OD Gets Hands On a Volvo Boat

OD at the HelmA few weeks ago my boss, Dawn Riley, called me when I was in Newport telling me I’m flying to Sweden to deliver Alvimedica to Spain. For me it was slightly stressful as the guys and I have been going at it full tilt getting the Ker 50 Temptation/Oakcliff, regatta ready. After a few all-nighters I was lucky to have my teammates take over so I could indulge in this awesome opportunity.

My mind was racing. First, I never thought I would be able to sail on one of the new Volvo 65’s. Second, I’m not the biggest fan of deliveries (as a few of you might know). Luckily this delivery was only as long as a trans-Atlantic. About 2,400 miles.

After a night of laundry and packing I jumped the bus to Boston and a plane to Gothenburg.  Nick Dana, the boat captain, was on site making final preparations so we could  leave for Alicante.

Alvimedica DocksideWith a new three blade Gori prop and a Volvo Penta D2-75 (the same as my boat Temptation/Oakcliff) and about 500 liters of fuel, the “Volvo Penta Blue Ocean Cup Delivery Challenge” began.

Quick overview: The crew was made up of friends and mostly Volvo race competitors and shore crew. We were to leave Gothenburg, head North around the tip of Denmark, continue south toward the English Channel, make an emergency fuel pit stop in El Caruna for another 500 liters of fuel (YES we needed it) and continue south toward Gibraltar. Finally, entering the Med we had some Champagne Sailing.

After leaving the dock I couldn’t help but think this boat reminded me of a Class 40. The intricacies and overall set up was fairly similar, except way overbuilt.  The boats were designed by Farr yacht design, cut and built by Green Marine, Persico, Multiplast, and Decision.

Unlike the Volvo 70’s these Farr boats are quite overbuilt and don’t have to be babied,  are constantly pushed to breaking points; a pure work-horse. The crew said they had no idea what the boat limits were, so they kept pushing seeing if they could find a breaking point…. They found it during the around Britain race.IMG_5471

Back to the epic delivery. Leaving Sweden and heading to Biscay the breeze did something very curious to us. It stayed directly on the nose at 25+kts. For at least the first six days. When we would be rounding a country…. The breeze would do the same, never leaving about 20 degrees off the bow.

This wood chopping is nothing new to the Volvo boats, the flat bottom allows no forgiveness for comfort. When off watch I discovered I needed to line the wall, and ceiling of my windward bunk as my body was finding all the hard spots on the boat.

Other than trying to sleep off watch I was selected to be the maker of the food. Nick spent the last Volvo as an OBR, which includes an intricate knowledge of freeze dried, and I really tried to do a shitty job well but I could never compete with his meal making ability. I guess practice makes perfect.

We had three separate watches, and each watch captain spent a considerable amount of time in the nav station for good reason. We were battling a very persistent and oddly consistent headwind, 0%moon, tidal fluctuations, and a language barrier with thousands of ships we tried to avoid.

IMG_5521After five or so days of what sounded like a boat bow chopping wood we needed to refuel. We didn’t want to be caught in the Med with low fuel or especially in a TSS with low fuel.  El Caruna was the spot and it took less than an hour.

After El Caruna we continued going upwind. The tacking angles of this boat is fairly wide, not as wide as a class 40 but wide enough to keep a special place in our hearts for our beloved displacement boats. On day seven through eight we had a nice westerly allowing us to reach down the coast of Portugal. How refreshing it is to get to sail!! There were a lot of potholes and some drivers let the boat slam. Regardless, we were all very happy to get a sail in.


Getting through Gibralter was seamless. Starting to head north felt nice after our tacking battle.

Some things I learned:

Some things I learned:

Race boats are not all the same; yet sometimes have similar problems:

– These Farr boats and how they are taken care of is nothing but beyond top professional. But like any boat, you can point to a little thing and ask what’s it’s for and the response is usually a quality control or that’s for safety. Not one corner was cut or corner overlooked. Literally.

Give it ten minutes and we’ll see what the breeze does:

-Never again will I say this. Change your sail promptly and efficiently. There wasn’t one watch day and night we didn’t consider/perform a peel. And bare headed? Glad the Volvo guys think like I do.

