11 Jul Sean Makes The American magic sailing team
Last October, Oakcliff collaborated with New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, to host a week of training & tryouts with Oakcliff graduates. Sean O’Halloran stood out amongst the candidates. When they needed another set of hands to maintain The Mule, their 38-foot test platform, and to drive a chase boat, he headed south to join the team at their winter base in Pensacola, Florida.
The months that followed saw the most rigorous training schedules of his life, pulling double duty, working all day and training in the fringe hours. His days began at 5:15am for a 6 o’clock workout. After the gym, he would head to work for a 7:30am start and finish as the sun was setting or later. Even on the longer days he would always make time for a night session on the grinding machine. Countless hours were spent honing his technique to get every ounce of power out of each revolution of the handles. Finally, he’d end his days with a meal and go straight to bed to do it all over again.
“It was pretty hard at times to keep motivated, especially after a long day out on the water, but I had to remind myself that this could change the course of my life,” said Sean. “There are few things that have such a direct correlation between hard work and achieving the goal you’re striving for. Most jobs or promotions have other politics that come into play, but for me the equation was simple: put my head down, put in the work and I have a very real chance to make the team.”
When the team returned to their base in Portsmouth, Rhode Island for the summer, Sean had a final opportunity to demonstrate that he was up to the challenge. He gave it his all and a few days later, Skipper Terry Hutchinson and Coach James Lyne called him into the office. He’d hit the marks. He made the team.
Sean’s day-to-day work hasn’t changed much, yet. He is still driving a chase boat and doing maintenance on the deck hardware of the Mule; but there is one major difference: he now works out with the sailing team in the morning and afternoon. The days of waking up at 5:15am are over, but persevering through that difficult season paid off tremendously. Sean will begin sailing with the team on the full-size AC75 when it launches later this year and will continue his work maintaining the deck hardware.
“I guess it hasn’t really sunk in because I haven’t sailed on the boat yet,” Sean remarked, “but I’m just focusing on what I have been from the beginning: being the best asset to the team that I can be.”
He added, “Sailing is one of the things that I have become truly passionate about and I give everything I can to be the best I can be. I went to culinary school and had a career in the restaurant industry but sailing eventually won over my time and my passion. I took the risk to dive headlong into the sailing industry and Oakcliff gave me the skills I needed to succeed.”