Taking the big pony to the Pink Pony

Published on February 24th, 2021

Founded in 2010 by Hunt and Betsy Lawrence in order to raise the caliber of sailing in the United States, Oakcliff Sailing continues to stretch its influence beyond their base in Oyster Bay, NY. The latest endeavor is to leverage a newly-donated 86-foot racing boat to further upskill American sailors.

Now named OC 86, the former 2002 Reichel/Pugh 86 Windquest was owned by Doug DeVos before donating it last summer to Oakcliff Sailing, making it the largest boat in the Oakcliff fleet.

This summer, Oakcliff coaches, trainees, and supporters will join together on the Great Lakes to race both the Bayview Mackinac Race and the Chicago Mackinac Race. Finally, assuming Canada allows transit, the boat will make its way through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the East Coast.

Coaching will be provided by top sailing professionals, along with one of the best superyacht captains and Australian native David Blanchfield; Wisconsin-grown Shore Manager Alexander “Fly” Lulewicz and Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley.

This program is a unique opportunity to crew on and discover the inner workings of a maxi yacht with water ballast. Together with offshore sailing skills, trainees will learn boat maintenance, yacht rigging, water ballast systems, project and crew management and more on this supersized boat.

The connections between Oakcliff, the DeVos Family, and the Midwest run deep – all the way back to the 1980s, when Michigan native Riley faced them on the race course. Doug is also a principal of the New York Yacht Club American Magic, of which Oakcliff is an official training partner.

“Oakcliff is forever grateful for the support of so many and for this program, specifically Doug and Maria DeVos who have entrusted us to continue to Build American Leaders on such an amazing and beautiful platform,” said Riley. “I can barely wait for some fresh water sailing and a few stops to catch up with old and new friends, perhaps at the Pink Pony.”

For additional details: https://www.oakcliffsailing.org/programs/acorn-programs/

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