4 Guys, 7,000 miles: The 5 lessons we learned

Published on January 12th, 2015

With an offer for a Class 40 sailboat to be donated to Oakcliff Sailing, the training center in Oyster Bay, NY hatched a plan on short notice to compete in the RORC Transatlantic Race. The boat was based in Hamble, England, and the race would allow members of the Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to test their new steed.

Dan Flannigan, 23 (Rhode Island), Hobie Ponting, 23 and Chris Kennedy, 26 (Wisconsin) and Andrew “OD” O’Donnell, 27 (New York) took on the challenge. Here are the five lessons they learned…

1. Own The Race
When you make the race “your everything” life gets a lot simpler. When you are dragging a kite out of the water after the halyard failed you aren’t thinking about what you miss from home; instead you are focused on the task in front of you. Find a way to capture that focus and determination and drive off of it. It’s easier to do on a short race where you can see other competitors but in a transoceanic race where you haven’t seen your competitors for days or weeks, it is important to find your own unique way to stay focused.

2. You’re a Team
Your teammates are your single biggest resource; use them. Recognize their struggles and take them on as if they are your own. Not everyone on-board will have the same skill set; it is the cumulative skills that individuals bring to the table that strengthens the team.

3. Rest
You’re going to do whatever it takes to win, you’ll push the boat as hard as you think is safe (maybe further), you’ll drive for hours on end until all you can see are those red numbers from the instruments, you’ll stare at weather and position reports until you forget what day it is. You’ll do this because you are a competitor in a race and you’ll do whatever it takes. Remember that it also takes rest; get an hour of shuteye as it does wonders for the mind and you owe it to your crewmates.

4. Prepare but Do It

You make your work list, everything from the engine to the rigging, from weather to provisions. You’ve gone over the boat from top to bottom countless times just to be sure that everything is set for the start. Except you’ve forgotten one thing, go sailing! At the end of every work list should be ‘Sail’. Sailing is the best way to test your preparations.

5. Bring a Long Metal Spoon
We are reminded of this time and time again but we never seem to learn. Between loosing them and breaking them your spoon always seems to be an issue. Do yourself a favor and get a long metal spoon. It won’t bend in boiling water, if its long you won’t get Macaroni Cheese all over your hand when you go to stir that freeze dried, and when everyone else is riddled with utensil issues you’ll be eating like a king.

About The Team: Founded in 2013 The Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team, based in Oyster Bay, New York, sailed Oakcliff Sailing’s newly donated Class 40 Oakcliff Racing (ex. Bodacious Dream) to a class victory in the inaugural 2014 RORC Transatlantic Race (race report). For more information on the team visit www.Facebook.com/OakcliffOceanRacingTeam

comment banner

Back to Top ↑

Get Your Sailing News Fix!

Your download by email.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We’ll keep your information safe.