1999 – 2000
“It’s appropriate that the Vendee happens in Olympic years, because this race is truly the Olympic marathon of singlehanded sailing,” said Schwab, who will sail the Open 60 yacht “Made in America,” designed by Tom Wylie and built by Steve Rander of Schooner Creek Boatworks of Portland, Oregon.
This race deserves its status as the most difficult global single-handed race in sailing. Skippers will face at least three months of isolation and constant wakefulness in dangerous weather on high seas, including passages around the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) and around Cape Horn (South America). Surprisingly, the Vendee has never before had an official American finisher.
“Imagine the Olympics without the U.S.A.,” said Schwab. “The objective for our team is to make this entry a testament to American sailing and engineering.”
The Made in America Foundation team is made up of sailing industry professionals. Schwab, who grew up living on a sailboat in Puget Sound, is a professional rigger. He has been head of the Rigging Department at Svendsens Boat Works in Alameda for the last 17 years. Team designer Tom Wylie created the winning boat for the Mini-Transatlantic race (like the Vendee dominated by European racers) in 1979 for American Norton Smith, the only non-French boat to win that event in the last 11 years. Wylie has since collaborated with Portland boatbuilder Steve Rander on the creation of several successful sailboats, including “Rage”, an ultra-light superfast cruiser that twice broke the San Francisco-to-Hawaii Pacific Cup speed record.
“What we are making here is an extremely fast, yet practical boat,” says designer Wylie. “This is not a wild, rule-twisted design. The Made in America will feature an easily driven low-drag hull, equally ideal for shorthanded racing or ocean cruising for the average sailor.”” Press Release – September 24, 1999