Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mark Watson takes Genuine Risk to Bermuda

by Talbot Wilson

HAMILTON, BERMUDA June 7, 2010: After putting his signature on the sponsorship agreement, Mark Watson called his friend and North Sails advisor Ken Read and said, “Ken, I think I’ve gone and done something kooky.” Kenny replied, “Knowing you, I don’t think so, but tell me what you’ve done.”

Watson replied, “I’m going to sponsor and skipper Genuine Risk in the Bermuda Race.”
Read quipped back, “Now that’s kooky.”

Mark Watson is excited and anxious about this ride in the Newport Bermuda Race that starts June 18 in Newport Rhode Island. He has stepped up as the sponsor and skipper of the US Merchant Marine Academy cant-keel, offshore rocket, the Dubois 90 Genuine Risk.

No novice to offshore racing, Watson owns the Swan 42 Tiburon. He won the 2008 Swan 42 National Championship. Once again he is looking forward to racing with and against some of the best sailors in the world. It’s a genuine risk, just not the kind he is used to.

“This is really as close as we can get to a Corinthian campaign,” Watson said. “We are joining three racing teams, amateurs who have sailed with me before, a few pros who know the boat well to handle its complex systems and five Merchant Marine Academy cadets and one recent graduate who have also sailed her. This is my way of passing on the spirit of offshore yachting to the next generation.”

Newport Bermuda will be quite different for Watson. It has been one of his dreams to do the race. He has been invited, but unable to fit the time into his schedule as CEO of Argo Group, based in Bermuda.

“Fellow Royal Bermuda Yacht Club members had teased me about not doing the race.’ he remarked. “And after I sailed the Fastnet Race aboard the TP52 Lucky, I decided this was the year for Newport Bermuda.

Ben Nichols from Bermuda, who sails aboard Tiburon with Watson, will join him on the 90-footer. He commented on the adventure, his first Newport Bermuda Race. “I am very much looking forward to sailing aboard Genuine Risk with Mark, Nichols said. “Mark’s passion for sailing comes a close 3rd behind his family and his work as President and CEO of the Argo Group. “

“Despite my extensive sailing experience, this race aboard Genuine Risk will be my first ocean race, and what a boat to be doing it on!” Nichols said. “This radical boat was designed and built in 2004, but remains at the forefront of sailing technology today. The fleet assembling for the 2010 Newport Bermuda contains some of the World’s most talented sailors; a great friend of mine, Tim Powell is skipper of a race favorite Ran,” Nichols concluded, “so I hope we can beat them across the finish line even if it is not on corrected time!”

Jim Marshall will be the navigator. Marshall has a lengthy sailing CV and worked for North Sails from 1976 through 1984 and for Ockham Instruments from 1984 to 1995. He was part of the Young America team for the America’s Cup challenge in 2000. Since then, Jim has regained his amateur status and has been navigator and trimmer for some top amateur racing projects. He has sailed eighteen Newport Bermuda Races, four Fastnets, a Trans Pac, Admiral’s Cups and much more.

Andreas Josenhans joins the crew as a project manager and watch captain. He is busy in the last days before the race, putting the crew together and making sure the boat is measured, inspected, ready and provisioned for the race. Andreas. a world-class keelboat racer in the likes of Solings, Stars, and Etchells, is a North sailmaker by trade.

Ralfie Steitz, sailing director for the Merchant Marine Academy, will also be aboard with five cadets and one recent graduate. Steitz named some of the crewmembers, “Charlie Enright was a watch captain on Morning Light in the TransPac and brings valuable offshore experience to the team. Mitch White from Australia is a talented and experienced bowman. Peter Tans is the electronics expert who will keep the power on and the canting keel’s computer running.”

Ralfie comment on the speed potential for Genuine Risk. “During the recent delivery from Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore,” he said, “the shorthanded crew using delivery sails in a cruising mode guided Genuine Risk to over 650 miles in under two days. With the right wind that translates into a record run to Bermuda,”

Genuine Risk will have to out-smart and out-sail some big, tough competition in the Open Division. Alex Thomson’s 100 foot long Speedboat, first to finish in 2008, hopes to repeat this year in record time. Ken Read on the V70, Il Mostro [Puma], that was second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race, has the race record in sight as well. The Open Division record was set in 2004 by Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory with a time of 48 hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds.

See http://www.bermudarace.com/ for complete Newport Bermuda Race details.

For information about the Newport Bermuda Race® contact
John Rousmaniere: email Media@BermudaRace.com +1 646 573-2024

Talbot Wilson: email talbot@talbotwilson.com
Tel: +1 970-453-8823 Mob: +1 850 217-7138

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Tel +44(0)1243 555561 E.mail: ppl@mistral.co.uk. Web: www.pplmedia.com