The idea of an offshore race training program was born when Watson and Reilly, both 23 at the time, met while sailing in the 2013-14 Clipper Race, an around-the-world race for amateurs. Previous to the Clipper, Watson had experience on tall ships, along with some keelboat racing in Vancouver. Reilly had never sailed before. They parlayed their Clipper Race experiences into a lifestyle business with the purchase of the IMOCA 60 O Canada, nee Spirit of Canada, the boat that Canadian Derek Hatfield sailed in the 2008 Vendée Globe until retiring in New Zealand. They found it sitting on the hard in Vancouver, and Reilly and Watson proposed to form Canadian Ocean Racing, with a mission to develop offshore sailing in Canada in exchange for use of the vessel. Chartering it for two years, paying a dollar a year, they took their show on the road, campaigning the 60 in Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto and Quebec, and enlisting potential AOAs along the way.