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Sail For Epilepsy spent the past two weekends participating in sail training events: The Newport Yacht Club Offshore 160 solo race and the double-handed Boston Yacht Club Beringer Bowl. While skipper Phil Haydon has been completing day sails to refine the rigging and make adjustments to the boat, the Offshore 160 was the first long distance voyage of the summer.

Offshore 160

Starting from Newport, RI after a weather delayed start, the conditions proved to be sporty, quickly requiring Haydon to find his sea legs. After sailing past Montauk, the turning point of this out and back race, one of the shrouds that holds up the mast failed. Haydon made the prudent decision to turn around early and slowly make his way back to his home port of Portsmouth, RI. Luckily, a simple fix re-secured this part of the standing rigging, but was best done alongside the dock, rather than attempting to complete in the middle of the night to continue the race.

Beringer Bowl

The Beringer Bowl begins in Marblehead, MA, so a day before the race started, Phil and his double-handed sailing partner Joe Cooper got underway from Portsmouth, RI to deliver the boat to the start line. En-route they practiced sail changes for upwind and downwind sailing and for heavy to light wind sailing which proved useful during the overnight race, when winds shifted from 8-10 kts down to 2-3 kts. Crossing the finish line at 0453 in the morning, Phil achieved his foremost goal, of completing the race safely. He was also pleased to finish 3rd overall in the double-handed class.

“The last 2 nautical miles of this race took about three hours to be complete in a very light breeze. It was excruciatingly slow but because we had competitors nearby we had to be on the top of our game to make every inch to the finish line. The training we have been performing is beginning to payoff since it is becoming almost second nature to make sail changes”.

– Phil Haydon
Looking ahead

Another goal during these training voyages is to test the boat tracking feature on the Sail For Epilepsy website, as well as refining the process of sending back updates, photos, and videos to the shore team, for posting to social media and the website. Both of these elements are critical components of the planned circumnavigation, starting in the fall of 2021. This workflow, along with additional sail training, will continue this weekend, when Phil and double-handed sailing partner Nick Turcotte participate in the Newport Yacht Club SOLO/TWIN. Follow along live using the boat tracker and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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