Stack. Never ever ever complain, just stack and trim. Just keep stacking. It takes the guys 3:20 to fully stack the boat:

It was very nice sailing that boat. Within the first two days I was able to drive Alvimedica for more hours than I’ve  sailed Temptation in the past four years. The crew on the boat were so so welcoming and everyone bought into the same plan.



Sail Ahead Provides Local Veterans Sailing Experience

024Sail Ahead just completed our first sailing outing with the Northport VA Medical Center.

After a few months of prep work, some convincing, planning, a few scheduling setbacks due to weather, everything fell into place on July 22.

With perfect weather and the strong support of Oakcliff Sailing , OBMC, the Waterfront Center, the Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244, and Northport VA, Sail Ahead is proud to say that everybody had a great time. For some veterans this was actually their very first time sailing.  We feel fortunate to have been the ones making this experience possible.

Below are some quotes from our guests:

“Really had a great day … helping veterans feel wonderful… unbelievable beginning for Sail Ahead… Looking forward to next sail… thank you all.”

“I had an unbelievably great time – I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for such a great day!! Thank you thank you thank you very much!! With much appreciation!!”

“I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciated all you did for all us vets today. My first time on a sailboat could not have been better. I cannot even begin to express my appreciation. You were all so kind and patient.”

The outing took place the morning of July 22 with the breeze at about 15knots, temperature in the mid-80s and barely any clouds. We started out in the bay under the protection of the shore, allowing our guests to get acquainted with the four boats and the RIB and giving them time to get acclimated to being on the water. Later in the day, we moved onto open waters (Long Island Sound), which provided an even greater appreciation of what sailing is all about.

The joy of giving is in so many ways as great as the joy of receiving! This has been proven yet again during this outing!

Our next challenge at Sail Ahead is to launch an even larger operation on August 22 with the added participation of the Northport Yacht Club and possibly the USMMA in which we will be launching fleets from Oyster Bay, Northport and Kings Point!

Please help spread the word by liking our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/SailAhead

We can use help – contact us at info@sailahead.com

Oakcliff throws down the gauntlet for next year as they win the Oakcliff Challenge


The Challenge culminated in a grade 5 match race in light winds.  Coach  Dave Perry worked with the teams on Friday on boat handling and boat speed. Saturday saw one of the first fleet race days in match 40s which were sailed under Appendix Q and umpired fleet racing. Dave not only umpired but he coached between races and videoed for a video debrief after racing.
“Learned a lot!! Very much enjoyed the social side also – Dave Perry was the icing on the cake” Said Jim Dyer from team Hudson River Sailing.

With many of the teams staying in the bunkhouse there was a strong camaraderie as they all learned and competed against each other. On the water it was all  racing but back at shore it was all coaching and fun. Chrisy Smitheron from the Long Beach Yacht Club Women’s team said “Dave Perry was epic and the overall Oakcliff experience was super sweet. Thanks for a great 3 days of learning and sailing.”

The Oakcliff team won both the fleet racing day and went undefeated in the match racing as team captain Ladi Oguntoyinbo put together a super strong team. Chris Kennedy, Sapling graduate and three year employee drove the fleet race day. Colin Kennedy fresh off two weeks of match race Clinegattas and on his way to the Rose Cup, the Youth Match Race Championship, and third year Sapling drove the match races. Austin Colpaert, second year Sapling was the bowman extraordinaire. Then at the last minute Chris Poole the second ranked US Match Racer joined the team when his plans changed.

As a coaching and training center we had new people join PRO TJ Shea on the signal boat and Chief Umpire Bill Simon on the umpire team. Almost all of the sailors and race officials are shown in this picture with a big smile as the last day draws to a close with an awards ceremony.


The Oakcliff Challenge – It’s ON!

11377205_856860627694924_6276995187793431926_nJune 13, 2015 – Seven teams from as far away as British Columbia and Long Beach California have arrived in Oyster Bay, New York. Board member and coach Dave Perry started with a video coaching session introducing the teams to Match 40s. It was then out on the water for drills and another video debrief, this time use the video he took of the actual teams performing on the water. Day one didn’t end there, following a quick dinner Dave went into overtime with a match racing 101 session for those that are new to it.

Today will be fleet racing for the Match 40s. With five to six, 45 minute races scheduled, there will be a full day of racing. As a bit of a cross over to Match Racing, Appendix Q for umpired fleet racing will be in place. Dave Perry will be one of the umpires and will coach teams between races and at the end of the day. Other umpires include Timmy Larr and Bill Simon .There will be a famous Oakcliff BBQ featuring fresh clams from Oyster Bay.

