By Ed Bell
After two attempts to solo circumnavigate the world, Kiwi Spirit will have more modest but challenging goals this summer and youth will be on her side. She will compete in the Marion to Bermuda race in June and then the Marblehead to Halifax in July.
Paris Sailing Kiwi Spirit I
She will be skippered by, 18-year-old Jonathan Riley for the 645-mile race to Bermuda. Dad will be the navigator and nine other members of the family, including sister Chloe, will help round out the ten-member crew. Jonathan is already studying for his role by printing out charts of the gulf stream weekly.
Chloe Riley (in Red) and Jo Riley (in Blue)
Acquired by Mark Riley, an avid sailor and Marion businessman, the FARR 63 is being outfitted for the back to back events.
Jonathan, who goes by “Jo”, graduated recently from Old Rochester High School where he was captain of the sailing team. He will be headed to the University of Rhode Island this fall to study engineering.
Chloe Riley, 22, will be skipper for the Marblehead to Halifax race. Jo will navigate for his sister. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia.
Jo and his sister grew up at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion. He started sailing in the third grade. She was in the 7th.
While this will be their first Marblehead to Halifax race, the course will be somewhat familiar to Jo. Last summer he attended the Oakcliff Sailing Program in Oyster Bay. Oakcliff is a perennial participant in the Marblehead to Halifax and has three boats competing this year. His time at Oyster Bay enabled him to gain lots of useful information about the Halifax race.
The arrival of Kiwi Spirit in Halifax is going to be a special affair. Sonia, their mom, is French-Canadian and will have members of her family from Quebec waiting at the finish line. “They are driving to Nova Scotia from Quebec” Mark Riley says. “And the Royal Canadian Yacht Squadron has been just fabulous making arrangements for them.”
For Mark Riley, this year will mark his 18th Bermuda race. It will be his third to Halifax though he last competed here 25 years ago.
Kiwi Spirit’s previous owner, Dr. Stanley Paris, had attempted to circumnavigate the globe. Twice he made it to South Africa when equipment failures forced him to retire.