Sunday, April 24, 2016

Keeping Families Sailing Together!

J/111 Spaceman Spiff (Charleston, SC)- A long-time J/24 Newport Fleet 50 sailor, Dan Dickison, provided some perspective on several teams that are participating in this year’s Charleston Race Week.  Here is his commentary:

“Not too long ago, sailing with family was the norm in this sport. On summer weekends, Dad or mom or both regularly dragged the youngsters out on the water in the family’s Flying Scot or Pearson Ensign or Santana 20. Eventually, the young ones took to the sport – and soon enough – they were taking over.

Witness Shannon Lockwood and her dad Bill, who are coming down to Charleston from New Jersey to sail in the J/80 Class. Shannon has been racing with her dad since she was in college, and the two of them have been campaigning their boat Shenanigans pretty consistently since 2008. (Longtime racers will recognize Bill’s name from his J/35 and Mumm 30 days on board Instigator. He’s been on the racing scene for roughly 40 years.)

Shannon, who grew up sailing, says that her mom and dad included all five Lockwood siblings on sailing vacations in the British Virgin Islands and local regattas around the New Jersey coast. As a racer, she cut her teeth in the junior program at Keyport Yacht Club racing Optis. After that, she went on to sail for collegiate powerhouse St. Mary’s College in Maryland. That’s about when the Lockwood’s bought their J/80.

J/80 Lockwood family sailing Charleston“At Charleston,” says, Shannon, “I’ll be doing the driving with dad doing the mainsail trim. We also sail with regular crewmembers Jeff Todd, who handles trimming and tactics and Koralina McKenna who does the mast and bow.” So, what’s it like sailing with dad right next to you all the time? “He’s cool,” Shannon says. “My dad basically got me into this sport, and it’s really fun to be sharing it with him now.”

But the Lockwoods won’t be the only family team on the water in Charleston. In fact, more than a dozen entries in the regatta qualify for that description.

In the J/70 Class alone there are at least three family teams, including Bodo and Nick Von der Wense on board the family’s well-traveled Turbo Duck. There’s also husband and wife Leif and Laura Sigmond (top photo) on board Norboy out of Chicago, and father and son Dan and Gannon Troutman out of Gloucester, Virginia. Gannon, who is just 13, was the youngest helmsmen on the water at CRW last year, and the Troutman’s finished an impressive fourth in the 79-boat fleet.

J/70 sailing CharlestonRob Ruhlman, steering, is joined by his daughter Maegan (far left) and his wife Abby (center) on board the family’s J/111 Spaceman Spiff (photo up top).

Perhaps the biggest family team at the event this year will be on board longtime one-design racer Rob Ruhlman’s J/111 Spaceman Spiff. Ruhlman, who sails out of Cleveland, Ohio, says he’ll have his son Ryan trimming the kites, his daughter Maegan trimming the headsails, and his wife Abby in the pit. And they’re very competitive.

The Ruhlmans tied for second at CRW last year, and finished second the last two years at Key West Race Week. None of that surprises Rob. He says the family works well together on board and has for several years. It’s one of his favorite things. Enough said.”