Youthful Leadership For Fiftieth Edition

Published on October 26th, 2015

As the youngest Race Chairman in the history of the Newport Bermuda Race, 34-year-old Alton J. Evans has the helm of the 50th “Thrash to the Onion Patch,” which starts Friday, June 17, 2016.

“I grew up on the Navesink River and Sandy Hook Bay,” says A. J., who lives in Middletown, New Jersey. “I started sailing with my parents, Alton and Jackie Evans, when I was 3, and attended junior sailing at Monmouth Boat Club. We started cruising when I was 7, mostly long weekends on Long Island Sound, Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the U.S Virgin Islands and Southern California.”

“My dad was Commodore of the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club. That’s where I met my sailing godfather, Lenny Sitar, who is also a Past Commodore. Lenny invited my dad and I to go on a race, although my dad is more interested in cruising with my mom. I took to racing with Lenny and was 17 when I did my first Bermuda Race on his J/44 Vamp in 1998, and I haven’t missed one since. This will be my tenth Bermuda Race, and ninth on Vamp.”

“We’re very lucky to have a core group of sailors aboard Vamp,” says A. J. Next year will be my twentieth on Vamp, and other guys have been there much longer. That says a lot about how Lenny runs a program and takes care of his crew. I’m not the youngest anymore, by far, and it’s become a great group of reliable, talented shipmates. Lenny is a great guy and a great team leader, and quite often he can predict the weather better than the forecast!”

“Competition in the J/44 class in the Bermuda Race has been close from start to finish. During the SSB check-in days, you could drop a quarter on the plotting sheet and cover the class’ plots. In 2014, we started close to Jim Bishop’s Gold Digger and saw them next a few days later when we finished about two minutes ahead of them.”

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of the J/44 class, but I’ve been exceptionally blessed with kind invitations to sail with friends on a variety of boats all over the world, including classics. I’ve done the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Pineapple Cup, several Annapolis to Newport and Marblehead to Halifax races, and a very funny Transatlantic Race on the clipper Stad Amsterdam. It turned from race into cruise not long after the breeze died. I’ve never laughed so hard for so long.” – WindCheck, full story

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