Hometown high

When the Volvo Ocean Race calls on Boston Harbor in May, every weekend sailor in the region will have a chance to sniff the air around a grand prix circus. So how did Boston "steal" the US stopover? We turned to the instigator, Bill Lynn of Marblehead, Massachusetts, an unassuming ace Etchells sailor and co-operator of Atlantis Weather Gear. He also has a background in
Author:
Updated:
Original:



When the Volvo Ocean Race calls on Boston Harbor in May, every weekend sailor in the region will have a chance to sniff the air around a grand prix circus. So how did Boston "steal" the US stopover? We turned to the instigator, Bill Lynn of Marblehead, Massachusetts, an unassuming ace Etchells sailor and co-operator of Atlantis Weather Gear. He also has a background in advertising and a deep knowledge of the sailing world and its players.

SAIL: And how did it begin?

"In 2006 I had this thought to bring the America's Cup to Boston. We have a seafaring heritage, the highest average wind speed in the U.S., and one of the few harbors where you could accommodate the teams. I called my friend Ken Read to see whether he would be interested in trying to put something together, but, when we looked at the numbers, the costs were astronomical and probably out of reach."

"We turned our attention to the Volvo instead. Kenny had done the last four legs of 2005-06 on Ericsson, and he had the bug. Also, he said, the Volvo was the one sailing event that delivered measurable return on investment to sponsors. If we could field a Boston-based team, we might use that as leverage to get the U.S. stopover in Boston."

SAIL: And step one was?

"We spent a few weeks on a business plan and a presentation with pictures of out-of-control, logo’d Volvo 70’s. Kenny had sailed with a major Puma shareholder, and when Jochen Zeitz, Puma’s CEO, was in New York we got a meeting. He actually didn’t seem all that interested until we showed him a mock-up of a shiny red boat with a big white cat on it."

SAIL: How big a role did politics play?

It's all politics. PUMA's North American headquarters are in Boston. They made it a precondition that the stopover move here. The VOR wants more teams, so teams have leverage. It was still complicated, though. We needed to get the Mayor and the Governor on board with the concept — a bit of a challenge since neither Ken nor I had many connections in City Hall or the State House. Then we still had to convince Volvo that we weren't going to drop the ball, because Baltimore and Annapolis did an outstanding job on the stopovers they ran.

Related

02-'17-Trans-Atlantic_Downwind-Schralpin

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and ...read more

Promo-01-LEAD-MGR00321

Contrasting X-Yachts & Moody Cruisers

One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be ...read more

04-Yacht-anchored-in-front-of-one-of-Lastovo's-gunboat-tunnels-(3)

Cruising Charter to Croatia

As is the case with so much of the Mediterranean, to sail in Croatia is to take a journey through time. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Greeks traded amphoras of oil, wine and grain across these waters. During the first millennium, the Romans built lavish palaces and ...read more

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more