INTREPID WYOMING COUPLE ANTICIPATES DOUBLEHANDED ADVENTURE IN THE CHARLESTON BERMUDA RACE
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (April 28, 2011) - Among the sailors anxiously anticipating the May 21 start of the Charleston Bermuda Race are Dan Alonso and Kathy Reckling of Cheyenne, Wyoming. That's right, the cowboy state. Though setting out on a 777-mile race in the Atlantic Ocean may seem a little odd for a couple from out West, the duo regards this event as an exciting break from their work of remodeling their home, raising two children and the ongoing chores of managing a 70-acre spread.
Both Reckling and Alonso say they are excited for the upcoming adventure. Although Alonso has competed offshore in the past, this race to Bermuda will be the first open-ocean competition for the couple aboard their 49-foot Hallberg Rassy sloop, Halcyon.
According to Reckling, Alonso is "really the ocean sailor." She grew up sailing catamarans on the lakes of Minnesota, while he grew up sailing keelboats off the coast of New England. "Although Halcyon is an offshore, cruising yacht, we thought that participating in racing events would be a lot of fun and that the Charleston Bermuda Race would be a great way to get the boat back to Newport, R.I., for the summer." (From Bermuda to Newport is roughly 630 miles, which cuts at least a day's sailing off the route from Charleston.)
The couple has owned their boat for just over a year, yet they've already put more than 5,200 miles behind them while on board. And judging by the anecdotes they share, some of those miles were pretty harrowing.
On a voyage from Rhode Island to Florida last fall, Alonso and Reckling encountered winds in excess of 30 knots and waves capping at 20 feet. According to Alonso, "The winds didn't drop below 30 for three days, with gusts as high as 45 knots." He describes being broadsided by a breaking wave at one point, and relates other occasions when he and Reckling had to navigate Halcyon into Charleston Harbor at night without auxiliary power. Because of corrupt fuel in the boat's tanks, he explained, the engine wouldn't start. "It's been a wild first year," recalls Reckling. "Yeah," adds Alonso, "but the boat has really proven herself."
Recently, both Reckling and Alonso were accepted as members in the Ocean Cruising Club, which demands that each new member complete a voyage of 1,000 miles non-stop. "We're proud of that accomplishment," he says. "That's something we really had to focus on."
Now, the couple is focusing its energies on having Halcyon completely ready for the Charleston Bermuda Race. "We're scrambling to make sure that the boat is fully compliant with all of the race regulations," she says, "that means having all of the safety gear on board to pass inspection."
So, what are their expectations for the race? "I'm personally hoping to have a nice, relaxing, comfortable sail," she answers. "I think that Dan's hoping to win." And what will the folks back home in Wyoming say? "Everyone we tell seems a bit surprised, but at the same time very excited for us," offers Reckling. "Offshore sailing is really so different from our way of life in Wyoming. And living a sailing dream when you're from a landlocked state is always a shocker."
For additional information regarding the 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race, log on to www.charlestonbermudarace.com.
The 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race is presented by OnDeck Group U.S. in affiliation with the South Carolina Maritime Foundation and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. This race is part of an extensive maritime celebration in historic Charleston that includes the Antigua Charleston Race, the Velux 5 Oceans Race, and Charleston HarborFest. Nearly 100,000 people are expected to visit Charleston's waterfront Maritime Center the week before and during the start of the 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race. The arrival of the fleet in Bermuda will trigger a three-day celebration, with events sponsored by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the Bermuda Department of Tourism, Goslings Rum, Bacardi and OnDeck.
The official sponsors of the 2011 Charleston Bermuda Race include the Bermuda Department of Tourism, Bauer International, Goslings Rum, Chelsea Clock, and Garden & Gun Magazine.
OnDeck Sailing and OnDeck Ocean Racing are part of the OnDeck group of companies with bases worldwide: UK: Gosport Marina and Cowes, Isle of Wight. Portugal (Vilamoura); Antigua (Falmouth); USA (Charleston, South Carolina)
From its newly-established U.S. base in Charleston, OnDeck offers a comprehensive range of sailing services including adventure sailing and transatlantic crossings; racing in UK and Caribbean regattas; match racing and regattas organized for corporate and private groups; team building and leadership development and corporate entertaining as well as RYA registered sailing schools (US Sailing-registered at the Charleston office); charter; worldwide boat sales and boat management.