Evo-Sport Invitational In Full Swing

This weekend marks the first time we will have all 10 Match 40’s on the water racing together. Ten teams are gathering from around the world to train on Thursday and Friday and then compete on the weekend.

To follow the racing, either come on down or join twitter or watch the twitter feed on the Oakcliff website http://www.oakcliffsailing.org.

If you are planning on racing the match racing for classic sailors on Sunday, don’t worry, the boats will be ready and rigged for you to just step on board.

Boat Work, Road Trips and exploring the English Way

Team members Jan, Matt, Dave, Benny, Nate, and Molly stayed in England and are heading down to the boat everyday to finish off projects before the Fastnet. This week our main goals are re -waterproofing the inspection ports and a couple other spots, prepping the cockpit to be re grip taped, fixing the tack lines and spin sheets. We haul the boat on Tuesday.

The container still hasn’t arrived, I am positive several of you are familiar with international shipping delays. Luckily we all packed a bag with some clothes into the Transatlantic Race container, so I am relieved to report that we are now wearing clean clothes. The race container didn’t arrive until last Thursday 21st and we sailed into Gosport Firday the 15th so for a while we were rocking the sailing gear we crossed the Atlantic in. We washed it, I promise.

The race container arrived in South Hampton, a small English town that launched the Mayflower and the Titanic. Sadly it was completely destroyed by World War 2 bombing so there wasn’t much to see, but it is now one of our favourite places in England since it was where we were reunited with clean clothes.

The team decided to go exploring and ended up at Stonehenge. After falling out of the mini van we rented, we wandered around the pile of rocks that has intrigued people for centuries. It was a sunny English day (only slightly overcast) and Stonehenge was truly inspiring. Our audio guides explained the folklore, astrological significance, and archaeological theories about the stones.

After Stonehenge the six of us piled back into the mini van piloted by Matt Noble, who has a new found sympathy for soccer moms, and drove to Salisbury for lunch. We found an old tavern where we drank Guinness, ate bangers and mash, and got 45 minutes worth of travel advice from a very friendly waitress. We were so full we could barely stand, but we forced ourselves to waddle around the corner and see the Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral has the tallest steeple in England, which housed the oldest clock in England and the Magna Carta.

The cathedral was massive and breathtaking, full of intricate stained glass windows, engraved stone floor, and beautiful statues. The guys charmed the 60 year old lady who gave us a brief introduction to the church and exclaimed “what a handsome bunch of fellows” when the group walked in.  The clock was a massive contraption that was roughly 4 meters wide and 20 feet tall (our measurements are slowly deteriorating the longer we stay over here… I am a little worried about measuring out all of the grip tape panels for the cockpit). It rang every hour. The guys spent several minutes huddled around it and to their credit figured out exactly how it worked. They were so enthralled they didn’t notice the other tourists creeping closer to listen to them discuss the mechanics of it.

As a history major I was astonished and excited to see the Magna Carta. It was perfectly preserved parchment full of the smallest writing I have ever seen, especially noteworthy since our guide explained that it was written with a swan quill.

The boat comes out tomorrow and we are hoping to going to go off exploring again. More stories to come soon.

To see more picures of our road trip check out the team Facebook Page, All American Offshore Team

Oakcliff Victorious in Halifax Race

When we last visited, the Ker 11.3 was on their way North and the 50 had just competed the Boston Harbor Wednesday Night Race. On Friday, both boats made it to Marblehead, arriving in such pea soup fog that they directed them to the harbormasters dock and we were able to stay shoreside until the start of the race on Sunday. Score!

Acorns Aidan and Randy, supporter Ann and I drove up on Friday with a car packed full of gear and food and the new emergency tiller for the 11.3. Aidan and Randy had made it themselves from start to finish. Everything from lay up and vacuum bagging to filling and sanding and painting. Everyone else arrived in various forms of transport and we were off the dock on a bright and sunny Sunday. The start had us all go around two marks before heading off to Halifax. It was basically a show for the thousands of spectators but we took it on and the 50 was the only boat to deploy the A3 genneker on the 1st 1.5 mile leg. Hello world Oakcliff is here!

