We're pleased to announce that the winner of our America's Cup Crew for a Day contest is Rob Rich from Round Rock, Texas! Crew for a Day accepted entries through Facebook, posing the question: "What was your most memorable sailing experience?" We received 1,000 entries of just 50 short words each from across the country. Rob's essay stood out among the many different, poignant responses, for his love of what's at the heart of sailing. While he currently enjoys cruising, his first experiences on the water are what have stayed with him over the years. Here's what he said:
"My first boat was a Prindle 16. I have a Beneteau First 32 now, but my favorite moment in sailing was the first time I flew a hull on that used, $700 Prindle--it was like flying!"
Rob, who is originally from Buffalo, New York, has been an active sailor for many years. He bought the Prindle with his wife when they moved to Austin, Texas, to attend graduate school. Rich enjoys chartering in the Caribbean, Europe and the United States when he's not working on his boat or sailing with his wife and friends on Lake Travis.
"I am incredibly excited to go out and tear it up on the 45s," said Rob. "I was just in San Francisco Bay with a friend sailing a Hunter 39, and all I could think was, 'This is pretty cool, but I'm going to be doing something way cooler'."
Congratulations, Rob! We're thrilled to be flying you to Newport, Rhode Island, for two nights where you'll race in the America's Cup World Series on June 28. Thanks to our generous sponsors, Harken and West Marine for their support and for providing Rob with a new waterproof backpack and gift card to West Marine.
We look forward to meeting Rob next week, and sharing his experience every step of the way with photos, video and commentary. Check back here for continued news about next week's racing series. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. We will be sharing some of our finalists' essays here!
Photo courtesy of 34th Americas Cup/Gilles Martin-Raget