John Goes Sailboat Racing and Learns Stuff

Yesterday [written in August] I crewed on a 55-foot Swan. Glen, the skipper, is a supremely experienced racer with two world championships in Solings on the resumé. His daughter and son, both with extensive racing experience, were along, too.

The race was about as casual as it gets, with a bunch of family and friends along for a day (plus one old fart), and was a lot more about companionship on the water than winning, but we did set the asymmetric spinnaker—a huge sail on this boat with an 80-foot mast— twice and gybe it once, and without help from a sock or top-down furler.

All went smoothly with absolutely zero drama, albeit in fairly light air, and I learned a bunch of stuff:

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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