon can be left uncovered. By having a fully automated paint mixing station, they can customize paint colors in quantities as small as a pint – this allows for minimal waste and exact duplication of colors. After the paint is mixed, the same team that has painted all the boats before, gets to work in covering each square inch of exposed carbon on the deck. After a strict inspection of the boat is completed, the boat moves out of the protection of buildings into the light of day, where fitting of its keel, mast, and communications tower began.

Because all of the boats had already been through these stages, there was no action in those areas of the boatyard, but the Sail Loft sure was busy. The first thing that caught my eyes were a stack of battens – in my experience, a little fiberglass stick perfect for giving splinters or dropping overboard before a regatta. I laid my hands on a batten that was easily 10 feet long and made purely of carbon fiber. As if that wasn’t enough to get my mind spinning, laid out in front of me was the largest sail I had ever seen. The square top alone may have been longer than an entire 420, and the main is nearly 100 feet tall! Covered in baby powder to protect it from moisture, the sail of team Turn the Tide on Plastic was getting its custom designed paint job. I knew that these sails needed to be made rugged, as they were about to go some 35+ thousand miles around the earth and experience unimaginable loads, yet the sheer strength and ruggedness I could feel in the sails was more like some kind of steel than any fabric I knew. I wish I could have seen an A3… Of course, that wasn’t nearly as mind blowing as getting to meet Dee Caffari, skipper of Team Turn the Tide on Plastic, when she came in to inspect progress on her sails.

As if the day couldn’t have gotten any better, Rodrigo took me somewhere I had only ever dreamt of being. Though four of the eight boats were scattered around the world, the other four were staying in Lisbon. Two were out practicing, team Turn the Tide on Plastic sat in the dock, and the last boat to reveal its team was on dry land towering nearly 20 feet in the air as it sat on its bunkers, awaiting its wrap. Rodrigo took me out of the sail loft and we began making a beeline towards the hull.

It isn’t too often that I find myself at a loss for words, but this surely was one of those times. I had just stepped on board a Volvo 65S, one of the boats that will be sailing in 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. As Rodrigo took me through the vessel, I felt like a kid in a candy store. From the hydraulic rams which control the canting keel, to the joystick for the remote controlled on-deck cameras, to the massive steering wheel, I just couldn’t take it all in at once. As we continued to go through the boat, I learned about the intricacies of systems I only had vague knowledge of: the desalinators, camera controllers, hydraulic systems and state of the art electronics. I got to feel firsthand how cramped everything is below decks, and I can only imagine how tough the conditions really can be, underway in the most challenging ocean race conditions…though that still doesn’t stop me from dreaming that one day I’ll be racing on a Volvo Ocean Race boat!

The next time I come in contact with the Volvo boats will be in the spring of 2018 in Newport, and it can’t come soon enough. I’m excited to watch the race and I know I will see it from a different perspective based on everything I learned at the Volvo Boatyard. Perhaps in 15 years MY name will be on the roster for the Volvo race.

-Peter Cronin, Mudratz.

August 7th, 2017 by admin

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If you’re a parent, a grandparent, or a junior sailor, the Secor Volvo Fishers Island Sound Race has got to make you smile.  100 kids from all over the Northeast, racing their 420s on oddball point-to-point courses and having the time of their lives.  Past winner of the event Peter Cronin (with crew Zach Champney) is leading after 3 legs, and he’s also going for the On-Board Reporter award (more on that later) with some excellent storytelling in this short clip of the pre-race buildup.

Thanks to the Mudratz and friends, this race has a bigger digital footprint than most adult regattas, which might just be one of the reasons it’s been so successful.  Here are some features to pay attention to:
-Kids all sleeping in the school gym
-Live streaming each leg of the race on their Facebook page at 0900 ET today.
-Over 50 teams registered from 15 yacht clubs, including around 30% all-female teams.
-On board photographer on the water posting images to Facebook and Instagram
-Look for #FISVolvo
-Daily press releases
-OBR video competition with some great prizes.  Stay tuned for the good stuff after 7/21.
Huge thanks to media pro and Starboat sailor Laura Beigel for helping the kids tell the story.

 

July 14th, 2017 by admin

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Screenshot 2017-05-12 21.20.04Too many kids stoked to race sportboats, but not enough boats!  That’s what the Mystic River Mudratz are facing with their successful youth Melges 24 program, and that’s why they need your help.  If you have an older Melges 24 and you’re looking to sell (or you will benefit from a nice tax write-off) and you want to support a great program that’ll keep kids in sailing forever, get in touch with the Ratz.

 

 

May 12th, 2017 by admin

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Clean Report

For episode # 20, we caught up with three guys who represent some of the brave new thinking in the sport of sailing.  Longtime SA’er Chris Woolsey runs the reborn Miami Havana Race for a reborn SORC, and we get into the whys and hows of recreating this complicated international race to one of the world’s most unique race destinations.  After that, we catch up with Tim Fitzgerald, founder of Charleston’s Fort2Battery Race, to talk about his motivations for creating the successful harbor sprint.  We also get into Tim’s experience as one of the drivers behind Selden Masts growing dinghy business, discuss the first new hardware change in the 420 in years, and learn what Tim’s learned about getting millennials and Gen Z excited about sailing.  Finally, we turn to one of those Z’ers, young Peter Cronin of the Mudratz.  This clever kid discusses the team’s experience sailing amongst the big dogs in the Melges 24 and J/70 Class and the philosophy behind their growing Mudratz youth sailing movement in the Northeast.

