Oyster Bay, NY (May 24, 2011) – The All-American Offshore Team is pleased to announce they will join Oakcliff Sailing. This merger recognizes considerable overlap in training missions, and the benefits to be gained with shared infrastructure, fund raising, operations and management. Oakcliff Sailing provides a stable training platform for American offshore sailing and campaign continuity for the future of All-American Offshore Teams.
The sailing center will benefit future teams who will receive comprehensive and year-round training in Oakcliff’s America’s-Cup-style compound. Oakcliff already draws top internationally ranked sailors to match race competitions in the protected waters of Oyster Bay, and the gathering of vintage racing yachts as the Spring and Fall Classic Series grows with each season. Exposure to this best-of-breed proving ground will produce new generations of champions, top sportsmen and women with a keen sense of stewardship for the sport.
“There is tremendous need for this type of training. We were impressed with the motivation and energy of the team and it was obvious that there was a great match with Oakcliff,” said David Halliwill, Oakcliff Chairman. “The team has found its proper home at Oakcliff, with the expectation that they will continue to be an asset to America both on the water and off.”
The Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team is supported by the USMMA Sailing Foundation, Oakcliff Sailing Incorporated, Storm Trysail Club, and the young American sailors who are motivated to train and reach their highest potential at home and across oceans. Tax-deductible donations can be made to either USMMA Sailing Foundation Inc. or Oakcliff Sailing Incorporated.
Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley adds, “The cooperation between USMMA Sailing Foundation, Storm Trysail Club, and Oakcliff is a great example of how we can all work together to pull the sport of sailing forward in the US and beyond.”
2011 CHALLENGE AND MISSION
The Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team (Oakcliff AAOT) is setting a course for a new generation of sailors to move into open ocean racing. Leading by example, the Oakcliff AAOT hopes to jumpstart a movement to foster youth opportunities in offshore racing. The 2011 team will be racing on USMMA Sailing Foundation’s IRC 65 Vanquish to compete in four key events this year: the Storm Trysail Club’s 66th Around Block Island Race; the Annapolis to Newport Race; the Transatlantic Race (Newport, R. I. to The Lizard, England) and the Rolex Fastnet Race. Oakcliff AAOT is committed to providing “high-performance offshore training opportunities for an up and coming generation of American ocean racing leaders” and went through a detailed selection process before making final team selections for 2011.
The most important part of the Oakcliff AAOT is the sailors. Onboard Vanquish the 2011 Oakcliff AAOT sailors represent nine different states with an average age of 23. The age range for Oakcliff AAOT was modeled on the age cutoff for the Volvo Ocean Race with nine sailors between the ages of 18 and 30 selected from a pool of applicants to join the Oakcliff AAOT management team. The management team’s core of Charlie Enright (Bristol, R.I.), Chris Branning (Pace, Fla.), Jesse Fielding (Wickford, R.I.), Mark Towill (Kaneohe, Hawaii) met when they were a team members of Roy Disney’s ground breaking Morning Light Project and with the addition of Matt Noble (Richmond, Calif.) as boat captain, the team has thousands of ocean racing miles, rigging, boat building and onshore management experience.
“In just four weeks we received over 250 applications,” said Towill, general manager for Oakcliff AAOT. “What it really came down to was offshore sailing experience and the diversity of additional qualifications. Our schedule doesn’t allow for much training and it’s vital that we put our best foot forward.”
Oakcliff AAOT team members are bringing more than just sailing expertise to the table: Colin Orsini (Seattle, Washington) is a personal trainer, former firefighter, and is well-experienced in the boat building arena; Pat Showell (Sweetwater, N.J.) is a licensed captain, certified EMT, and an engineer; while Branning is currently in training to become a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot.
“Each and every team member was selected for a reason,” said Enright, sailing team manager for Oakcliff AAOT. “We are very proud of the team we’ve assembled and feel like we have a great chance to succeed on the offshore racing circuit this summer.” Charlie Enright, a four-time Intercollegiate Sailing Association All-American at Brown University, is the sailing team manager and among the leaders of the new Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team who report to Dawn Riley, Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing.
“We want it to be clear that all 250 who applied are considered to be a part of the All-American Offshore Team movement,” said Fielding, operations and communications manager for Oakcliff AAOT. “They should be in close contact with Oakcliff about new opportunities.”
Though the team has been selected for the summer of 2011, Oakcliff AAOT hopes to increase its future sailing schedule so that they can include other applicants down the road. Also on the boards for the Oakcliff offshore opportunities are the Vineyard Race and Around Long Island Race utilizing Oakcliff’s IRC Kerr 50 and IRC Kerr 11.3. The J/120 is on a sponsored charter in San Francisco Bay this season, where it has undergone a major reconditioning in preparation for the Rolex BBS. In addition to IRC and one design racing these boats will also provide opportunities to season young athletes in offshore racing.
The creation of the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team is a huge step forward in giving young U.S. sailors the chance to find out if it is the career for them. It is important to note that there are a range of skills that are essential to all offshore sailors, including intensive physical and mental preparation, good teambuilding skills, safety at sea knowledge, understanding the technical side of the boat one is sailing, and of course, sailing and navigational expertise.
The racing begins this Friday when the full team will depart the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and compete in the Storm Trysail Club’s Around Block Island Race. They will join Oakcliff’s Ker 50 and 11.3 on the race course. In early June, the 2011 Oakcliff AAOT will relocate to Annapolis, Maryland, for the start of the Annapolis to Newport Race, followed by an offshore training session, which will be held as the final preparation for the 2,975 nautical mile Transatlantic Race from Newport, R.I., to the Lizard, U.K. The team will remain in the U.K. to prepare for the Rolex Fastnet Race which starts in Cowes in August.