Shipyard Brewing Company and Ronnie Simpson Racing have come to an agreement that will see Shipyard Brewing Company become the title sponsor of the Open 50 racing sailboat Sparrow in the Global Solo Challenge sailing race. A single-handed, non-stop and around the world sailing race beginning and ending in A Coruña, Spain in the autumn of 2023, the Global Solo Challenge is one of the most difficult sporting challenges on earth. With Sparrow’s departure from Portland, Maine happening soon, the boat and it’s sails will be re-branded as Shipyard Brewing before the start of the race while in Spain.
Ronnie Simpson and his Open 50 Shipyard Brewing (formerly Sparrow) have spent the past two months in Portland, Maine at the renowned Maine Yacht Center to conduct an extensive re-fit and maintenance before sailing over to the starting line in Spain. Since sailing into Portland at the end of June after completing the mandatory 2,000 mile solo qualification sail, Shipyard Brewing has benefitted from new anti-fouling paint on the bottom of the boat, a new grey vinyl wrap on the hull, new standing rigging on the mast and a complete overhaul of the batteries and charging system, amongst a host of other upgrades.
Ronnie will sail to the starting line in Spain with long-time friend and crew mate Ed McCoy, and they hope to depart in a handful of days, weather permitting “The start of the race is coming up soon”, Simpson explained, “We only had two months, maximum, that we could spend in Maine and we got as much done as we could while we were here and could benefit from the great resources at Maine Yacht Center. To connect with a title sponsor while in Maine is incredible, and I’m both happy and grateful that I have the opportunity to represent a great Portland, Maine brand in a round the world sailing race. Shipyard Brewing also helped support Bruce Schwab as he went on to become the first American to ever complete the legendary Vendée Globe race, and so it’s an honor to help them continue a legacy of supporting solo offshore yacht racing in America. Fred Forsley and Shipyard Brewing share our dreams and our vision in utilizing this boat, this campaign and this race as a viable marketing tool that can not only promote a great Portland based brand but also help get myself and Shipyard Brewing (formerly Sparrow) to the starting line, and more importantly, the finish line. I’m super stoked on this agreement and I’m genuinely excited for the adventure that lies ahead, knowing that I have a great partner to share the journey with.”
“I was touched by Ronnie’s story and his experience of being wounded as a marine in Iraq, and coming back to find peace and healing through sailing while working with US Patriot Sailing.” Forsley explains. “Our family ran the Gray Manor Boarding Home for Veterans in Gray, Maine. We helped vets returning from World War II and always believed that giving people a purpose was so important to healing and rehabilitation.”
“A solo round the world sailing race is such a huge challenge and just the right type of adventure we cherish at Shipyard. While Shipyard was born in Maine we feel we are now traveling the world as a global brand. The connection to Ronnie’s journey and our experience with Bruce Schwab’s quest to finish the Vendée Globe, it just all lined up. You can feel Ronnie’s energy and passion for this project, and we’re excited to support him. We hope we can bring a lot of support onboard to help Ronnie hopefully win it, but first and foremost, try to finish and come home safely.”
Once in Spain, Ronnie Simpson and the Shipyard Brewing team will continue making final preparations for the Global Solo Challenge race. The Global Solo Challenge is a pursuit-style around the world sailing race which invites many different types of boats to compete in one race. The slowest and therefore first boat began on Saturday August 26, while each subsequent start will bring bigger and faster boats. Ronnie Simpson and Shipyard Brewing will begin their race around the world on October 28, 2023 in A Coruña, Spain in the company of eight other boats who will start on the same date. Simpson and Shipyard Brewing expect to take about 130 days to complete the 26,000 mile course which takes sailors down into the Southern Ocean and around the three great capes.
Ronnie Simpson is a combat-wounded and medically retired US Marine and Iraq war veteran who has sailed more than 140,000 miles at sea. He works professionally as a sailor, sailing media professional and charter boat Captain. While racing around the world, Ronnie will be representing the Hawaii Yacht Club, the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America. Ronnie and Shipyard Brewing will be sailing to raise money and awareness for US Patriot Sailing, a 501c3 Veterans’ sailing non-profit organization out of Annapolis, Maryland.
Ronnie’s Open 50 Shipyard Brewing was launched in 1994 as Newcastle, Australia and is a veteran of two solo round-the-world races and has sailed around Cape Horn on three occasions, most recently in 2020. Shipyard Brewing Company is a family- owned independent craft brewing company based in Portland, Maine that was also founded in 1994. Its original brewery was located in Kennebunk, Maine on the very site where some of Maine’s early tall ships were built and set sail across the globe. Today in New England, Shipyard may be best known for their Fall seasonal beer, Pumpkinhead, but globally, Shipyard’s American Pale Ale is now one of the best selling American craft brands in the UK. It’s been rumored that Pumkinhead’s beloved mascot, Pumpkinhead Pete, may even be sighted on this epic sailing adventure.
To follow Ronnie’s progress and to learn how to support this incredible endeavor, visit Shipyard.com.
For more information on this campaign, please contact Ronnie Simpson directly or visit the campaign website at ronniesimpsonracing.com.