Our next Sailing Anarchy Podcast will come to you from Havana Cuba, and you won’t want to miss that one!  Don’t forget to subscribe to the SA Podcast for instant notifications when each one drops.  (iTunes   Stitcher)

 

March 14th, 2017 by admin

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Everyone who reads these pages knows the program trying to raise the bar on keeping teens interested in sailing, and we promote everything we can about those Mudratz.  Monday you’ll get to hear a full interview with one of those plucky teens, but for now, check out this Mudratz-produced promo for their signature race – the Volvo Secor Fisher Island Race.  And if you have kids in the right age range and within a few hours, do them a favor and get them entered.

 

March 3rd, 2017 by admin

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From 13 to 18 years old, this Mudratz Racing-produced crew is the youngest-ever Melges 24 Worlds team.  They’re also fun, smart, and great at telling their story, and we enjoyed chatting with them on the eve of the final day of the biggest sailing event of their young lives.  Enjoy this uplifting 20 minute Skype chat with the future of the sport of sailing, with lessons for anyone who cares where we go over the next 50 years in sailing.

 

December 3rd, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-15-21-pmWe are massive fans of the Mudratz, and of their unintentional discovery of just how to fix that problem we’ve all been asking about for more than a decade: “How do we turn junior sailors into lifelong sailors?”

If you haven’t followed the kids from Mystic (and beyond), take this opportunity to peruse their recent history here.  They’ve got a team of kids racing at the Melges 24 Worlds in Miami, and to celebrate, they’re auctioning off Charlie Enright’s genuine, brand new, autographed Musto/Team Alvimedica HPX Smock from the last Volvo Ocean Race.  It’s live on eBay with the auction set to end this evening – 100% goes to the team’s 501(c)(3) charity fund, and we encourage you to get over there and bid it up right now.  Hell, at the current bid of $435, it’s cheaper than retail.  Let’s raise some money!

Your auction price will be a tax-deductible contribution, and it comes at the perfect time for your 2016 tax year.  Get over there now.

 

December 1st, 2016 by admin

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Perhaps no sailing team in the world is inspiring more young racers than the Mystic River Mudratz.  Full of Anarchists and driven by some very clever industry-insider parents, the New England-based youth sailing initiative continues to give anyone who sees them hope for the future.  But now, their hope for competing at the Melges 24 Worlds may be in jeopardy, and if there was ever a cause that deserved your help, this is it.  Here’s a note from one of those co-founding parents:

“You will never forget the day you break your first rig” were the words of encouragement from world-renowned pro sailor and Race Officer Anderson Reggio.  Unfortunately for our team of youth sailors… it happened on the very last day of practice!  After a full season that started back in May, the kids were finally getting the art of blow-through-jibes while ‘sending it’ off of waves in 18-22 knots last Saturday.  We had a foiling UFO and Waszp in town for demos that morning, and the kids were inspired to just go faster and faster…  the day could not have been going any better, until…BANG!

With the Melges 24 Worlds under 30 days away, our boat probably cannot be fixed in that time.  These kids have scratched and clawed their way to respectability with over 20 days of racing and 40 days of practices.  As guest coach Charlie Enright shared with them one night this past July “The hardest thing about big events – is getting to the starting line”.

We have fundraised relentlessly to cover travel costs and even lined up a final tune-up in Miami with former Rolex Sailor of the Year Stephanie Roble.  These kids have worked so hard and are dying to become bright future members of our adult sailing community.   Does anyone have a Melges 24 they would consider chartering to us?

The Mudratz are celebrating our three year anniversary while all this is going on.  If you are interested to see what this team is about check out the video here.  If you don’t have a spare Melges 24 lying around, PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING OUR TEAM TO HELP US GET BACK ON THE LINE!

October 30th, 2016 by admin

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ratz24With so many thousands of proud sailing parents realizing that ‘the way we do it’ isn’t creating lifelong sailors, we’re not quite sure why there aren’t dozens more programs like the Mudratz.  The New England youth-only team has been inspired by the chance to compete at the 2016 Melges 24 World Championship with an all-teen crew, and they’ve taken the first big step with the procurement of a Melges 24 donated by an unnamed area sailor.  

Starting this May look for the MudRatz “Sportboat Saturday” practices, followed by the team joining The Donzo Wednesday Night Series Melges 24 fleet with the Mystic River Mudheads. This all leads up to our first year goal of sending a youth team to the 2016 Melges 24 worlds in Miami this November…where we are already registered for what should be one of the most exciting events on anyone’s 2016 calendar!

Mudratz proud papa and co-founder said grass roots programs like the Mudratz are one of the keys to the long term health of yacht racing. “Bridging the gap between junior and adult sailing is one of the most challenging aspects of our sport today.   Enthusiastic kids often find themselves as young adults who drop out of sailing due to limited time and large financial constraints.  Having a boat like a Melges 24 will allow our youths to see first-hand what the next level of racing is all about.  This awesome platform will open up some huge doors for them into a world they might not have known even existed!”

If you or your kid might be interested in sailing with the Mudratz, or you want to contribute to our volunteer organization or make a tax deductible donation, please go to Mudratz.org today!

 

January 14th, 2016 by admin

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The next generation of sailing studs is clearly taken with Charlie and Team Alvimedica, even if they can’t say the name.  This is too damned cute, and thanks to Brandon for the heads up about our favorite Ratz of all.  And while we hate to give love to another idiotic use of the ‘Everest of Sailing’ tautology, it’s good to see the young American getting some solid ink from the WSJ.

 

October 6th, 2014 by admin

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