Going for the Gold

Hunter Ratliff wants nothing more than to feel the weight of a gold medal around his neck. To stand on the podium, national anthem blaring, knowing his success came from no one but himself. But it’s going to take a while to get there.Last November, Hunter, now 25, embarked on an Olympic campaign for his 470 sailboat. He and his crew, Topher Williams, spend their days building what Ratliff
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Hunter Ratliff wants nothing more than to feel the weight of a gold medal around his neck. To stand on the podium, national anthem blaring, knowing his success came from no one but himself. But it’s going to take a while to get there.

Last November, Hunter, now 25, embarked on an Olympic campaign for his 470 sailboat. He and his crew, Topher Williams, spend their days building what Ratliff calls a “grass roots” campaign. They sail, raise funds, work on the boat, search for sponsorships, stay in shape and travel to regattas -- all on their own dime. “A lot of sailors have the luxury of daddy’s pockets to fund their campaigns,” says Ratliff, who coaches sailing full time in addition to running his campaign. “It must be nice, but I think that in the long run it’s going to mean so much more, knowing that we did it all on our own.”

Ratliff is planning to complete two “quads” – the four years leading up to the Games – in an attempt to sail in the 2012 and 2016 summer Olympics. Even in the first year, he has learned that practice does not make perfect, but rather practice, perseverance and lots and lots of patience. He’s blazing through his campaign with all of these arrows in his quiver, ready to go for the gold.

Related

01-Lead-show

France’s Annual Multihull Show

If a boat show could be described as intimate, the annual Salon International du Multicoque in La Grande Motte, on France’s Mediterranean coast, is it. Held in the latter part of April, the multihulls-only in-water show is a boon for builders, because the people who attend come ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Check the waypoint  Most errors with GPS and paper chart navigation are caused by the operator punching in the wrong numbers or plotting the lat/long incorrectly. The surest way to double-check a ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more

pilot_saloon_42-_en_navigation_11

Boat Review: Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Old salts grouse about modern aesthetics. It’s just what they do, and the hard lines and spartan interiors of today’s production boats give them many reasons to complain. French builder Wauquiez, however, seems to consistently be able to marry contemporary elements with ...read more