First Week of Sea Trials

Aug 30, 2022

Portland, Maine – The newly formed Sparrow Sailing Team successfully conducted their first week of sea-trials for next year’s Global Solo Challenge race last week, just offshore of Portland, Maine. Based at the Maine Yacht Center, the Open 50 class racing yacht has just emerged from the shed after an extensive re-fit that sees the boat in top sailing condition. New skipper Ronnie Simpson was joined in Maine by the boat’s owner Whitall Stokes, sailing crew Sean Doyle and On-Board Reporter Daniel Bergey.

With light winds and afternoon thunderstorms on tap for the duration of the week, the team managed two successful days of sailing along with two days of initial rigging, maintenance and optimizations. Simpson will be traveling back to Maine next week to begin preparing the boat for the first offshore leg of this campaign, where the team will deliver the boat from Portland, Maine to Newport, Rhode Island.

These initial sea-trials were the first sailing engagement for this newly formed team which will see American solo sailor Ronnie Simpson race the Open 50 Sparrow in the inaugural edition of the Global Solo Challenge race; a solo, non-stop around the world race beginning and ending in A Coruña, Spain next year. Simpson, a combat-wounded Iraq war veteran will be sailing in the Global Solo Challenge in an effort to inspire veterans and other individuals to overcome their adversities in life and achieve their dreams. Through this campaign, he will also be raising funds and awareness for the veteran’s sailing non-profit US Patriot Sailing while conducting veteran’s sailing events and opening the boat up to the public at various campaign stops down the east coast, beginning in Newport.

“One of my biggest goals with this campaign is to be able to really connect with the public and expose a lot of people to this type of sailing that may not otherwise get that chance. Sailing is something that was so instrumental in my recovery, and being so fortunate to be in the driver’s seat for this campaign is the embodiment of the ethos that has guided my life since discovering sailing; that anything is possible. And that’s what I want to share with others. Perhaps some kid from a school group will be inspired by this campaign and end up sailing in the Vendée Globe or the Olympics themselves”, said Sparrow skipper Ronnie Simpson.

Current plans include sailing the boat to Newport, Rhode Island in mid-September, and then New York and on to Annapolis by mid-October. The team plans to campaign the Pineapple Cup in January and the Caribbean 600 in February before a solo delivery to Europe to make final preparations for the race which begins in September of 2023. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to the campaign over email or social media to arrange to visit the boat at an upcoming campaign stop and to arrange potential sailing opportunities.


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