Since her launching in April, and christening by Ellen McArthur, Ocean Planet has been quietly testing and accumulating data, while I have been making the long worksheets to reach race readiness. For the next two months, she will be staying at the dock and the boatyard while our volunteer team and I tackle the dozens of refinements and touches that need to be done.
So far this year, Ocean Planet has competed in five local ocean races, for testing and to be seen by our local sailing friends. Of the five, she has been first to finish in four races (an Americas cup boat finished first in a very light air race). She has won three races in a row on corrected time despite an enormous PHRF rating handicap. She was so fast in the three races she won, that her handicap was adjusted for an even bigger penalty. We accept the new rating with pride, as a badge of honor!
I greatly enjoyed my first singlehanded voyage on her, taking a short 300 mile trip off the coast in August. I would take off sailing singlehanded on Ocean Planet right now, but while sailing would be fun, the responsible things to focus on are the jobs that need to be done and our fundraising efforts. Also coming up are more classroom seminars with our younger Ocean Planet inhabitants. It is really enjoyable talking to the kids and taking them out sailing, they are a big part of what the Made in America Foundation is all about. By the way, you can sponsor a young sailor to join the Ocean Planet team for one of our 2002 events!
This year is just the beginning for Ocean Planet. Big tasks lay ahead right now, getting ready for 2002. With the support of volunteer team members, we will do absolutely as much as possible even though we lack funds. Ocean Planet is chomping at the bit to win races, but she needs to have the right outfit and the TLC that big boats like her need. We have an aggressive schedule proposed, in order to get PR exposure and prepare for the 2002 Around Alone race.
Take a look at our schedule below. If you are interested in sailing on Ocean Planet on one of these trips let me know. We hope you will consider supporting the Made in America Foundation.
Rest of 2001: Work on Ocean Planet!
Feb 2002: Delivery to San Diego for the San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race.
Feb 23-28: San Diego-PV. Early March: PV to Panama.
Late March: Panama to Antigua.
April 28-May 4: Antigua race week.
Early May: Antigua-Charleston-Newport, RI.
June 15(?): Newport-Bermuda (maybe…if there is interest)
July-early August: My singlehanded qualifying sail for the 2002 Around Alone, transatlantic to Les Sables d’Olonne, France, and return. Les Sables (pronounced “Lay-Sob”) is where the next Vendee Globe race starts in 2004. I made some good friends there while visiting at the start of the last Vendee Globe, and Ocean Planet would like to meet them too.
September 2002: The start of the Around Alone 2002, the world’s longest singlehanded race, from Newport, RI. Competing in the Around Alone is a crucial step in preparing for the next Vendee Globe in 2004.
It is my pleasure to hear from any of you, so don”t hesitate to contact me