to the max

local knowledge

to the max

Every fall on the Chesapeake Bay there is a race held exclusively for schooner rigged boats. I’ll get to that in bit, first some background. A few years ago I met this guy named Brian Duff who was into traditionally rigged boats and also into racing. He and I hit it off early on, as we are both extremely passionate about sailing in every sense of the word. We both grew up sailing boats of all sorts; primarily cruising but some racing. If given a choice between breathing and sailing we would both suffocate. We both have sons who are 7 years old and are equally passionate about sailing (through heavy brainwashing). Both of us own cruising boats, but also race one design dinghies and will sail pretty much anything anytime anywhere. A few years ago we worked together running a rigging company in Annapolis and were fortunate to get rigging work on a number of traditionally rigged schooners.

Over the past few years we have sailed together on several of these boats. We have a lso raced several of these boats in the annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner race and have managed to place in the money each time. Last year we sailed on Brian’s father’s boat, the 60’ steel schooner One World. We brought both of our boys on that trip and despite 35kts of breeze and cold rain in late October they had a blast. My son, Max, missed two days of first grade for the event and had to give a presentation to his class detailing his adventure. After the race last year Brian and his son Rayne sailed One World out of the Chesapeake(with additional crew) and 1,500 miles to Tortola where Brian is now a broker with BVI Yacht Sales and lives aboard his Westsail 32 ‘Happy Times’.

As fall approached this year Brian and I were both lamenting on the lack of a schooner for this year’s race. We approached Annapolis Admiralty Attorney Todd Lochner of Boatinglaw.com and convinced him to loan us his beautiful 26’ schooner rigged Tancook Whaler ‘Tom Swift’ to participate in the r ace. We submitted our entry and with the help of the local maritime community of Annapolis are prepping the boat for October 14th start. ‘Tom Swift’ will be the smallest schooner ever registered for the event and Brian and I plan to do the race with just our two sons for crew. The two boys have not seen each other since last year’s schooner race where they said goodbyes so this year will be a big reunion for the two. Max has learned to single hand an Opti this summer, as has Rayne. Rayne has also had the adventure of a lifetime logging a few thousand offshore miles and living a pirate’s life in Tortola.

Max logged his first offshore miles this summer too, delivering our new cruising boat down to Annapolis from Newport. Brian and I were both lucky to have fathers in our lives who were passionate about sailing and got us both hooked at a very young age and now Brian and I are creating the opportunities to do the same with our boys.

Sailing has always been a huge part of our lives and we are taking our sons on this adventure in hopes that it will be a big part of their lives. We do have a number of logistical hurdles to overcome to make this race a reality so if you are interested in helping out or simply following along join us here.