Family team crushes in Annapolis to Newport Race

Published on June 8th, 2021

Newport, RI (June 8, 2021) – Dream Crusher is truly a family program.

Owners Devin and Shannon McGranahan are truly a husband-and-wife partnership and enjoy sailing with family and friends.

Topping the list are sons Lachlain and Declan, who have been sailing with their parents aboard a series of boats since they were in elementary school. Colin McGranahan, Devin’s brother, is also an integral member of the team. Patrick Frisch, Devin’s college roommate, has been part of the program for years as well.

“It is the very essence of a family program, while Devin and Shannon are the epitome of a husband-wife team,” said Kieran Searle, tactician aboard Dream Crusher. “Our three priorities – in order – are safety, fun, and performance.”

The McGranahan family teamwork was on full display during the 38th biennial Annapolis to Newport Race as the 13-member crew (above) sailed Dream Crusher to overall victory in the ORC fleet on corrected time for the day two starters.

Dream Crusher posted a corrected time of 3 days, 9 hours, 41 minutes, and 44 seconds to win ORC 1 class, which featured the seven fastest boats racing under that rating system. The Kernan 47 beat Privateer, a Cookson 50 owned by Ron O’Haney, by 2 hours and 34 minutes after handicaps were computed.

A total of 65 boats in six classes raced under ORC with Prospector posting the fastest elapsed time of 2 days, 1 hour, 21 minutes, and 42 seconds. Privateer crossed the line off Castle Hill Light just over five hours later in 2:06:39:50, while Dream Crusher was third to finish in 2:07:36:47.

Helmsman Paul McDowell, navigator Larry Landry, and the other two owners that form the Shelter Island Transatlantic Partnership were crossing their fingers that Prospector could capture overall fleet honors on corrected, but it was not to be. The Mark Mills designed 68-footer fell to fourth on corrected behind Dream Crusher, Privateer, and Summer Storm (Marten 49, Andrew Berdon and Alec Snyder).

Searle, the tactician, said Dream Crusher got a great start Saturday morning (June 5) on the Chesapeake Bay and held its own with Prospector and Privateer while beating into southerly winds that steadily increased into the teens.

Those three boats were still sailing in close proximity after exiting the bay and rounding the Chesapeake Light. Searle and navigator Alex Clegg recommended going inshore and the Kernan 47, which draws 11-feet, 3-inches, went as close to the beach as possible – sailing in 14 feet of water while working the way up the Virginia and Maryland coastlines.

“We made significant progress on Prospector and Privateer with our decision to go inshore,” Devin McGranahan said.

Dream Crusher got east of the rhumb line briefly but for the most part stayed on the western side. “We gybed on the shifts and did our best to stay in pressure. We checked the (Yellow Brick) tracker regularly to keep an eye on the competition and just kept pushing,” Searle said. “We treated it like a long inshore race as opposed to an offshore one and were very open-minded in our approach.”

Devin McGranahan is an executive with Fiserv, a financial services technology company, and the family splits time between homes in Miami, Newport, and Pittsburgh. They got into offshore racing with a Swan 56 named King Daddy and did the 2013 Annapolis-to-Newport Race when oldest son Declan was 12. Lachlain joined the offshore racing crew the following year for the 2014 Newport-to-Bermuda Race.

Declan is now 20 and senior captain of the Boston College intercollegiate sailing team. Lachlain just turned 19 and is a sophomore sailing at Harvard.

The McGranahan’s bought the Kernan 47 in 2015 and this was their first time entering Annapolis-to-Newport Race with the boat. Devin called his wife the “backbone” of the team as she oversees the shore crew, handles all logistics, serves as chef onboard, and also works the runners while on watch.

“We ate hot home-cooked meals twice a day during the race,” Devan said. “We had chili, beef stew, meatball subs, Jambalaya – all sorts of yummy stuff!”

Devin praised Searles for putting together the non-family portion of the crew and doing “an amazing amount of work to support our program.” He praised the entire team as “terrific” and felt Dream Crusher was pushed to its maximum potential in this race.

“We run a program that is first and foremost about spending time with our family and friends,” Devin said. “Obviously, this result is absolutely fantastic for a family-based program such as this.”

The Dream Crusher afterguard approached Annapolis-to-Newport as a four-part race – going down the Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis to Norfolk, transitioning into the Atlantic Ocean and rounding Chesapeake Light, working the way up the coast past Long Island then rounding Block Island, and coming into the finish on Narragansett Bay.

“I thought the crew did an outstanding job of maximizing the boat’s performance at all times. We really kept her moving at night when there were only three or four people on deck,” Devin said. “I’m very proud because everyone who was aboard contributed.”

Chessie Racing posted the best corrected time among PHRF entries. The Tripp 62-footer owned by George Collins captured line honors among the Friday morning starters and corrected to 3:04:57:09. That was 6 hours and 9 minutes better than PHRF runner-up Stormy Petrel, a 44-foot training vessel crewed by the Coast Guard Academy offshore sailing team.

Collins was back home in Guilford, Connecticut eating dinner at his favorite restaurant when he got word that Chessie Racing was the corrected time winner. “They’re going to hammer our rating after this,” was the immediate reaction of Collins.

Chris Larson was tactician and navigator aboard Chessie Racing, while fellow veteran professionals Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake and Jamie Gale served as watch captains.

“We sailed a great race from start to finish. Chris Larson made some terrific calls and the crew work was sensational,” Collins said. “I was really pleased with the setup of the boat and I was thrilled with her performance.”

Event informationRace detailsTracking

The 2021 edition attracted 82 teams for the 475 nm course, with ORC 1 and 2 starting on June 5, while a day earlier saw starts get underway for ORC 3, ORC 4, ORC 5, ORC Doublehanded, and PHRF and PHRF Classic.

Source: Bill Wagner

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