A lot has happened since the end of the Key West event. February and March continued to be a very busy time for the crew. With a few alterations and a little time to pull everything together, the group was heading even further South in order to reach for another win. To recap:
Team Soozal was immediately off to the Pineapple Cup which began in Florida and headed straight to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Just coming off the high of the action in Key West, Soozal kept her cool, remained focused and was able to conquer 2,000+ ocean miles and secure yet another win. With blown newly installed electronics, a shredded spinnaker and a tremendously arduous journey to the islands, Soozal once again astonished all who were there and achieved a second big win, carving out a space for Soozal in the media and creatING a buzz about the new Mills "King 40" design. You can check out the coverage on the events website at: http://www.montegobayrace.com/
With 2 solid back to back wins on a virgin boat, the team was headed back up the coast for Premiere Racing's second week-long regatta, this time located in Miami, FL. Take a look at a professional shot by Tom Wilkes.
What is that saying: "The third time's the charm"; well it must be true becasue Soozal took another 1st in Miami, proving to be the best of all the best of the West - this time on the East Coast. This win proved that Soozal is now the most prestigious boat in her class, and that the West Coast has a new threat out there on the water. You can also get the week's details on the following website: http://www.premiere-racing.com/miami09/pages/AMGP09_entry_information.html
Plenty of media attention has been given to the well deserved team and captain aboard Soozal. Most notably, there has been a spread in Sailing World magazine (April issue) and we received word that Dan Woolery was just nominated as sailor of the month in Seahorse magazine (the premiere International voice of sailing). You can pledge your vote on Seahorse Magazine's website: http://www.seahorsemagazine.com/
If you can't see the link, just search Seahorse Magazine, click the link and you will see the voting call out on the lower left hand side of the screen just to the bottom of the page. As more information becomes available I will fill all of you in. please stay tuned in and go out and vote the American nominee
As we look towards getting ready to pull out of Key West, we leave the marina as winners in both our hearts and on the trophy wall. The team was a perfect fit, the wind blew the right direction and for a virgin boat to take home the crown jewel of Key West is pretty amazing.
I hope you enjoyed getting a taste of the action and were able to check out some of the footage on the links that I sent out as well
Today we took two first places which proudly makes us the best of the best. The entire team has worked so hard for this moment and proving that they could win on a boat that hadn't even set sails in another race before this one, is what made this whole experience worth it. It is few and far between to see a crew who has never sailed together, come together and gel so well. Fueled by team spirit, the desire to win, elite knowledge and lack of ego's - this team proved today that they truly are the best.
We watched both races from aboard the Hindu today. This ship's history began as a submarine spy boat during WWII, then went on to become on the very first Whale Watching boats ever and also shipped spices to and from India. Solid wood and equipped with a cannon, we set sails this morning and headed out for a great day of sailing. The wind was blowing about 10kts and the sun was shinning all day (a first for Key West since we arrived here last Tuesday). Breath taking views of ocean life, birds and dolphins diving and swimming along side the boat as we headed out to see the competition.
Boat owner Susan Woolery alongside John (Shake a Leg leader), my husband, daughter and I as we watched from afar.
We took first on the first race and were able to catch up to Soozal for a quick hello and update on the team. The boat looked great and the team was PSYCHED!
We are heading out to the winner's circle in just a little bit so stay tuned for a recap soon!
This vessel is amazing. Her name is E-Sea-Go 'N - just like the owners that we sailed with.
As mentioned, Soozal is a King 40 so we were able to gather up all of the King 40 owners and watch from sea as a group...It definitely beats trying to see from land and I am not going lie - I could get use to riding on one of these babies all the time. We had a great view and got right up on Soozal, Hot Ticket and Act One (the three King 40 vessels within the IRC II division).
We ended up with a 1st and a 2nd today, and continue to be the boat to watch. We are all very excited about the big day tomorrow - but know that focus and smart sailing is what it is going to take to beat NGoni - a Mills 40 that seems to unsurpassable heading downwind. With 2,200 less pounds - she is a force to reckon with.
A solid team of the best bunch of guys I have met in a long, long time : ) Go get 'em tomorrow!!!!!
The Bow man up the mast
Helmsman - Dan Woolery and boat owner...Married to "Soozal" - literally, the boat is named after his wife Susan
Boat of the day is one of the most prestigious honors that you can win down here in Key West. Wednesday, Soozal took on this honorable name. We had a great race day - the team took a first and a second and is really shinning above the rest! We have a chance to win this thing and we could be more excited!
About 2 minutes in you will see a boat actually lose its mast - disastrous and ungodly expensive to say the least when something like this happens. Soozal is racing in the IRC division and holding our own in Division II, if I don't say so myself -- we have a lot of work to do if we are gonna win this thing. Becuase the races are situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, the overwhelming current treats boats like a virtual washing machine when you are out in the thick of it all. The Florida Keys fall off into the abyss creating a deeper portion of the ocean creating a race schedule that is way off shore to ensure that you will not hit anything below. With those conditions, it makes it pretty hard to get video of the race from my perspective. Take a look at the link below from an approved press boat to see the actual footage from the races:
The first one is from Monday race week. The second is from today's activity. If you follow this blog and go there for your video -- you should be all caught up to speed. There are a few key photographers that have access to the water around the race itself. Chime in if you are interested in seeing the links to these photos and I will post them for you to view.
Tomorrow we are heading out for a screening of Morning Light - For those of you that have not yet seen it - GO OUT AND TAKE A LOOK! If you like sailing, you will love this movie or so I am told and if nothing else - go see it so that you can get a real taste of what this whole sailing thing is all about. I hear it is pretty realistic, but i will let you know after I see it tomorrow night : )
Go out there and get Active and stay tuned from more from the winners circle of tomorrow's race day!
