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Ryan Breymaier returns home for 40th Governor's Cup sailing event

Like that of many freshmen at St. Mary’s College in Southern Maryland, Ryan Breymaier’s dream of becoming a world-class sailor began at the mouth of the Potomac River, near where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

It is there that the kid from Damascus who came to play lacrosse transformed into a man who dreamed of traversing the world’s seas and breaking records.

But Breymaier, a 1997 graduate with a degree in economics, paused his whirlwind life — now based in northern France — to return to the school that gave him his career, helping the Offshore Team of St.Mary’s students race in this weekend’s 40th Governor’s Cup aboard the Yellow Jacket.

“I was just there to make sure everything goes well, to make sure we get down the bay safely and everybody has 10 fingers and 10 toes,” Breymaier said. “I wasn’t going to do very much. They sailed the boat and I just offered helpful suggestions and let them do their thing. It was really nice, actually.”

The Governor’s Cup is a shining tradition for the liberal arts school of 2,000 students.

The overnight race, which started near Annapolis on Friday and ended at St. Mary’s College on Saturday, is the oldest and longest overnight race on the Chesapeake Bay, according to the college. This year’s race included 129 boats from 11 classes. The St. Mary’s team finished first in the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet A0 class.

Breymaier, 38, has fond memories of the Governor’s Cup from when he was a student, especially the postrace on-campus party. But after he graduated, life took him in a different direction.

From 1999 to 2008, he worked on a variety of rebuilding and replacement sailing projects in the United States and the Mediterranean to learn the finer details of racing and cruising boats.

When he had free time, he would participate in whatever races he could, taking minor roles just to gain experience. By 2008, he relocated to France to pursue his career on the professional short-handed circuits in the top level of ocean racing.

In 2010, he and a partner completed the Barcelona World Race, a trip around the world, with no stops. His team finished fifth overall and second of those who did not make any stops. A year later, he finished sixth in the International Monohull Open Class Association World Championship — the best finish for an American ever.

And recently, aboard the VOR70 “Maserati,” he and eight other crew members smashed the New York-to-San Francisco sailing record by rounding Cape Horn and arriving in San Francisco on Feb. 16, 2013, just 47 days, 42 minutes, 29 seconds after their departure. The previous record was 57 days, 3 hours.

“I went sailing at St. Mary’s for the first time, and I loved it then and I still do now,” Breymaier said. “I just was really fortunate to discover something about life that I had no idea about to begin with.”

Amid Breymaier’s world endeavors, he is also building a family in France. His wife is five months’ pregnant, and he is planning to return home Monday.

But St. Mary’s officials caught wind that Breymaier was in the United States after he completed the Los Angeles-to-Hawaii Transpac race in late July and inquired through one of his college friends, Jake Weir, whether he would like to oversee operations on a student-led boat in the Governor’s Cup.

“I realize exactly how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity at St. Mary’s,” Breymaier said. “I had some really good mentors who were involved in the sailing program when I was there, so if I could be the same to somebody else, that’s great.”

“We didn’t tell the students that it was happening until right before the race, and they were excited to sail like this with him,” said Bill Ward, St. Mary’s director of sailing. “We let them know through an email” earlier in the week.

One of those students was the boat’s skipper, junior Jake Wolf (Calvert Hall). He couldn’t believe one of the school’s most distinguished alumni would be returning to help his boat compete.

“We were all absolutely thrilled,” Wolf said. “There’s just so many things that he taught us that I don’t know how we would have otherwise learned.”

Wolf likened his story about how he came to excel at St. Mary’s to how Breymaier became involved in sailing.

When Breymaier was a freshman, planning to be on the school’s lacrosse team that spring, he saw a flier on a soda machine in his dorm advertising a sailing club. Curious, he went one day and, well, the rest is history.

Wolf, though, grew up around boats; his grandfather owned a powerboat. But he had no intention of sailing at St. Mary’s — until he got on campus. Now he hopes to one day share the successes Breymaier had at St. Mary’s and beyond.

“I just liked the school and saw pictures of big sailboats at the college, so I was like, ‘Oh, hey, I could do that,’” Wolf said. “[Breymaier] came to St. Mary’s and learned how to sail, which is pretty close to what I did, and it’s pretty amazing that after four years, he got out there and did some pretty awesome stuff.