Sunday will see an increase in intensity as the teams have experience in the boats and everyone moves into match racing. A round robin is scheduled with a full team of umpires. Program Director Bill Simon explains, “at Oakcliff we are a firm believer in the Clinegatta format where there is a clinic before a regatta. We see huge performance improvements in teams at all levels. “ He adds “It will be interesting to see which of the teams improves the most over the event and which takes away the prizes. Improving their skill and returning to their host club better racers may be reward enough. “

Teams competing this year are:

Long Beach YC Women’s Team

Oakcliff Sailing

Webb Sailing

McGill Sailing

Hudson River Sailing

Team Shibezey

Heinzemann Team

Better Chips Add Flavor to 4 Ring Circus at Oakcliff

College High Performance Clinic

The Better Chip Match Race is underway with a light northerly. Each boat in this Grade 3 match race is carrying a junior sailor onboard as an observer letting the young sailors gain invaluable insight into the strategy of world-class match racers. Of note Team US-One with Taylor Canfield is racing onboard with David Storrs.

The observers are not the only young people on site this weekend. Twenty-four of the top collegiate racers are participating in a joint Oakcliff / US Sailing College High Performance Clinic. These sailors chosen in a very competitive application process are getting to sail three Olympic Classes the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17s.   Technical Director Grant ‘Fuzz’ Spanake, USCG Brian Swingly, Head Coach Leandro Spina are amongst the coaches.

The HP College Clinic is also teaching some basic but handy skills such as rigging, sail-making and outboard engine troubleshooting.

Further afield Temptation Oakcliff the Ker 50 and Oakcliff Racing the Class 40 are competing in the Annapolis to Newport Race expected to finish on Monday.   The Class 40 was the first in their class to exit the Chesapeake.   Between these two boats there are 6 Saplings and 6 graduates competing. Temptation Sponsor, Art Santry is hoping for his ‘dream race’ which in this particular boat includes as much upwind work as possible.   The rest of the fleet may not be as happy with the heavy head-winds forecasted.

Finally the Spring Classic Series will wrap up today with the Rhodes designed Caper in the lead the race is for second place with 5 boats in contention including Mystic Seaport’s flagship schooner Brilliant.

All will come together this evening with a joint celebration and prize giving. Better Chips will of course be a part of the menu.   Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley admits to doing quite a bit of taste testing and has decided the Spinach and Kale is her favorite flavor. She added “We are happy to have The Better Chip supporting Oakcliff. Their products are non GMO, Organic and Gluten-Free, about as green and healthy as a snack food can get.”


Sunsail Series to be Sailed at Oakcliff


Wednesday sailing at Oakcliff will now be known as the Sunsail Series. Beginning May 6 every Oakcliff Supporter who races at least 5 Wednesdays will receive a 5% discount on a Sunsail charter over the winter. If they form and sail as a team 5 times they receive an additional 5% when they charter as a group. Oakcliff is also a US Sailing Team Sperry Training Center and if supporters are members of US Sailing they can pile up an additional 5% discount.

Brittany Weatherby, Marketing Manager for Sunsail says “We are looking forward to working together with Oakcliff to grow their already successful summer racing program. It is great to see so many adults working to improve their skills in this strong program. Seeing their hard work paying off while sailing through the Caribbean will be a great pleasure. This partnership embodies what Sunsail believes in for the future of sailing: people living their dreams and embracing new adventures at any age.”

The Sunsail series is sailed in Oakcliff’s Match 40s and Shields and run by Sagamore Yacht Club. Oakcliff provides real-time coaching during the fleet racing with prebriefs and debriefs at their America’s Cup style campus in Oyster Bay New York. Supporter can race their own boat in this fleet and qualify as well.   More information and registration is available at http://www.oakcliffsailing.org/calendar

“Racing, learning and cruising are not mutually exclusive and we are excited that Sunsail is supporting our efforts to continue to strengthen American Sailing,” explained Oakcliff’s Executive Director Dawn Riley.   She added, “what a bonus that while staff is servicing our 83 boats each winter our supporters can still be sailing… in the warmth!”

