Jonathan Green On SingleHanding

This past summer U.S. shorthanded veteran Jonathan Green won both his class and IRC overall in the fabled OSTAR race, from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island, aboard his Beneteau Oceanis 351 Jeroboam, beating a varied fleet that included a high-octane Open 60 in the process. SAIL recently caught up with Green.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Jeroboam

This past summer U.S. shorthanded veteran Jonathan Green won both his class and IRC overall in the fabled OSTAR race, from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island, aboard his Beneteau Oceanis 351 Jeroboam, beating a varied fleet that included a high-octane Open 60 in the process. SAIL recently caught up with Green.

SAIL: What prompted to you to start racing singlehanded?

Jonathan Green: I raced on some fully crewed boats, but never felt I was making a material contribution to the effort. When I started contemplating racing Jeroboam, it seemed obvious that three people could easily race it—after all, there were only two winches on the entire boat! Even then, the third person probably wouldn’t have a lot to do. So Jeroboam’s first race was doublehanded, and I never looked back. The reason I continue to race singlehanded, long distance, offshore is because it’s a true test, both mentally and physically. No other sport comes close.

SAIL: Your boat is also your home. Does that make it easier or harder to race it?

JG: Both! It’s easier in that every night and weekend, I’m on the boat and able to work on the maintenance and upkeep required to be competitive, where most boatowners may only spend one day a week on their boats. It’s harder in that I have to keep my material possessions to an absolute minimum and offload them every time I want to race. It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t allow for “stuff” to accumulate and requires sacrifice, but it works well for me.

SAIL: You’ve beaten many bigger, faster boats. What’s your secret?

JG: To be competitive in a small cruising boat, you first must take a very close look at your handicap and seek ways to improve your rating. I didn’t grow up sailing or racing, which means my competition will usually have me on experience, so I try to outdo them in preparation, training and aggressiveness on the racecourse. One must also have an absolute devotion to the sport and boat, and be willing and able to make material sacrifices in all other areas of your life. This keen focus is no different than the approach taken by professional teams and has allowed me to eke out wins against some serious competitors.

 Green back on shore after the OSTAR

Green back on shore after the OSTAR

SAIL: What modifications have you made to Jeroboam?

JG: The biggest change was replacing the mast, which I only just did last summer prior to OSTAR. The old in-mast furling rig worked fine for the Bermuda 1-2 races I did in 2009 and 2011, but I always considered the mast to be the weakest point of the boat that was worthy of investment prior to attempting a transatlantic race. I also added some deck tack points for staysails, a proper ram-style autopilot, watermaker and a laptop with the latest weather analysis and routing software.

SAIL: What mental strengths does a solo ocean racer need?

JG: Self-confidence and self-sufficiency are a state of mind. Things will always go wrong, and equipment will always break. When faced with a task I’ve never done or problem I’ve never before had to solve, the attitude must always be an unhesitating “I can figure this out.” Offshore repairs require a mental catalog of everything on board and the creativity to apply unusual hardware and techniques to the repair. A healthy respect for the sea and your own insignificance by comparison are required, but there the line must be drawn, as there’s no room for fear.

SAIL: What’s in your sailing future?

JG: Jeroboam and I have done about all we can do on my own dime, so to get to the next level I’m seeking corporate partners with whom I can work toward our goals: theirs is penetrating new markets through sports sponsorship opportunities, and mine is providing them market presence through event exposure. This is a difficult proposition for any American, as sports sponsorships in the world of sailing are few, but I’ve enlisted a solid team of pros to help, so hopes are high. 

Related

ntcktshtrstk

Cruising Southern New England Waters

One of the most wonderful childhood vacations I can remember was back in 1971 when my best friend invited me to his family’s summer home on Nantucket Island. For a 10-year-old kid, this was a thrilling trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact it was also my ...read more

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no chances  This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

ZK-Seaboot-900

Gear: Zhik’s Seaboot 900

A Better Sea Boot Following up on its successful ZK Seaboot 800, Zhik’s Seaboot 900 was created in partnership with team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team, the latter the overall winner of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Designed for serious, long-distance offshore racers and ...read more

01-LEAD-FP-Astrea-42-Gilles-martin-rajet---Navigation

Switching to Solar Offshore

No sensible bluewater sailor would consider setting off on a long cruise these days without some means of generating power other than by burning fossil fuels. The good news is that solar energy is becoming less expensive by the day, making it an obvious answer for providing the ...read more

190812-Tiwal-Video-600x

Video: Tiwal Cup 2019

Who says you need a superyacht to have fun? It would be hard to imagine having a better time on the water than these sailors recently did racing aboard a fleet of Tiwal inflatable sloops. ...read more