We headed out from Marblehead with a double head rig, jib top and genoa-staysail. Soon we were able to deploy the spinnaker and sailed with the A3, A5 or Jib Top, 90% of the way hardly ever dropping below 10 knots and hitting top speeds of 17. Jeff MacFarlane and Mike Nicoletti double handing the 11.3 were close to the same speed in perfect performance conditions.

Coming into the finish in the middle of Tuesday night we were in pea soup fog with everyone on the rail listening for other ships as well as navigational aids. It was great to have the AIS (automatic identification system) on board both boats as we could see the ships positions and their speed and direction and visa versa. We still used all of the ‘old fashioned precautions’ as well, as in running lights, radar reflector and fog horn tooted regularly and LOUDLY from the rail. The Ker 50 finished at 3:38am on Tuesday morning and the 11.3 a few hours later. This race was the fastest in history with 3 boats breaking the previous record.

When the sun came up and the fog cleared we realized that we were in a beautiful place. I described the place (land and people and restaurants) as cozy like a big welcoming warm hug. We also discovered that there is a fair amount of entertainment in the down town. The very friendly customs agents told us where to go.

Out on the town we ran into a boat that we had beaten in IRC 1. They bought Suzy, Ann and myself a drink and grumbled about being beaten by an ‘all girls team’. Ann informed them that we were actually a coed team to which they responded. “OH thank God!” I said – Really!? and then added – You know what, you weren’t beaten by an all girls team, you were beaten by a team of women and children. For some reason they stopped buying me drinks.

A big congratulations to everyone who raced and raced hard:

Oakcliff Ker 50 – 3rd in Class and 11th Overall in IRC:
Watch Captains Mark DiSanti and Mike Komar who was on his second overnight race. Navigator and acorn, Jacon Mayer who was not only navigating for his first time, it was also his first overnight race. He did an excellent job. Also from Oakcliff, Aidan Vascatto, Randy Neureuter, acorn graduate Colling Leon, supporters, Bob Zazzera, Sue DiSanti, Ann Schwagerl, Dr. Rob Gorski, Dan Nudelman and new recruits, Dan the perma-trimmer Warnekros, Match Racer Bobby Martin, Nick Osvlads and ESPN reporter and America’s Cup veteran Suzy Leech.

The Ker 11.3 – 1st in Double Handed Class and 11th Overall in PHRF:
(including all fully crewed boats!) Jeff MacFarlane and Mike Nicoletti

Transatlantic Finish And A Huge Thank You To Everyone…..

At 03:25 UTC  the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team crossed the finish line off Lizard Point, and in doing so concluded a Transatlantic Race that was 6 months in the making. It is an achievement that could not have been reached without your enthusiastic support. The sixteen of us onboard the Vanquish have been given an incredibly opportunity, an opportunity none of us will forget, and for that we are incredibly grateful. We’re currently on our way to the port of Gosport, 160 miles from the finish line, and we wanted to take some time to thank everyone who helped us along the way and made all of this possible.

Our race was a tough one. We were up against some of the best sailors and technology in the world, a North Atlantic weather pattern that offered no more than 25 knots of wind and some difficult obstacles that simply proved unavoidable. We left Newport behind us as we chased the fleet east, pushing all the way. At the race’s halfway point we stood in 3rd place, behind Puma Ocean Racing’s brand new Volvo 70, and the record-setting Rambler 100, but it was not to last. A ridge of high pressure stood between us and England, and as hard as we tried, we could not evade it. We sat motionless for several days and watched those in front of the ridge sail to the finish, and those behind it sail back to us. The ridge finally moved east and our race resumed, but it was too late. Our final finishing position is 6th place out of 26, a result of which we are very proud. More important than the standings however, we finished this race as a team, and we got to do it our way: the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team way.

Next up we have the Fastnet Race, another test of this team’s endurance and abilities. We are all looking forward to some time off, but equally as much to reconvening back here in England in less than a month’s time for our next adventure together…..