Youth enrichment in offshore competition

Published on March 16th, 2015

Five teams representing organizations focused on competitive sail training and education have entered the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race.

Oakcliff Sailing has entered three teams: two on modified Farr 40s and a third on their Class 40. The US Naval Academy’s co-ed Varsity Offshore Sailing Team will enter the race with Gallant and Tenacious, both MK II Navy 44s.

Racing in the 363-mile offshore race gives the young sailors serious competitive experience and the chance to test their skills against some of the most seasoned teams out there, including professional sailors. Both organizations regularly field teams in the Marblehead to Halifax race, and have had excellent results over the years, including 5th to the finish line in the last edition of the race for one of the Oakcliff yachts.

Liz Shaw, a member of Oakcliff’s staff who was part of the 5th place team in the last race, said “The Halifax race is an excellent training opportunity for us since Marblehead offers a really competitive fleet close to home. We don’t have to travel to Europe or the west coast to find high caliber racing. Each race allows us to give all of our program participants experience with all aspects of planning, executing and debriefing from the event.”

Competitors in the Oakcliff program are as young as 15 with the crews primarily in their late teens and early twenties. The Naval Academy’s co-ed Varsity Offshore Sailing Team members are college aged. Both organizations use the race as part of their broader programs to develop well rounded sailors by teaching and practicing leadership skills, navigation, safety at sea, logistics and repairs.

The 36th edition starts July 5, and will be scored under IRC, ORR, PHRF Racing, PHRF Cruising and HPR, and is an ISAF Category 2 event. Details: www.marbleheadtohalifax.com

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