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For 40 years Sunsail has led the way in sailing adventures. From the first pioneering flotillas in Greece to today’s choice of the best and most exotic yachting destinations; beginners can now enjoy the world’s best cruising grounds by hiring a skipper from any Sunsail base. Sunsail strives to provide our customers with the most exciting experience at the greatest possible value. Sunsail brands include Sailing Vacations by Independent Charter and Flotillas, Sailing Schools, Events and Yacht Ownership. Sunsail operates in 26 exotic and diverse destinations throughout the globe on a fleet of over 800 yachts and catamarans.

Dave Perry Wins Ultra-Competitive Qualifier


April 14, 2015, Dave Perry with a team comprised of local sailor Jon Singsen, New York Times Correspondent Chris Museler, and Californians Doug McLean and Steve Natvig went undefeated in the first qualifier of the year: A difficult feat given the level of competition in this qualifier with half of the top 10 in the country competing.

In addition, several of the teams had top 25 skippers sailing as part of the crew this week and Peter Wickwire was previously ranked 30th in the world, before taking a short hiatus to be with his young family. Team Perry earned a spot at the U.S. Match Racing Championships that will be held at Oakcliff October 10-12, 2015.

Saturday saw heavy air racing with steady winds in the low twenties and gusts into the high twenties in the middle of the day requiring the RC to fly the no spinnaker flag for 5 flights. Sunday was the antithesis with light fluky winds. PRO Todd Field and a very talented team was able to get as much sailing as possible out of the conditions to complete the format.

OA Bill Simon, Dave Perry, Steve Natvig, Jon Singsen, Doug McLean, Chris Museler and PRO Todd Field

OA Bill Simon, Dave Perry, Steve Natvig, Jon Singsen, Doug McLean, Chris Museler and PRO Todd Field

Second place went to Canadian sailor Peter Wickwire sailing with regular crew Hamish and Ali Mathews, Jim Barnash and the oldest foredeck crew of the regatta Terry Shannon. Other than their losses to Dave Perry’s team their only other loss was to Doug Shannon.

The winner of the petit finals was David Storrs sailing with USone (2013 World Match Racing Champions) team members Rod Dawson tactician, Hayden Goodrick, Mal Parker and Ricky McGarvie.

New this year, the qualifier system has removed the geographical areas so any match racer can request an invitation to any of the 6 qualifiers still to be held at St. Francis YC (May 23-24) and (Sept. 5-6), CMRC (May 30-31), San Diego YC ( June 13-14), Annapolis YC (June 20-21) and Bayview YC (June 27-28). Female skippers can qualify for the USWMRC at most of these qualifiers. Details can be found at http://www.ussailing.org/racing/championships/adult/matchracing/.

Final Results
1. Dave Perry
2. Peter Wickwire
3. David Storrs
4. Chris Poole
5. David Niemann
6. Peter Holz
7. Doug Shannon
8. Steven Lopez

Oakcliff Leading a Trend in Marblehead to Halifax Race

great pic! Farr 40 hikingLiz spoke with Fletcher Boland of the Marblehead to Halifax Race (MHOR) about Oakcliff’s entry in the race and the trend towards a dominant youth presence in the event. The result: a great write-up for Oakcliff. We are thrilled to be playing our part in the push of strong, young, talented teams in events such as this. The momentum continues to grow, folks! Read the full article here.

Breaking News: Ice to Melt – Regatta Registrations Open

Oakcliff International

Racing at Oakcliff  begins exactly one month from today with a qualifier for both the US Women’s and US Open Match Racing Championships on  April 10. This regatta already has 5 of the top 20 match racers in the United States entered.  Oakcliff’s 12 Match 4os will also be used at the Open Championship which will be at Oakcliff October 10 – 12.

“I am excited we have removed the geographical limitations for the qualifier. Now any sailor in the country can apply to any of the eight qualifiers”, explained Bill Simon, Race Program Director and US Match Race Championship committee member. “Even with the busiest of schedules everyone should find a qualifier they can attend. I expect the changes we are making to strengthen the Championships”

Registration is open for the entire 2015 season including 21 match race regattas, equating to 38% of all match racing in the United States. Each event has a clinic attached.

