After much internal debate, and discussion with my wife, co-skipper, and friends, I've decided not to pursue the Bermuda 1-2 Yacht Race this year, despite qualifying this past September with a 205-mile, 29-hour solo offshore voyage to the edge of the Continental Shelf and back. Although I am certainly apprehensive about taking a 21-foot pocket rocket across the Gulf Stream, I am not deterred as I'm confident enough in my sailing, safety and survival skills such that the reward of undertaking the adventure greatly outweighs the risks based my assessment. Some will certainly say (and have said) that my calculator must be broken--e.g., my mother. Nope. It rivals the TI-86 and is working just fine. But fear is not why I'll be watching the triangles of the Yellowbrick tracker this go-around rather than being one of those triangles. Neither is my autopilot, although I've previously written about my efforts to exorcise the demons from my tiller ram and course computer. I'll be sitting this one out for the same reason why many of us aren't able to get out on the water as much as we'd like...work.
In two weeks time, I'll be transitioning companies, and my instinct is telling me to set the adventure aside for a brief period of time to focus on solidifying myself in my new role and building the same level of trust and goodwill that I have built over past 5+ years at my current company--elements that will be essential when I inevitably say--"Hey, so I'm going to take off the month of June to sail my 21-foot sled to Bermuda and back." Indeed, taking into account planning, sailing both legs, and the fundamental dedication of your cognitive faculties to engage in the pursuit both safely and effectively, the time requirement for the race is about four straight weeks. Unfortunately, this is far more than I can dedicate right now (even if I fly back to NYC between the first and second legs). It's just not the right time.
That said, Abilyn will still sail this season and will get some more miles under her hull. We are hoping to pursue a schedule that includes some weekends of offshore training, local day races, and the following local longer distance races:
- Storm Trysail Club Around Block Island Race
- Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week
- New England Solo/Twin
- Seacliff YC Around Long Island Regatta
- Ida Lewis Distance Race
- Stamford YC Vineyard Race
Plus, I'll be participating in Larchmont Junior Race Week in July to give a presentation on the Mini Transat 6.50 boat and some of my experience, and hopefully give some of the juniors a pretty cool ride.
I'm of course saddened that Abilyn will not be participating in this year's Bermuda 1-2, especially given that four other Mini 6.50s are committed to the race: CAN 175 (Pogo Logo), USA 806 (ex-Open Sailing), USA 702 (Frogger), and USA 837 (Wichard Ocean Racing). Although it's a long shot, we're going to try to gain entry to the 2016 Newport-Bermuda Race. If that doesn't work, we'll fly the Jolly Roger and sail the course anyways. And then, banking on the prospect that the 2017 America's Cup doesn't actually happen on account of other competitors taking Luna Rossa Challenge's lead, we'll plan on the 2017 B1-2.
See you out on the water soon enough. It feels like Spring.