“That’s something I’d love to do myself, down the line.”

As Breymaier and Wolf’s crew sailed down the Chesapeake and into the Potomac late Friday night, Breymaier recalled his first days as a sailor at St. Mary’s.

And then he realized — though he doesn’t like to think he’s old — that he has made a living of his freshman endeavor.

Breymaier said being around students who share the passion he had about 20 years ago legitimizes his career, he says. He is doing what he loves, and it was made possible on the shores of St. Mary’s City.

“It’s cool for everybody: They learn something from me, and I get to go back to my roots,” Breymaier said. “I owe all my success to St. Mary’s College. I managed to get myself into an incredible lifestyle through what I did there. Not many people get to say that 20 years later, they’re doing what they love.”

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Boats ride a rising tide of popularity

If waterways near you seem to be teeming with new boats, it’s not your imagination. After years of anemic sales, powerboats are surging back, with a 10 percent increase in sales in 2012 and another 5 to 10 percent expected in 2013.

“In 2012, the boating industry bounced back from probably the longest downturn it has experienced in four or five decades,” says Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

A whopping 88 million adult Americans, 38 percent of the population, went boating last year, making up about a quarter of the $646 billion annual outdoor recreation industry, he says.

As the economic recovery helps to drive sales forward, certain types of boats, including pontoon boats, aluminum fishing boats and offshore fishing boats, are taking off. Buyers are also attracted by design innovations such as joystick steering systems (which make it easier to dock) and small cabins under the bow that can hold a toilet. Electronics such as GPS, stereo systems and fish-finders appeal to fishing- and pleasure-boat users alike.

Outboard Bound

Outboard engines continue to grow in popularity. Sales are driven by improved performance and the lower price tag when compared to boats with stern-drive engines, which are subject to new EPA restrictions that raise the cost by about $3,000.

“The new outboard engines are extremely quiet, very fuel-efficient (and have) low emissions,” Dammrich says.

Fuel efficiency was a top concern for Dennis Hoskins of Woodbridge, Va., who bought a new boat earlier this year. “I knew I wanted a 20- to 22-foot boat because that’s small enough to trailer pretty easily and also get a little better gas mileage,” says Hoskins.

He chose a 20-foot, center console Sea Hunt Triton 202 with a four-stroke Yamaha F115 engine. He opted to add a T-top for shade and to hook up additional trolling lines off planer boards along the side of the boat.

The boat gets 4 miles per gallon, which is better than the 1 to 2 miles per gallon of his previous boat. Hoskins likes being able to spend only $22 on gas for a day of fishing in the Cheseapeake Bay.

High-Tech Assists

For inland fishing tournaments, where speed is king, boats are getting ever-more powerful engines that accelerate up to 50 or 100 mph in just a few seconds.

“I’m getting smoked out of the water,” says Terry Town of Dryden, Mich., who uses a 19.5-foot Ranger Bass boat with a 10-year-old engine.

New boats also have redesigned storage with rod and tackle lockers, highly efficient live wells and the ability to stow everything for a streamlined ride at high speeds.

“The technology is probably more important today than anything,” adds Town, who competes in about 20 tournaments a year. New GPS systems let you lay down a track to a good fishing spot and rerun that exact track on a second visit. Fish-finders provide side imaging and down imaging so you can see fallen logs or wrecks under the water where fish like to gather.

Hoskins cut the cost of installing electronics to $4,000 by buying the equipment—a structure scanner, motor adapter, stereo and marine radio with a one-touch distress button that will send his coordinates to the Coast Guard—online and installing it all himself. And he loves his new 9-inch touch screen for displaying data.

IN THE MARKET FOR A NEW BOAT? CONSIDER …

Fuel efficiency. Buy an engine that is small and efficient and meets your needs. The more power you enjoy, the bigger the gas bill.

Expected use. Are you planning to fish tournaments on inland lakes or take a boat onto the ocean? Do you want the flexibility to bring the family along for a day of water skiing and fun in the sun? These choices will affect your design selection.

Electronics. You can pick and choose your electronics, from GPS to fish-finder to motor adaptor, but they will cost you. Investigate interoperability if you are considering buying systems from different manufacturers.

