With a forecast in the 20’s blowing against the Gulf Stream, on Tuesday the Kings Point-owned STP-65 Vanquish decided to do chores and prepare the boat for Wednesday’s Fort Lauderdale-Charleston Race. Mer and I were invited aboard the other 65, the all-conquering Rosebud, for some testing of their new A-7 kite – and of course we accepted.
Our practice aboard Vanquish the day before certainly taught us a lot about these fast, simple beasts, but the team’s crew work was about what you’d expect on the second day of sailing a new ride. Slow, deliberate, with some confusion here and there and a concentration on safety rather than efficiency. Rosebud had none of this, yet the attitude on board was mellow, fun, and full of jokes as the boat touched 22 knots in lumpy Gulf Stream waves. When no one’s worrying about whether things will get done properly, it leaves everyone to really enjoy themselves.
Attitude flows from the top, and owner Roger Sturgeon not only looks a bit like Jerry Garcia, but has the same peaceful mind as the hippie legend, and we couldn’t have felt more welcome during the short shakedown. It made us even more grateful when we learned that Sturgeon had donated a full suit of sails to the King’s Point 65 – probably six figures worth of go-fast plastic.
We finished our day with an hour long tour of the largest (LOA) private sailing yacht in the world – the Huisman-built Athena. An old friend is an officer aboard, and he showed us this stunningly complicated, computer controlled uber-toy, even giving us a ride to the 60-meter top of the mizzen to shoot some pics of Rosebud from the sky. A perfect end to a week of boat porn in the yacht capital of the America’s, and another fantastic day in Fort Lauderdale – truly the ultimate “toy store” for sailing vessels if there ever was one. But as always in Florida, three days is plenty, and now we’re ready to pile on the sail and head North.
We’ll be sending video reports as frequently as we can, with hopefully no more than 4 hours between reports, so you all can get a feel for what it’s like to sail a STP-65 on an ocean race. We’re also hoping to learn some more about the 19-22 year old midshipmen aboard, a great bunch of kids with the best damned field trips ever.
You can track our progress with the awesome IonEarth tracker – they are big SA fans, and have worked to create a sailing version of what they already do so well with the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and the Baja 1000. In any event, we hope you get to see Mer and I and the King’s Point bunch stay with Rosebud as we work our way to Charleston, just in time for next week’s epic Race Week. Tune in to the Lauderdale-Charleston thread for pics and video of the last couple of days as well as whatever we can get you from the wide Atlantic, and wish us luck!