I first sailed in 1979 on a donated Bob Perry designed 41-footer named HEATHER. That day changed my life! I’ll never forget the feeling and raw power of the wind, the salty spray and the exhilaration I experienced as the boat heeled over in the freshening breeze. I was hooked! HEATHER had been donated to and was part of the Explorer Scout program for youths. I decided then and there to join the Explorer Scouts and vowed to become a member of the racing team by the end of my first year. It actually took less then a year as I found myself, eight months later, sailing out of Victoria Harbor on my way to the Swiftsure Lightship as part of HEATHER’s crew in the 1980 Swiftsure International Yacht Race. The 1980 classic was destined to go down in the annals of Swiftsure history as the race that resulted in a bunch of “boy scouts” winning first place overall. Ah, beginner’s luck!
This early success in my sailing career fed my appetite, and I continued to sail every chance I got. I soon found that my employment as a hotel catering manager was getting in the way of my true passion, sailing. Therefore, in 1989 I switched paths to become a sailmaker. I worked at Shore Sails for six years followed by six years with North Sails. I was involved in just about every facet of the sail making business including repairs, new sail production, design, and sales. One of the best things that came out of my days as a sailmaker was meeting PJ, a co-worker at the sail loft, who soon became my wife. I cherish the time we spend together sailing, both racing and cruising. Along with our two sons Bryce and Austin, we take any opportunity we can to gunkhole the waters of Desolation Sound, the Gulf Island and the San Juans and beyond. But more on that later.
The 1980 Swiftsure race also launched my continuing focus on competitive sailing. In 1984 I sailed my first Victoria to Maui Race on the Baltic 42 HYPERTENSION. In 2014, I’ve competed in a total of nine Vic-Maui’s with some success, earning Navigators Awards in five of those races with a couple of first overall’s in the mix. The most fun I have had racing was when I had the good fortune to sail with my wife PJ aboard our very good friends 26-foot Thunderbird named REV. We raced as a crew for a decade and participated, winning two international regattas. I also hold a fleet championship in the local J-24 Class. But It’s not all about racing.
In 2009 my family and I took the plunge. In May of 2008 we purchased the Bob Perry designed 48-foot custom pilot house ketch CAPAZ. After sailing to Seattle from Hawaii in June and July of 2008, preparations began. On January 1, 2009 we moved aboard and put the house up for sale. With the return of my business partner Pete McGonagle from his two-year cruise, and current partner Ryan Helling at the helm of Swiftsure Yachts, we left on a 14-month, 12,000-mile journey that took us all the way to Tahiti and back. An account of our adventure can be found at www.svcapaz.blogspot.com. In addition to loving every minute being out there, I gained valuable experience along the way.
Given my experience cruising and offshore racing, I’ve had opportunities to participate in the broader sailing community doing talks at local yacht clubs and boat shows. In addition to that, in 2013 and 2014, I was privileged to help the Coho Ho Ho cruising rally by giving weather briefs for the fleet as they went down the coast. The Vic-Maui race organizers were also gracious enough to ask me to help with their pre-race seminars by covering the weather and routing portion of the seminar prior to the 2014 race. And I spoke on the topic of weather at the Safety at Sea seminar put on by the Sailing Foundation that year and since.
As one of the SWIFTSURE YACHTS founding partners I have a great Job. I love coming to work every day and am blessed with as good a team as anyone could hope for. My expertise combined with the complementary skills of the SWIFTSURE YACHTS team can and will help you find the yacht that best fits your sailing needs. My passion is boating, and I will share your enthusiasm as well.