A self portrait of senior editor Stuart Streuli just before racing on the final day of Key West Race Week.
Returning home from a week of sailing with a litany of aches and pains isn't necessarily a bad thing
My wife’s gotten into juicing lately. You know, of the fresh-squeezed variety, not the needles-pills-and-powders version favored by so many top athletes. The byproduct, as anyone who’s done this knows, is a lot of soggy pulp. As I looked at macerated remains of carrots, grapefruit, oranges, apples and other fruits and vegetables left over from Sunday morning’s fresh squeeze, I felt a certain kinship. “I know how you feel,” I thought to myself.
Rich Wilson became the second American to complete the Vendée Globe in 2009. Read his story, and this interview, to get a look at one of the smallest clubs on this planet.
The Vendée Globe, the greatest solo ocean race on the planet, is starting to wind down with the survivors sailing one by one across the finish line in the wake of Francois GabartMacif. But if you are waiting for an American sailor, don’t bother. This year, there aren’t any. In fact, most years there aren’t any.
Gabart becomes the youngest and fastest sailor to circumvent the world alone in the Vendée Globe.
Francois Gabart was just a few hundred yards away from becoming the youngest sailor of all time to the win the Vendée Globe. He was also just about to beat Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by sailing around the world in 78 days and two hours, while averaging 15.3 knots over the 28,647-mile long solo trek. But you would not know that by watching him Sunday afternoon as he grinded the winch one last time and studied how the sail was reacting, as methodically and carefully as if he were still out in the middle of the Indian Ocean alone.
Every racetrack has its unique facets. For Key West Race Week, one of the keys to success runs counter to one of the more basic lessons in competitive sailing.
Like with any racecourse, there are a lot of ways to skin the cat when it comes to succeeding in Quantum Key West Race Week. But if you could browse the memory files of the top tacticians racing here, I’m betting you’d find at least one common theme: Stay out of the middle.
From an early age, sailors are taught that the corners are the lands of desperation, a place where sailors go when they are out of other options. We are taught that good sailors play the shifts, leave their options open, and generally take a “centrist” approach to upwind tactics.
A bad final leg can leave a bitter taste that doesn't quickly fade away. The proper perspective, however, is always there for the taking
My friend Ian loves to sail. For him, the expression, “A bad day of sailing is better than a good day of work,” isn’t just a bumper sticker. It’s how he lives his life. My relationship with the sport tends to be more fragile. I like to sail. I love to compete. And when you compete, sometimes you lose. And that can hurt.
School of hard-hikes. Abby Freeman riding the rail of Bora Gulari's Melges 24.
College sailor Abby Freeman earned a spot at the front of past Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bora Gulari's talent-laden Melges 24 West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, and as first-timer to Key West she's getting some proper schooling.
Saturday, January 26
Sitting on my plane heading back to school, I find myself making extensive to do lists and mentally preparing myself for the inevitable all-nighter I will need to catch up on the course work I missed. At this point, any sane person would start questioning whether taking a week off school was all worth it. Before I started to get too negative about this particular life decision, I decided to think back on all the experiences, big and small, that made Key West Race Week 2013 worth it:
Tim and Don Finkle (right). A dynamic father-son duo.
Getting to Key West from upstate New York is half the battle of race week. The other half is keeping it fun. For Don Finkle and his young charges, that shouldn't be a problem.
Saturday, January 26
Now that the boat is packed up and the crew has flown out, Heather and I are enjoying a few moments of quiet on the balcony of our rented condo here in Key West, with some time to also reflect on a few final thoughts and suggestions as we look back on the experience, in no particular order.
Johnathan McKee says it's good to be back in town. Oh how he missed a little Key West, and how lucky he is to be here.
It is so great to be back in Key West. I missed it last year and somehow my whole year was not the same. The combination of sunny warm weather, beautiful emerald water, great racing, and a unique colorful town is unmatched by any other regatta.