April 7, 2001
It’s happened! After an incredible struggle against time and limited funds, OCEAN PLANET has been launched!! A little after noon on Saturday, April 7th, the first American Open 60 in years was launched in front of a huge and enthusiastic Portland Oregon crowd of well-wishers, press, and TV cameras.
There was a bit of Oregon sprinkles, but the sun came through a few times to match our spirits. There were a few dignitaries on hand to say some words, including our title sponsors Kevin and Shauna Flanigan. Also on hand to show the local spirit was Portland commissioner Charlie Hales. He is a sailor himself and is very proud to have OCEAN PLANET be launched in Portland. I was also delighted to have the local Sea Scout cadets officially raise the American Flag aboard OCEAN PLANET and fire their cannon!
This is the most wonderful boat I have ever seen. Working with Tom Wylie to bring our shared vision of this boat to life, has been an incredible experience. A hell of a lot of work, more than a few arguments, but our inspiration has never given up. If I would reach a point of despair, Tom would keep me going. That and knowing how much all of our supporters share our dream. There are so many others that have worked so hard, especially Steve Rander and the crew at Schooner Creek Boat Works.
In the next few days we take OCEAN PLANET down the coast for Pacific Sail Expo in Oakland (my home town!). There, my heroine Ellen MacArthur will officially christen OCEAN PLANET, which I’m sure will bring us good luck!! That and the rainbow that came out when we stepped the mast (see attached photo)! I am so proud to have the chance to bring the OCEAN PLANET message of the importance of our oceans to everyone! Especially the younger sailors and school kids that I love to teach.
When I woke up this morning I thought it all was a dream. Then I walked down to the dock and there she was, waiting for us to get back to work on her!
Bruce Schwab – Skipper