Storage and design. Do you have all the storage you need for fish, rods, gear, food and drinks? Will you want a shady spot for children to nap? Will you need a higher hull for ocean boating?

For more information, visit discoverboating.com.

This article is excerpted from USA TODAY Hunt Fish. This special edition magazine contains articles on outdoors destinations, expert advice and more. Buy it wherever magazines are sold or at huntfish.usatoday.com.


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Tragic sailing accident forces skipper Iain Percy to dig deeper

SAN FRANCISCO — Artemis Racing skipper Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson were friends since they were 10.

They won gold and silver medals sailing together in two Olympics. They were so close, Percy served as best man in Simpson’s wedding.

And after their America’s Cup boat capsized and Simpson drowned under the broken wreckage, Percy held his best friend’s body as emergency crews tried to revive him.

At Simpson’s funeral in England, Percy helped carry the coffin.

Now, nearly three months after the capsize crippled the team emotionally and nearly doomed its campaign, Percy and the rest of the Swedish team have mustered the courage and fortitude to join the America’s Cup as true competitors

On Tuesday, wind permitting, they will race for the first time in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, facing Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge on San Francisco Bay. Whichever team loses the best-of-seven series will be eliminated and never face defender Oracle Team USA, which will likely battle Emirates Team New Zealand when the America’s Cup finals begin Sept. 7.

Artemis sailors will wear ribbons with Simpson’s name on their sleeves and black metal beacons zipped into their sailing uniforms, newly invented devices that might have saved Simpson, who was hidden for 10 minutes beneath the boat’s floating wreckage.

The team will be cautious, Percy said, and might refuse to race in winds higher than 18 knots (about 20 mph), which is about average for the bay at this time of year and roughly the same as were blowing when the boat capsized May 9.

“We’re going to be out there to do the absolute best we can,” Percy said, but “we’ll never go to the point that we’ll take unnecessary risk.”

The Artemis sailors, Percy said, “more than any of the teams here have a big awareness of the inherent dangers of these boats.”

Even before the capsize, members of the Artemis team had criticized the hi-tech catamarans required for all competitors as “overpowered,” with their 130-foot “fixed wing” sails making the twin-hulled boats extremely fast but hard to handle.

After the capsize, America’s Cup officials imposed new safety rules on all the competitors, including requiring stronger crash helmets and carrying crew locator devices that project beams of orange light.

Artemis engineers redesigned their second boat, which was already under construction, to make sure it was stronger and safer, that if it did capsize, it wouldn’t break apart as the first one did. But it took a long time. The team missed the round-robin portion of the challenger series. The boat didn’t launch until July 22. Because only three teams are competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, race officials are allowing Artemis to proceed directly to the semifinals.

Still, as hard as they will try, Percy doesn’t believe his team has much chance of beating Luna Rossa. By race day Tuesday, Artemis will have practiced in its new boat only eight days. Luna Rossa has trained more than 80.

Compared to the other teams, Artemis is “wobbly” on the water, Percy and helmsman Nathan Outteridge acknowledged Friday. And the boat is so fast, they find it difficult to keep it sailing within the strict boundaries of the race course.

“We are at the steepest part of our learning curve,” Percy said. “Truth is, we’re a long way behind these other three teams.”

Surely, though, they have come a long way.

There was a time, early on, when Percy wasn’t sure he wanted to continue at all.

It took coming back from a mournful week in England with Simpson’s family, including Simpson’s wife and two young sons, for him to realize that “we had our own family with Artemis Racing. I realized how important it was to stay together as a sailing team and complete what we had started.”

He was the skipper after all, the leader of the team. He would rather be eliminated while competing this month, he said, than have ended the campaign with the tragedy in May.

But after losing his best friend, it hasn’t been easy for him to find his competitive spirit, much less focus without thinking of his best buddy, whom he considered a “huge personality, a huge talent.” As he told the British media earlier this month, “My problem is I’m finding it hard to enjoy myself and when I do I feel bad about it because of Bart. But then I imagine what his reaction would be. ‘Just get on with it,’ he’d bark, with a smile. And although it’s still painful, that’s exactly what I have to do.”

The day the team sailed the new boat for the first time was the most difficult.

