September 21 – Arrival to Spain

Sep 30, 2023

Press Release from arriving into Spain on Shipyard Brewing! Blog update to come soon.

Marco Nannini photo

A Coruña, Spain – The Open 50 racing sailboat Shipyard Brewing has arrived to A Coruña, Spain after a successful Trans-Atlantic delivery that began in Portland, Maine. Departing on Friday September 1, Ronnie Simpson and crew member Ed McCoy sailed east prior to calling on Chester, Nova Scotia to wait out weather from Hurricane Idalia. Once safe to set sail again, the two sailed through the remnants of the storm before reaching the open Atlantic Ocean and pointing their bow for Spain. With the timing of their arrival, Simpson and the Shipyard Brewing sailing team will now have close to five weeks to complete their final preparations before Simpson sets sail in the Global Solo Challenge – a solo around the world race without stopping – which he will begin on Saturday, October 28.

After more than 3,000 miles of sailing in highly variable conditions that saw Shipyard Brewing dodging multiple hurricanes and completing a very complex navigation, the team arrived into A Coruña, Spain with only minor boat-related problems that need addressing. In addition to fixing any issues that currently exist, one of the primary jobs of this time in Spain will be to rebrand the boat and the sails to reflect the new partnership between Shipyard Brewing and Ronnie Simpson Racing.

When Simpson sets sail on October 28, he and several other competitors who are scheduled to begin on the same day will be attempting to chase down a handful of sailors who are already on the course. A unique ‘pursuit style’ race in which the slowest boats start first and the fastest boats start last, each of the Global Solo Challenge starts will bring boats that have a theoretically higher speed potential. Using the IRC (International Rating Certificate) system of handicapping, one of the main goals of the Global Solo Challenge race is to offer a fair and equitable system that will allow many different types of boats to race together in one race. The race’s slowest boat, and therefore the first starter -Welshman Daffyd Hughes on the Sparkman and Stephens 34 Bendigedig – began on August 26 and has thus far sailed a masterful race. He is now across the equator and in the South Atlantic Ocean. When Simpson and his fellow competitors set off on October 28, they will have their work cut out for them to chase down Hughes and other competitors while still trying to hold off a few of the faster boats scheduled to start at a later date.

“Ed and I had a good delivery to Spain, and I’m really happy to be here ahead of the Global Solo Challenge race”, Ronnie Simpson commented. “It was a challenging delivery and a very good shake down for the boat. From a weather and navigation standpoint, it was very complex. We learned some things that we feel we can improve with the boat, and so we will take on a few projects while here in Spain, all of which are aimed at improving reliability with the boat. We also verified a lot of the work performed on the boat while in Maine, and tidied up a few things along the way. There is still a lot of work to be done before the start of the race, but I feel that we’re in a good spot and I’m very excited to complete our work list and finally begin this race. Because I had already completed my mandatory 2,000 mile qualifier for the race, I was not required to sail to Europe solo, and I am grateful to my friend and crew mate Ed McCoy for joining me on the delivery.”

“Watching Captain Ronnie and the Shipyard Brewing Open 50 set sail off the Portland Head light was a moment that will stick with me forever. Tracing the boat’s progress and Ronnie’s strategy for getting from Portland, Maine, USA to A Coruña, Spain was very exciting. It was cool to watch him and communicate and see his journey unfold. I’m looking forward to visiting A Coruña, Spain to be there for the start on October 28, and we at Shipyard Brewing are happy to be a part of it”, commented Fred Forsley, Founder and CEO of Shipyard Brewing Company.

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, Simpson will be representing the Hawaii Yacht Club, the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America. Simpson 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. Simpson’s Open 50 Shipyard Brewing was launched in 1994 as Newcastle, Australia and is a veteran of two solo round-the-world races. She has sailed around Cape Horn on three occasions, most recently in 2020.

Shipyard Brewing Company is a family owned and independent craft brewing company based in Portland, Maine that was also founded in 1994. It’s 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 Pumpkinhead’s beloved mascot, Pumpkinhead Pete, may even be sighted on this epic sailing adventure.

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