For the Children
The first running of the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston Race in three decades was a rare treat for Mer and me. It was her first ocean race of any kind, and to sail a rekindled race with a storied history under the auspices of the newly reborn SORC gives a nice flavor to any trip. It was the first time either of us sailed on one of the new breed of offshore beasts typified by ultra flat bottoms, monstrous rigs, incredible righting moment and obscene widths. It was also our first attempt at On-The-Water Anarchy in open water – and while we have a long way to go and some technical issues to overcome (again!), we learned enough to know that we can fairly easily bring some of the world’s great races right to your computer screen. And we don’t need VOR budgets to do it.
We raced on the Kings Point US Merchant Marine Academy’s new STP-65 ‘Vanquish’, the famously underperforming Reichel-Pugh racer formerly called ‘Moneypenny’ by owner Jim Swartz and donated to the USMMA over the winter for their midshipment sailing program. Swartz had a bad experience with the project, but the boat that he conceived is a work of art, gorgeously turned out with a level of class and sexiness that must be seen to be believed – the metallic green clear coated topsides themselves are just the tip of the iceberg. Swartz may not have had the success he wanted against the top performing Rosebud/Team DYT, but the smiles on the faces of the midshipmen as they picked up their third place trophy in Charleston (finishing only 40 minutes behind Rosebud despite this being only their third day sailing the boat) showed that Swartz has already achieved a different kind of success, and a much more enduring one.