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Racing aboard Extreme 40 Nice for You

Some crazy fast sailing going on here

Race on Extreme 40
Sports & Adventure: Adrenaline

Fast! Fast! The creators of the Extreme 40 took the biggest, fastest sailing boat in the Olympics, then made it twice as big and even faster. I put on my life jacket and helmet, and away we flew.

Why were you inspired to do this?

After racing sailboats for two years, I hadn't realized how much I'd learned until My Life List's new magazine, Achiever, brought me a chance to hop aboard an Extreme 40 for the Boston sailing series over July 4th weekend. I was there to cover the event, so I was thrilled when they asked if I'd like to join a team for a race. Huge yes.

What were 3 things you did to make this happen?

Get out there! I had to plan the day to be out of the office, which overlooks Fan Pier, right where the races were taking place. Better to see them from sea level than from the 14th floor. Even better to participate.

Grab my sailing gear out of the car. I'd arrived in work clothes, just planning to attend the press conference and interview some of the racers. I couldn't have sailed in my dress and heels. Moral of the story: Always be prepared. It makes it easier to say yes when amazing opportunities arrive.

I had to brace myself for what I knew was going to be the ride of my life. It was a scary moment, once I committed to going out, because I'd seen how the boats handle, how close they come to each other in maneuvers, how often they capsize and how they heel in heavy wind, one hull right up out of the water. I had to believe I could keep myself safe enough to enjoy the experience, otherwise, what would be the point? I trusted the team, composed of two America's Cup racers and two Olympians. They had also raced on BMW Oracle, so I had to think, they probably knew what they were doing. They did.

How did you feel once you had accomplished this?

I felt like a world-class sailor! It was a huge adrenaline rush, from the time I stepped onto the launch. I jumped up from the little inflatable motor boat onto the canopy between the hulls and it gave way like a trampoline. As we approached the start, my mind went into race mode and I said to the crew, "You're not going to hold back because I'm aboard, right? Light it up!" And we did. The race was so fast, 15 minutes, and after the first tack, they let me move around, jumping to high side and hiking out with them, instead of making me stay still by the mast. I pushed it a bit when I sat up on the hull, not realizing I was supposed to stay on the tramp, I had to laugh at myself, acting like a pro. It got a little sporty when the wind caught our spinnaker and lifted one of the hulls right up out of the water, probably 10 feet. I looked down at the water rushing beneath us, splashing as we sliced through it and started to laugh, hanging on the hammock of high-tension ropes beneath me. I was totally caught in the moment. When we crossed the finish line, I asked the bowman, Simone de Mari of Italy (a four-time America's Cup pro), how fast we'd gone. He shrugged and said, "Meh, about 25 knots." I was ecstatic. It was probably the most exciting sports moment I've ever experienced. In what other pro sport could you participate as a novice with the greats? It was like playing basketball with Paul Pierce or hockey with Tim Thomas, just on an hour's notice. Amazing.

Additional notes and tips:

If the Extreme 40s come to your city, definitely go see the spectacle. They put on an unbelievable show, bringing the racing to spectators and making it as exciting as any sport you've seen live. There was quite a circus around, too, with the Red Bull Skydiving Team making a jump and landing on the tiniest patch of runway just on the edge of the water at Fan Pier. Great food, awesome band. Best work day ever! 

7/10/2011 9:32:41 PM

Andrea, thanks! I just added some race footage in the video if you want to really experience it! 

7/10/2011 7:50:54 PM

 Fantastic!  Way to write too - almost felt as if I was experiencing it with you!  Congrats.


7/10/2011 7:36:16 PM

Next stop, Cowes, UK, where the America's Cup originated. #exss2011 @exss Check it out if you're in the area!

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