Jim Kilroy: An experience unlike any other

Published on January 6th, 2015

Inducted into the U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame, Jim Kilroy’s ocean racing yachts, all name Kialoa, amassed a record of victories that remains unrivaled in the highest levels of Grand Prix racing. Equally successful in business, Kilroy’s autobiography Kialoa US-1 – Dare to Win provides the no-hold-barred, behind the scenes story of commerce and competition. Here’s an excerpt…

It was not long before we realized what we were in for…a hell of a ride, or perhaps the ride from Hell. The weather built rapidly. We soon had a sustained 30 knots of breeze with gusts much above that figure. The sea began to build and take on an awkward, confused appearance. It reminded me of Bass Straight, the body of water separating Tasmania from the rest of Australia: a narrow venturi of water, driven erratic by the similar shallowness, currents and strong winds, prone to developing steep waves of an irregular nature. The sea became most uncomfortable.

KIALOA III, new to the world, was like a charging horse prepared to look death in the eye, unafraid to tuck and slam her head meaningfully into a counter charging sea. She would do so with a great shudder felt from stem to stern, and gouging out a great abundance of water, which as the bow came tossing up, would be thrown down the deck in a torrent of angry surf, making it all but impossible to go forward. This was repeated time and again like a creature exchanging blows with an opponent, one concussion after another.

Night brought a new element, as we were unable to see the building fury of the sea. There is a different form of trepidation that develops when one knows what is out there but unable to see it. In this blackness, the white crests rolled down towards us like some marching piebald walls about to take our measure. Occasionally after a deep fall and slam, bow lights would disappear for what seemed an interminable length of time as the bow struggled to rid itself of tons of foaming liquid.

The book, Kialoa US-1 – Dare to Win, can be found HERE

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