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 being in the 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 teams will compete this July starting in Marblehead against a growing list of 30+ entries including Spirit of Adventure a MkIII Volvo 60.
Oakcliff sailing is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is still accepting applications for their summer programs racing to Halifax.
Below: Gallant during the start of the 2013 race