Press Release – June 8, 2000
Europe 1 New Man Star update from Plymouth, England
It was a great scene at Plymouth, England for the start of the “Europe 1 New Man Star”. This singlehanded Transatlantic event is the granddaddy of singlehanded ocean races. First raced over a bet between Sir Francis Chichester and Blondie Hasler in 1960, the initial race had 5 starters. Surprisingly, that first race is the only one where all the starters completed the race! Now the event is a colorful combination of the full-on sponsored programs along with a big corinthian fleet.
I attended a few meetings, including the first skippers meeting for the Vendee (all in French), the IMOCA class meeting (French too), and a reception for next years Atlantic Challenge. Thank goodness the Atlantic Challenge is run by Chay Blyth’s Challenge Business, since they speak english. I guess one good thing about missing this years Vendee is that I have more time to learn French.
It was nice to meet Bruce Burgess and his team. Bruce2 is hoping do this years Vendee, and was in a mad rush to prepare for the E1star as a qualifier. In a fervent display of patriotism, Adrien & I pitched in for a couple of days to help him make the start. B2 has had a real challenge to prepare an older boat in a short time. I wish him luck. Our Program approach is different than his, in that we have a firm belief and committment to our Open 60 boat that is under construction. I really only want to compete on this level with my weapon of choice: the “Made in America”.
PRB is the newest Open 60 and has some very interesting ideas, including transom rudders similar to what we have designed for the “Wocket”. However, our system (designed by Larry Tuttle of Santa Cruz) should be considerably less bulky.
Stayed tuned for more news on the Made in America Team progress!
Bruce Schwab Skipper
Made in America
PS: A bit of sad news: Almost immediately after I ran into Bruce Burgess in Plymouth, we were both stunned to learn of the death of our mutual friend Alan Thoma. Alan was a fantastic sailor, distinguished Matson Ship Captain, and above all just about the friendliest person I have ever met. His wife Marie is a very special person, and our hearts go out to her. Alan passed away in Mexico while he & Marie were preparing their new J120 to sail home to Hawaii.
I am young enough that I can’t think of any of my friends that have died. Alan was not old, and seemed perfectly healthy. His passing is a reminder to me of the fragility of life. I will think of him often, and about his approach to life, which he lived fully. In the doublehanded 2 division of the 98 Pacific Cup, my friend Jim Plumley & I were lucky to hold off Alan to win by only a few hours, after 2100 miles of racing. We thought we had Alan put away 1/2 way through the race, but he was just pacing himself. As we tired out in the final days he came out of nowwhere to scare the bejeezus out of us. He was a great sailor and we will miss him.