Additionally, supporters can sign up to train and compete in 11 inshore regattas and 9 offshore providing just over 2000 miles of intense offshore sailing.   Once again the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Nationals will be at Oakcliff August 27-30. The full calendar is available at http://www.oakcliffsailing.org/calendar

New this year and combining multiple disciplines is the Oakcliff Challenge. This event is open to any community sailing organization or yacht club that wants to field a team to sail on the 12 Match 40s. Day one will see a clinic hosted by Dave Perry. Day two will be fleet racing and will serve to seed the teams into the final day’s match racing. There will be prizes for both genres of racing as well as an overall prize. All teams will be invited to stay together in the Oakcliff Bunkhouse ensuring three full days of learning, competing and fraternizing.

While visiting competitors and supporters are at Oakcliff for set periods of time, the signature training program participants dubbed Acorns and Saplings train 7 days a week for a minimum of 2 weeks in very diverse racing disciplines. The full time Sapling program is at capacity but the shorter and more focused Acorn programs still have room.

Pineapple Cup Log – “Stardate” 2015

Liz compiled a great blog along the course of the Pineapple Cup. Read on for a “flying fish” look at what life was like offshore en route to Jamaica.

flying fishPineapple Cup Log – Oakcliff Racing/Bodacious Dream
Class 40 – Double-handed 
Co-Skippers Elizabeth Shaw & Jeff MacFarlane
Latitude 27: start off Fort Lauderdale at latitude 27 on port tack. Heavy air, heavy seas in Gulf Stream. Course due east. Our first victim, little Sammy Sledgehammer, the tiniest flying fish the crew has ever seen. The first of many, I’m sure.
Latitude 26: course more southerly than easterly one, yet still on port tack. Colder than you would think and very, very wet. 
Latitude 25: Still on the port tack. Still wet and cold. When do we see the pineapples?
Latitude 24: Passing through Bahamas cold, in heavy seas and on port tack. Yes, that was port. And did I mention that EVERYTHING is wet, everything.
Latitude 23: Full southerly course now… Still on port.
Latitude 22: Long Island, an island that is long. Just one of the many thoughts that I’ve had as we pass it on a port tack.
Latitude 21: Course more southerwesterly as we beat along on A PORT TACK (!) toward Cuba. Is this real life?
Latitude 20: Nighttime encounter with the Cuban military. They had two boats floating close to our inshore course; better not get too close or they’ll shoot. Good thing I speak Spanish and good thing I’m Canadian, I’ll waive my passport! As day breaks, the sunlight reveals two small buildings on the coastline. Crisis averted, no need to pull out the passport. Situation with Cuban military fabricated by a mind that knows only the port tack.
Latitude 19: Best. Day. Ever. Starboard tack! Oh, but so short-lived. Back onto port. In other news I saw a shark, long and skinny. Approximately 7 feet long. Have no idea what type. He was Cuban. Oh wait: squalls, squalls and more squalls the whole way down the rhumb line. Little nasty breezeless rain squalls and big dirty 40 knot rain cutting your skin can’t see squalls. Oh and on the port tack. 
Latitude 18: As we approach the finish line, my co-skipper and I reminisce about what a race it has been. Mostly upwind on the port tack, and much of it beating into heavy seas. We plan to find the nice gentleman who exclaimed at the Competitors Meeting in Fort Lauderdale “…a guaranteed sleigh-ride once your round Cuba!” and have a chat with him about his so-called guarantees.


You’ll notice that we sailed through 10 latitudes on courses due east, due south and then west and did so almost exclusively on one tack upwind. How is this possible, you say? My only response is: it happened.
Thanks to the amazing Race Committee and Dockmaster for their help under very difficult conditions by getting us into the dock without damage (other than an injured left wing on this  little sailor) after us loosing our engine on the way in from the finish line. Absolutely pro job by the MBYC bunch, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
Also, I’m not sure a beer has ever tasted so good as that Red Stripe that was handed to me on the dock by a small crowd offering one of the warmest welcomes we’ve ever had anywhere.


zebra chairFun Facts About Our Race; it’s all in the numbers:
– 24: the number of freeze dried meals carried aboard for the race
– 4: the number of freeze dried meals consumed during the race (most popular flavor was the “breakfast skillet” which had eggs, potato, peppers and sausage
– 35: the number of minutes it took me to comb the tangles out of my long hair (only offshore sailors with long hair will appreciate this, it was BAD)
– 120: the number of seconds it took us to consume our first Red Stripe after making the dock
– #1 spot to sleep, the long bean bag purchased the morning of the race. #2 spot to sleep, the zebra print bean bag chair from the nav station.