2002 – 2003

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Ocean Planet in the Around Alone – Update
Sunday, May 4, 2003 1200gmt


Original story: In the middle of a cold, dark night is no way to end a circumnavigation, but it’s precisely the way Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet arrived in Newport to take fourth place in the Around Alone. The northerly wind was bitter cold and without a moon the night was as dark as I can remember, but despite the conditions the atmosphere was warm as the Californian skipper closed the loop on his first circumnavigation. It had been a fantastic leg for Schwab, marred only by the losing his podium position to Thierry Dubois in the last 24 hours. Unfortunately once the weather got nasty Solidaires proved to be a better heavy weather boat and had a better wind angle allowing Dubois to slip into the lead. Still, Bruce should be happy with his performance. He proved to himself, as well as those following the race, that his narrow Tom Wiley designed boat had the necessary legs to compete against the more conventional Open 60s.

This was Bruce’s first solo circumnavigation and for a skipper who has long dreamed of a single-handed passage around the world it was the culmination of a huge team effort. Once Schwab decided to enter the race and build a boat it has been non-stop fundraising and sailing, but all that hardship fades into a distant memory replaced by the excitement and satisfaction of completing the voyage. It had not been easy trip around the planet. After a great first few days to the circumnavigation the boom on Ocean Planet broke mid-way across the Atlantic. Schwab was able to muster the funds to buy a new boom for Leg 2, but was forced to start a day behind the rest of the fleet. On Leg 4 he broke the new boom forcing a stop in the Falkland Islands. Some of the mechanics on Ocean Planet are less than conventional and Bruce was still dealing with teething problems right up until Cape Horn. He now has a long list of improvements he can make to the boat should he find funding for the Vendee, and we look forward to seeing how well the boat can perform once it’s finally finished. “Ocean Planet is a work in progress,” Bruce is fond of saying.

Congratulations Bruce. You have impressed us with your tenacity and determination. Your boat looked spectacular as it sliced through the water tonight looking no worse for wear after its long passage around the world.
— Brian Hancock great.circle@verizon.net


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