A new era in college sailing

Published on October 21st, 2019

Over the past year, The Storm Trysail Foundation, The Storm Trysail Club, and multi-Vendeé Globe finisher Rich Wilson, and his close friend and accomplished offshore sailor – Pierre Jean, raised nearly $1 million to purchase 10 identical, pre-owned Figaro 2s to be provided to select colleges with well-established sailing programs.

The 33-foot offshore racing yachts have been actively raced all over Europe by the world’s top offshore sailors before being supplanted by a newer generation of Figaro 3s. Approximately 120 of the high-performance twin-rudder Figaro 2s were built by Beneteau, and Storm Trysail plans on raising enough funds to bring at least 20 more across the Atlantic to U.S. colleges.

Five of the ten have been delivered, with two going to the Webb Institute, two to Mass Maritime one, and one to SUNY Maritime. Each of the boats is being completely refurbished in Portland, ME before being provided to a college for the express purpose of offshore training.

The Storm Trysail Club ran the first College Offshore Sailing Circuit (COSC) Fall Regatta on Oct.12-13 featuring the new-to-the-U.S. one-design fleet.

“The COSC effort provides another bridge from dinghy sailing to offshore sailing for collegiate sailors that is critical to the health of the sport,” explained Rich du Moulin, Chairman of the Storm Trysail Foundation.

“Providing avenues that give younger sailors access to offshore experiences is one of the main objectives of both the Storm Trysail Club and the Foundation. This was the first-ever COSC one-design start with the Figaro 2s and it represents – literally – the start of a new era in college sailing.”

Ownership of the boats remains with COSC, while the colleges are responsible for maintenance.

“The Figaro 2s are perfect for the mission,” observes Storm Trysail Club Vice-Commodore Ed Cesare. “They are cool enough to get the attention of young sailors but forgiving enough to keep them out of real trouble. Although small, they are proper race boats with lots of interior space, and comfortable for being offshore. And, they have a proper nav table at which to teach those skills.”

In addition, the Figaro 2’s are an ideal training platform for the new Olympic mixed double-handed event.

“Our first impression when we saw it was very exciting,” said Ben Hunt, captain of Webb Institute – Team Red. “We’ve already gotten it up on plane with 12-13 knots of boat speed! We can’t wait to do some distance racing with it. I’ve done the Vineyard on our Custom 40 Desperado, and I love the teamwork and camaraderie of the distance stuff.”

It is anticipated that next year’s COSC Fall Regatta will have at least twice as many entries, and possibly more. A full schedule of COSC regattas is currently being worked out.

Colleges interested in applying for one of COSC’s Figaro 2’s, or those wishing to contribute to the effort, should contact Rich du Moulin at rtdumoulin@gmail.com, Ed Cesare at erc@pleiadcapital.net, or Rich Wilson at Rich.wilson@sitesalive.com

About the Storm Trysail Club:
The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail to which sailors must shorten when facing severe adverse conditions, is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs, with its membership comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors. The club is involved in organizing or co-organizing various prestigious offshore racing events including the annual Block Island Race, the biennial Block Island Race Week, The Ft. Lauderdale to Key West Race, the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race, The Down-the-Bay Race in the Chesapeake, The Mills Trophy Race in Lake Erie, and the upcoming Wirth Munroe Race (Dec. 6) from Miami to Palm Beach, Florida. They were also one of the four organizing clubs of the 2019 Transatlantic Race. For more information about the club, visit www.stormtrysail.org

About the Storm Trysail Foundation:
The Storm Trysail Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to support the education of young sailors, junior and adult safety at sea, and intercollegiate big boat racing. The Storm Trysail Foundation educates young people as they bridge the gap between learning to sail and becoming accomplished blue water sailors, through a national program of events including approximately 10 Junior Safety-At-Sea seminars a year in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, California and Michigan. In addition, Adult Safety At Sea and Hands-on Adult Safety at Sea seminars are also regularly organized. For more information on these invaluable and life-saving events, contact: Whitney Kneisly, Executive Director, at execdirector@stormtrysail.org

Source: Ron Weiss, Storm Trysail Club

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