“To not go on the water with Andrew for the first time in about seven years was something very, very difficult,” Percy said in an interview Friday. “It upset me a lot. The guys knew that.”

Still, he stood on the moorings at the team base in Alameda as the crew prepared to set sail and told them about how much his best friend would have loved this day. He told them he was proud of each of them, of how far they had come.

Then they all got on the boat and performed a tricky maneuver — sailing the boat on its new hydrofoils. As the wind picked up, the twin hulls lifted and the sailors sped above the water. To spectators on water and on shore, they looked like they were flying.

Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409.


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Denison Yacht Sales announces new location in the Great Lakes

Denison Yacht Sales
August 1, 2013
Filed under Uncategorized

HOLLAND, Mich. – (August 1, 2013) – Denison Yacht Sales, one of the yachting industry’s fastest growing firms, is proud to announce the opening of a new Great Lakes office in Holland, Michigan.

The new office is located at Eldean Shipyard, a full service shipyard, on the South Shore of Lake Macatawa, just 85 nautical miles from Chicago. Denison is happy to be returning to their roots in Michigan, establishing themselves at Eldean Shipyard.

Lake Michigan, along with Lake Macataw, is an ideal location for boating families and Denison is thrilled to offer their full-service brokerage and new boat sales and service to the region. Denison will be exclusively representing Monte Carlo Yachts, Austin Parker, Contender Fishing Boats, and Pirelli Yacht Tenders in the Great Lakes area. Currently Denison is stocking three brand new boats at its Holland office. Denison will also be offering brokerage assistance and yacht marketing solutions.

The Denison family has been rooted in Michigan’s yachting industry for more 50 years. Frank and Gertrude Denison, founders of Broward Marine, expanded their operation from South Florida in 1978, opening a new construction facility to build their aluminum yachts in Saugatuck, Michigan. The Denison family opened their first shipyard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1948.

“I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Michigan as a kid. It’s an easy place to fall in love with, and a part of our country loaded with yachting tradition,” said Bob Denison. “Not only were Browards built in Western Michigan, but the Tiara and Chris Craft factories also provided local families with thousands of jobs in the area.

Denison has appointed two new brokers to operate the new location. Fred Schmitt and Jeff Phillips, both whom are well-versed in all aspects of the yachting industry are intimate with the local boating traditions of Michigan.

For more information about the new location visit www.DenisonYachtSales.com or call Bob Denison at 954.763.3971.

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Setting sail

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

A crew readies their boat Tuesday evening while waiting for winds to pick up before a North Flathead Yacht Club sailing race. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

Boats line up into starting position Tuesday evening before a Del’s Tuesday Night Series sailing race put on by the North Flathead Yacht Club in Somers. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

Pete Young ducks under the mainsail boom as the boat jibes Tuesday evening during a North Flathead Yacht Club sailing race. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

Thistle class sail boats race side by side Tuesday evening during a North Flathead Yacht Club Del’s Tuesday night series sailing race. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

Competitors take down their sails Tuesday evening after the race. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

North Flathead Yacht Club Sailing

Sails catch wind under a blue sky Tuesday evening during a North Flathead Yacht Club sailing race. July 30, 2013 in Somers, Montana. (Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake)




Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013 10:00 pm


Setting sail

Photos by Patrick Cote

Daily Inter Lake

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North Flathead Yacht Club hosts weekly races.

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Breymaier returns home for 40th Governor's Cup sailing event

Like many freshmen at St. Mary’s College in southern Maryland, Ryan Breymaier’s dream of becoming a world-class sailor began at the mouth of the Potomac River, near its merging point with the Chesapeake Bay.

It is there that the kid from Damascus who came to play lacrosse transformed into a man who dreamed of traversing the world’s seas and breaking records.

But for one weekend, Breymaier, a 1997 graduate with a degree in economics, paused his whirlwind life — now based in northern France — to return to the school that gave him his career; helping the Offshore Team of St. Mary’s students race in this weekend’s 40th Governor’s Cup.

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“I was just there to make sure everything goes well, to make sure we get down the bay safely and everybody has 10 fingers and 10 toes,” Breymaier said. “I wasn’t going to do very much. They sailed the boat and I just offered helpful suggestions and let them do their thing. It was really nice, actually.”

