Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team finished 1st in class and 2nd overall in the RORC Transatlantic Race, sailing a Class 40 by Dan Flannigan, 23 (Rhode Island), Hobie Ponting, 23 and Chris Kennedy, 26 (Wisconsin) and Andrew “OD” O’Donnell, 27 (New York). The team crossed the finish line off Quarantine Point, Grenada at 23:15:41 UTC on Friday 12th December 2014, with an elapsed time of 12 days, 13 hours, 15 minutes and 41 seconds.
“That was epic, we have crossed an ocean the first time any of us have done it and it feels fantastic,” said Ponting. “The last 24 hours was the hardest of all. We had very little wind and it was frustrating having spent days charging along at 20 knots. We have all worked so well together and we have finished this race better friends than we started.” He added ‘we don’t know what day it is right now and a shower, some good food and a bed with sheets is top priority.”
Less than 2 months ago Oakcliff received a call that the Bodacious Racing Team in Chicago wanted to donate their Class 40 sailboat to Oakcliff. The detail that the boat was in Hamble, England was quickly remedied when the core of the Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team motivated to create and execute a plan that had them flying to the UK with coach, top short-handed sailor and Oakcliff graduate Jeffrey MacFarlane. In the UK they would take possession and deliver the boat to the Canary Islands off of the West coast of Africa to start the RORC Transatlantic Race.
It was a wild trip across the brutal Bay of Biscay but they made it to the start line. Coach Jeff left them here as they headed off to race from Lanzarote, Gran Canaria to Granada, which is surprisingly close to Venezuela – only 230 miles. After some much deserved R&R and a little spiced rum, they will hop back onboard and deliver the boat to Charleston, SC. It is arguable that they couldn’t possibly have sailed any more distance in transporting the boat from England to the US but what an opportunity. To put it in perspective: they will have sailed well over 7,000 miles – longer than any one leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and almost a third of the way around the world!
“This is just one of the exciting and life-changing opportunities that Oakcliff is providing to young hungry athletes who come to Oyster Bay to test themselves in the extreme world of Ocean Racing, the uber-competitive match racing world or to aim for the Olympics,” explained Executive Director Dawn Riley.
Oakcliff Sailing, Oyster Bay, New York is the only complete training and coaching center in the world. Oakcliff’s Sapling and Acorn programs create complete sailors who are capable of sailing in any position, fixing every aspect of a boat and managing a small marine business. Oakcliff trains sailors in match and fleet racing, inshore and offshore, fully crewed and short handed as well as providing access to historically significant classic yachts. Oakcliff is a non-profit organization open to all sailors of all ages and levels. Oakcliff has also been named an official US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider Training center with 8 each of the Olympic Classes: Nacra 17, 49er and 49er-fx.