SAIL magazine and a panel of industry partners have selected the crew of the Tripp 38 Warrior as the winners of SAIL's Best Around the Buoys Contest at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week (CRW).
As winners, skipper Grant Dumas and his Florida-based crew will receive free entry at CRW 2012 along with housing and dockage; sailing gear from Gill North America; a copy of the Racing Rules of Sailing from US Sailing; and use of the brand-new Beneteau Oceanis 37 BeneRound, commissioned by OnDeck Sailing, complete with a new bottom paint from Pettit Paint, B&G hardware and new canvas from North Sails.
Dumas, who is a member of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, and crew won out over a field of around 50 teams from throughout North America and the Caribbean in recognition of their strong inshore PHRF results in 2011. These included a first-place finish in the St. Petersburg YC Fall Bay Race, first place at the 2011 Suncoast Race Week series, and second at the CYC Clearwater Challenge regatta.
Already in 2012, Warrior has scored a first at the Davis Island Yacht Club Egmont Key Regatta and the St. Petersburg NOOD, and Dumas said he and his crew are ready to compete up in South Carolina as well.
“The crew from Warrior is very excited to come to Charleston and put BeneRound through her paces,” Dumas said. “She’s a beautiful yacht, and we truly appreciate the opportunity.”
According to Dumas, this will be his first experience at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, and he’s looking forward to seeing what it’s like firsthand. “Charleston Race Week reminds me of the ’70s and ’80s. It seems like a great event, a throwback to the events of yesteryear with their big fleets and great shoreside parties,” he said.
Dumas is originally from the Upper Midwest and grew up sailing on western Lake Erie, where he did foredeck duty racing MORC with his father in events like the Bayweek Regatta at Put-in-Bay.
About 15 years ago, Dumas purchased a used Ranger 33 and “grabbed a bunch of guys from the office and taught them how to sail.” More recently Dumas bought Warrior to take his sailing up a level.
Dumas said the more complicated Tripp provided a steep learning curve, but over the years he and the rest of the crew have both improved their own skills and brought in some additional hands to build a winning team capable of handling a wide range of sailing conditions.
“My philosophy is that if everyone knows their positions well, there’s no need to yell onboard. Just make sure everyone understands the upcoming maneuver and give the cue when to start,” Dumas said. “I think that our strong points are teamwork and depth of experience. Those strengths tend to show themselves when the wind gets up into the mid-20s and 30s. We’ve been able to get around the course without much drama while some of our competitors are starting to wipe out and shred sails.”
Now in its second year, SAIL’s Best Around the Buoys program is a grass-roots initiative designed to reward sailors for their team’s performance in local PHRF competition by giving them a chance at a top-flight event like Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week.
The regatta takes place April 19-22, with around 275 boats expected to take part on three inshore and two offshore courses. For more on the event, visit www.charlestonraceweek.com.
SAIL magazine will also be posting a video blog of the event as it is happening, and providing full coverage of both Team Warrior and the entire regatta in its July issue.