Gary Jobson 368
Three cheers to the Severn School (Severn, Md.) for wining the High School National Championship recently. The team was lead by senior Joe Morris in A Division and Alex Bertrand in B Division. The Severn School dramatically upgraded its program a few years ago when it acquired a new fleet of boats and recruited coach Tom Sitzmann. These Annapolis sailors have improved every year. In the fall, Morris is off to Yale and Bertrand is off to College of Charleston. We’ll be hearing more about these young sailors in the coming years!
College National Qualifiers
The 2008 Gill/ICSA National Championship will feature the most competitive field in the 77 years of collegiate racing. For the first time every team, regardless of its geographic location, qualified based on performance in a series of regattas. The result is there are eight teams from New England, seven from the Mid-Atlantic, one from the Southeast, one from the West, and one from the Midwest.
Saint Mary’s College of Maryland and defending national champion College of Charleston will be two of the most competitive teams out of the 18 qualifiers. I’ll be on hand producing a one-hour show for ESPNU.
PUMA Launched in Boston
The PUMA Sailing Team officially launched their new yacht at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston Harbor last week. About 400 guests were in attendance. The highlight of the evening was actress Salma Hayek christening the yacht. After four attempts at breaking the champagne bottle, crewman Jerry Kirby had the presence to step forward and give the actress an extra hand.
The boat is a unique design. It is much wider than the first generation of Volvo Open 70s, an interesting trend considering that America’s Cup yachts have become narrower in successive generations. Builder Eric Goetz has done a fine job. The graphics feature a running puma on the sails and a shoe on the carbon-fiber hull.
Skipper Ken Read, 46, of Newport, R.I., has assembled a world-class crew. I think this team has a very good chance of winning the Volvo Ocean Race. Twenty-four hours after the christening the crew was scheduled to take the yacht on a 2,000 mile run in the ocean.
I was disappointed, however, not to see an American flag anywhere in sight. The boat was given an Italian name, il mostro which means, “the monster.” Sitting in the front row was Volvo Ocean Race chief executive officer Knut Frostad; inexplicably, he was not introduced to the roughly 150 journalists gathered in the museum’s nifty theater. Similarly no Boston officials were recognized. PUMA’s marketing people need to rethink their protocol if they hope to generate interest in the United States. Boston and the New England region have a lot to be proud about considering the phenomenal success of their baseball, basketball, and football teams. PUMA is clearly missing the boat not attaching itself to the region.
I’m sure that Ken Read and his crew are glad to have the show behind them so they can get on to the serious part of their training.