The Governor’s Cup is a shining tradition for the small liberal arts school of 2,000 students.

An overnight race that starts near Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay on Friday and ended at St. Mary’s College on Saturday, the college prides the race as “the oldest and longest overnight race on the Chesapeake Bay.” This year’s festivities included 129 boats from 11 classes.

Breymaier, 38, has fond memories of the Governor’s Cup from when he was a student, too, especially the post-race, on-campus party. But after he graduated, life took him in a different direction.

From 1999 to 2008, he worked on a variety of rebuilding and replacement sailing projects in both the United States and the Mediterranean to learn the ins-and-outs of both racing and cruising boats.

When he had free time, he would take part in whatever races he could, taking minor roles just to gain experience. By 2008, he relocated to France to pursue his career on the professional short-handed circuits in the top level of ocean racing.

In 2010, he and a partner completed the Barcelona World Race, a trip around the world, with no stops. His team finished fifth overall and second of those who did not make any stops. A year later, he finished sixth in the International Monohull Open Class Association World Championship — the highest-ranking American ever.

And recently, aboard the VOR70 “Maserati,” he and eight other crewmembers smashed the New York to San Francisco sailing record by rounding Cape Horn and arriving in San Francisco on Feb. 16, 2013, just 47 days, 42 minutes and 29 seconds after its departure. The previous record was 57 days and 3 hours.

“I went sailing at St. Mary’s for the first time, and I loved it then, and I still do now,” Breymaier said. “I just was really fortunate to discover something about life that I had no idea about to begin with.”

Amid Breymaier’s world endeavors, he is also building a family in France. His wife is five months pregnant, and he is planning on returning home Monday.

But St. Mary’s officials caught wind that Breymaier was in the United States after he completed the Los Angeles to Hawaii transpacific race in late July and asked through one of his college friends, Jake Weir, if he would like to oversee operations on a student-led boat for the Governor’s Cup.

“I realize exactly how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity at St. Mary’s,” Breymaier said. “I had some really good mentors who were involved in the sailing program when I was there, so if I could be the same to somebody else, that’s great.”

“We didn’t tell the students that it was happening until right before the race, and they were excited to sail like this with him,” added Bill Ward, St. Mary’s director of sailing. “We let them know through an email earlier this week.”

One of those students notified was the ship’s captain, junior Jake Wolf (Calvert Hall). He couldn’t believe one of the school’s most distinguished alumni would be returning to help his ship compete.

“We were all absolutely thrilled,” Wolf said. “There’s just so many things that he taught us that I don’t know how we would have otherwise learned.”

And then, Wolf likened his story on how he came to excel at St. Mary’s to how Breymaier became involved in sailing.

When Breymaier was a freshman, planning to be on the school’s lacrosse team that spring, he saw a flier on a soda machine in his dorm advertising a sailing club. Curious, he went one day and, well, the rest is history.

For Wolf, though, he grew up around boats as his grandfather owned a powerboat. But he also did not have intentions of sailing at St. Mary’s — until he got on campus. Now, he hopes he could one day share the successes Breymaier had at St. Mary’s and beyond.

“I just liked the school and saw pictures of big sailboats at the college, so I was like ‘Oh, hey, I could do that,’ ” Wolf said. “[Ryan] came to St. Mary’s and learned how to sail, which is pretty close to what I did, and it’s pretty amazing that after four years, he got out there and did some pretty awesome stuff.

“That’s something I’d love to do myself, down the line.”

As Breymaier and Wolf’s crew sailed down the Chesapeake and into the Potomac late Friday night, Breymaier couldn’t help but have flashbacks to his first days as a sailor at St. Mary’s.

And then he realized — though he doesn’t like to think he’s old — that he has made a living of his freshman endeavor.

Being around students who share the same passion he had about 20 years ago only legitimizes his career, he says: He is doing what he loves, and it was all made possible on the shores of St. Mary’s City.

“It’s cool for everybody: They learn something from me, and I get to go back to my roots,” Breymaier said. “I owe all my success to St. Mary’s College. I managed to get myself into an incredible lifestyle through what I did there. Not many people get to say that 20 years later, they’re doing what they love.”

jlittman@baltsun.com

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