By Peter Cronin
Editor’s note: In 2016, the Newport Bermuda Race Organizing Committee initiated a new division for young sailors. To qualify for the Stephens Brothers Youth Division, 50% of a yacht’s crew must be between the ages of 14 and 23 (inclusive). An enticing prize donated by the Cruising Club of America’s New York Station and honoring legendary sailors Olin and Rod Stephens, the Stephens Brothers Youth Division Trophy is awarded to the yacht with the best performance in that division. Hailing from Southeastern Connecticut, the MudRatz Offshore Team claimed the Stephens Brothers Youth Division Trophy (and the Alfred E. Loomis Trophy as the winners of the 14-boat Class 5 of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division) in the 51st Newport Bermuda Race. To learn more, log onto MudRatz.org.
The idea of the MudRatz participating in the Newport Bermuda Race was conceived about a year ago. MudRatz founder Brandon Flack had seen us grow in the Melges 24s and was ready for us to take on the challenge of offshore racing. The only thing stopping us from doing these events was the availability of a boat. Brandon put the word out that we were actively looking for a boat that we could use for the Newport Bermuda Race, but as the cold, dark days of December 2017 rolled through there were no real prospects in sight.
Celebrating aboard Dreamcatcher in Hamilton Harbor are (front row, left to right) Taylor Walker, Peter Cronin, Steve Kylander, Megan Gimple, John Winder, OJ O’Connell (kneeling) and (back row, l - r) Lindsay Gimple, Annie Longo, Sarah Wilkinson, Morgan Buffum and Fritz Finkenauer. © Julia Cronin/OutrageousPhotography.netRead more
By Peter Cronin
In the weeks leading up to the Melges 24 Canadian National Championship, I did my research and it did not look promising. As a 17-year-old adrenaline-seeking sailor, I always looked forward to the windy days. The forecast for Lake Ontario during our regatta, hosted by National Yacht Club in Toronto September 21-25, 2017 was not exactly what a kid like me was looking for. With breezes forecasted at under 10 knots, it was time to test our hand at light wind sailing.
From left to right (and sporting the coolest pinnies in the regatta) are skipper Lily Flack, Cara Samson, Caelen Desmond, Lucy Rath and Braedon Hanson. (Not visible in this photo is author Peter Cronin.) © Julia Cronin/Outrageous Photography
I was going to be on a boat with a group of sailors with an average age of 15 ½, we were all itching to show the adults in the Melges 24 class what us kids could do. Despite the weather forecast, or perhaps because of it, that is exactly what we did. We even surprised ourselves in the process.Read more
With the surprise donation of a proven 48-footer, MudRatz, an organization based in Southeastern Connecticut with a mission to complement local youth sailing programs by enabling enthusiastic sailors to practice together as a team and travel to regattas around the country, is taking a leap into the world of offshore racing.
With the donation of this Swan 48, the MudRatz have set their sights on the Newport Bermuda Race and beyond. © Allen Clark/PhotoBoat.comRead more
MudRatz, a youth sailing team in Southeastern Connecticut founded “to complement the local sailing programs offered by the yacht clubs of the region by enabling enthusiastic sailors to practice in the spring and fall as well as travel as a team to regattas around the country,” is the lucky recipient of a donated Melges 24.
© 2015 JOY/USMCARead more
By Brandon Flack
Some kids from New England just could not wait three more years for the return of the Volvo Ocean Race. So, with inspiration from the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover in May [See “MudRatz Do the Volvo”, the idea of doublehanded dinghy racing beyond the dizzying buoys of the normal Club 420 scene was born.
By Megan Gimple
Editor’s note: The MudRatz ECSA Opti Race Team was created with the support of the Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association (ECSA) and the Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association to help enthusiastic Optimist sailors in eastern Connecticut develop and improve their sailing and racing skills. In May, the team traveled to Newport, RI for the stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. MudRatz Megan Gimple, Lily Flack, Kristen Healy and Stewart Gurnell fleet raced and team raced in the VOR Academy, met the race teams and toured their Volvo Ocean 65s, and went for a ride on a high performance Marstrom 32 catamaran.Read more