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On Watch - Francis Racioppi

Francis Racioppi

Francis RacioppiProudly serving our country in the United States Army for 13 years, Captain Francis J Racioppi, Jr. was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and a Green Beret in the Army Special Forces. Fran deployed to Iraq three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, first as an Infantry Platoon Leader and twice as a mountaineering Special Forces Detachment Commander.

© SailAhead.org

He coordinated Special Operations to combat Al-Shahab throughout East Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, planned and coordinated the Special Forces response to Boko Haram in West Africa, and oversaw the operations of the Special Forces teams countering the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa and ISIS in North Africa. Another mission, however, as Race Director with SailAhead, might be Fran’s most important yet. 

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On Watch - Heather & Nate Atwater

Heather & Nate AtwaterAs the Flotilla Cruise Guides with Offshore Sailing School’s popular Colgate Sailing Adventures, Heather & Nate Atwater are enjoying a life that most sailors only dream about.

“I was four when I first sailed,” recalls Nate, who was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island. “That was on the English Channel, but I grew up sailing and racing out of Sakonnet Yacht Club. I learned the love of the ocean and its surrounding environment from my father.”

© OffshoreSailing.com
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On Watch - Michelle Carnevale

Michelle CarnevaleAs a Program Manager for 11th Hour Racing, a Newport, RI-based organization focused on sustainability in the sailing and maritime community, Michelle Carnevale is using a lifelong love of the ocean to help save it.

© 11thHourRacing.org

“I grew up in West Sand Lake, NY, a small town outside of Albany,” says Michelle, who lives in Raynham, MA. “Every summer, my parents would take us to Cape Cod. I looked forward to that one-week trip every year. Whether it was the six-hour whale watching trip or long walks on the tidal flats picking up Moon Snails, those memories forged my love of the ocean and all the fascinating species that live there. At Cornell University, when it came time to select a major, the advice ‘do what you love’ stuck with me and I knew I had to do something to protect the ocean so I chose to study Marine Ecology.”

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On Watch - Sam Jones

Sam Jones Norwalk Yacht Club“I like to refer to Sam Jones as our ‘volunteer force multiplier,’” says Ed Cesare, Commodore of Norwalk Yacht Club in Norwalk, CT. “Sam is only in his second season as our Sailing Director, and he’s already had a major impact on our Junior, Ideal 18 and PHRF racing programs. We are very fortunate to have Sam working with us, and our membership loves working with him.”

© Alex Von Kleydorff/Hearst Connecticut Media
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On Watch - Ben Cesare

Ben CesareAs of this issue, the helm at WindCheck is in the sure hands of Ben Cesare, an affable and accomplished sailor who acquired the magazine last month from co-founders Anne Hannan and Christopher Gill, who launched ‘The Magazine by and for Long Island Sound Sailors’ in 2002. “I grew up on Southfield Point, on the west side of Stamford Harbor in Connecticut, until I was eight,” says Ben, who resides in nearby Norwalk. “There was a tiny community beach where Dad kept the dinghy leaning against the seawall and a Rhodes 19 moored off the beach. That is when I started sailing, and though the memories are fuzzy, I do remember overnights on the Rhodes with the family. Later in childhood, my parents got a Menemsha 24, which seemed like superyacht in comparison.”

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On Watch - Abby Smith

Abby SmithWhen she started racing on her family’s Peterson 42 Settler at age 5, Abby Smith was known as the “GLC”(Good Luck Charm), and she hasn’t stopped fulfilling and building upon that role. “The first boat I went sailing on and drove – with someone else pretending not to have their hand on the wheel while I was ‘steering’ – was Settler,” says Abby.

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On Watch - Ray Redniss

Ray RednessIf you’ve raced in Western Long Island Sound or at Block Island Race Week in the past 15 years or so, you’ve heard Ray Redniss on the VHF. A lifelong Stamford, CT resident, he’s among the finest race officers on the water. A fortuitous incident that brought Ray to race management also inspired what may be the most lovingly crafted guitars in the world.

© Rick Bannerot
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On Watch - Bob Cullen

Bob CullenOne of the driving forces behind the revitalization of Force 5 Fleet 32 at Thames Yacht Club in New London, CT, Bob Cullen also produces beautiful sails for that venerable 14-foot singlehander.

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On Watch - Sam Greenfield

Sam GreenfieldAs the Onboard Reporter (OBR) with Dongfeng Race Team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Sam Greenfield made yacht racing history by becoming the first OBR to successfully fly a drone from a Volvo Ocean 65 at speed. Sam recently spent 18 months in Bermuda as part of ORACLE TEAM USA’s media crew for the 35th America’s Cup, and he’s currently preparing for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts next month in Alicante, Spain.

© Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race
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On Watch - Chris O’Brien

By Cliff Crowley

Chris O'BrienAs a teenage member of Black Rock Yacht Club in Bridgeport, CT, Chris O’Brien was a superb athlete and junior sailor with a natural and immense attraction to both salt and fresh water. Chris would become a sailing instructor, and an NCAA Division One swimmer at the College of Charleston. He would often join me as bowman on my Swan 44 Moondance for the Vineyard Race, or on John Esposito’s infamous J/29 Hustler.

 © Cliff Crowley

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July 2018 WindCheck

Click here to download WindCheck's July 2018 issue. (File is 7MB)