Since the videos were shot on our memory stick unfortunately they are pixilated-- but stick with it, you will get the idea. We tried not to say a lot in the video as to not disrupt the crew and so that you can really hear what is going on, on board
Well, after a broken wench, a torn spinacker and a few minor finger injuries--practices went well this weekend. Today is Day One of race week. The team headed out this morning focused, in good spirits and ready to face today's challenges. Winds will be favorable for Soozal today with 15 - 20 knots and 2"- 4" feet seas. The team is really beginning to "gel" and the boat itself is looking like she will be a top producer this week.
I wanted to get you virtually inside the event so here is a video and a few photos for you to enjoy from this weekend's practice schedule. Look at the photos under the permalink option under the blog posted here. Disregard the Xmas label of the photo - trust me - it is what you want to see. The other boats in the photos are our competitors - primarily you will see Act One - the boat that was named Boat of the year (I sent the link out in a previous blog).
Key West Harbour
Boat Name: Summit (king 40)
Since I am not physically on the boat during the races, I will try to get access on a press boat in order to include you in the action. Stay tuned for more...
Key West is a darling town and I can't stop singing "it's 5 o'clock somewhere". The locals (and everyone else in Florida) think it is cold here - well, it is overcast and windy at the moment, but cold? Not so much.... By land, sea and sky we all made it down to the races and practice for the team officially starts tomorrow. Right now it is blowing about 20 Knots (about 23 mph) with the wind direction heading out of the NNE (20°). Since I will be talking about the weather in terms of knots most of the time, I thought I would provide you with a quick link to a site that illustrates conversions from knots to mph: http://www.disastercenter.com/convert.htm
It is gusty tonight and expected to stay windy throughout most of the morning. It will make for a great practice day and will get everyone ready for next week. There will be 2 races a day for 5 days straight starting on Monday and we should know how we are shaping up for the big win by mid week. Stay tuned in for photos and video from aboard Soozal...
So, I thought in order to get all of you excited about this blog, that it may be interesting to have more background on who will be on Soozal's crew for this year's race:
Daniel Woolery: Helmsman & boat owner--amateur sailor; food executive; various season championships; champion of champions San Francisco Bay; winner Newport-Ensenada, Long Beach Race Week; Trans Pac. Alamo, CA
Scott Easom: Primary Trimmer-- over 40 yrs exp; rigger, professional racer, boat captain; America's Cup veteran, 10 Transpacs (to Hawaii), 5 time world champion in various classes; over 250,000 ocean miles.
Robbie Haines: Tactician--over 45 yrs experience; professional sailor, racer; project manager for Roy Disney for 10 yrs;; gold medal olympian in Soling class; 6 time world champion, America's cup winner; San Diego, CA
Christopher Lewis: Navigator--corporate attorney, advanced university weather studies; 4 Sydney Hobart races, 1 Pac Cup, 2 time Rolex St. Francis Big Boat Series champion (navigator); over 10 yrs experience, Sunnyvale, CA
Pete McCormick: Mainsail Trimmer--Northern California Sales Manager for North Sails; Oregon University sailing team; over 20 yrs exp.; San Francisco, CA
Gary Sadamori: Pit (man)-- Ad executive, 20 yrs experience as bow, trimmer and mast positions; St. Francis Rolex Big Boat Series veteran, amateur sailor/racer; Moore 24 season champion, Pac dup veteran (San Francisco to Kauai); bowman in highly competitive Farr 40 campaign.; San Francisco, CA
Matt Siddens: Secondary Trimmer-- cabinet maker and amateur sailor; Rolex Big Boat series champion, Moore 24 season champion team; San Francisco, CA
Hogan Beattie: Mast (man)-- Professional Sailor, former team Member America's Cup campaign; Key West Farr 40 champion; Farr 40 World Champion; various experience with world class maxi yachts. San Clemente, CA
Greg "Radar" Felton: Bow (man)-- amateur sailor; search & rescue pilot; avid sailor 30 yrs. start up company; South Lake Tahoe, CA.
We are off to the races on Wednesday (it is an ALL DAY trip to Florida and then a 8 hour drive down to the Keys) but check back later this week for photos and some video of our arrival and first visit with the crew!!
Next week my family and I are embarking on the vacation of a lifetime! We head to Key West, Florida on Tuesday to meet up with the skipper and crew of the newest King 40 fleet "Soozal". Skippered by Dan Woolery and wife Susan, the team is compiled of many greats to include 2x Olympic Champions, World Class Tacticians who have won the Transpac, elite Sail Trimmers and an all around five star crew. To give you some background, The King 40 was just declared to be the boat of the year by Sailing World Magazine. Very cool!
You can check out the link at: http://www.sailingworld.com/ and then search for King 40. You will see the link to the actual article about 4 articles down entitled:"King 40: 2009 Overall Boat of the Year. I have also attached a photo of a King 40 (not the one that I am traveling with) so that you can get an idea of what will be talking about.
The race event in Florida begins on Jan 19th and is packed with multiple races per day clear through the 23rd.
So, I will be posting photos of the race and providing the background story on Souzal as well as highlights from the race days and hopefully a few interviews providing the teams have the time...It is a busy week for everyone to say the least! Enjoy the coverage and while you are here....Make a plan today to get Active!!
Details on the upcoming annual sailing event held in Key West, Florida. Event will be held from Jan 19th - Jan 23rd and will consist of a series of multiple races per day. Elite sailing competition and back story from the King 40 "Soozal"