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Conversations within the sport of sailing - John Gladstone

It is often said how sailing is unique as a sport, where the opportunity is readiliy available to compete against the very best in the sport. Occassionally we get the chance to chat with them too.

John Gladstone
(April 29, 2009) The overall elapsed time winner for the 125.5 mile 62nd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race last Friday was H.L. Enloe's big trimaran, LoeReal, covering the course in 8:45:03 to log the race's second fastest time ever for a multihull, next to the late Steve Fossett's record of 6:46:40 on the Stars & Stripes catamaran in 1998.

The VPLP designed 60-foot LoeReal was originally built for the 1995 movie Waterworld, and was purchased afterwards by Enloe and fully refitted to racing trim. North American Sales Director for North Sails, John Gladstone, was part of the Ensenada crew and provided this report for Scuttlebutt:

  • You are a monohull sailor. What were you doing on a multihull for the Ensenada race?

  • You're are right I am for the most part a uni-hull sailor, but it seems over the years I've had the fortune to do some pretty cool multihull races with some great talent. I crewed with Steve Fossett on Stars and Stripes when we broke the Ensenada and Chi-Mac records in 1998 and on Lakota (similar design to LoeReal) on the San Diego-PV race in 1997 (I think) . Have to say if it wasn't for my association and friendships with Cam Lewis, Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin none of this would have ever happened. These are the REAL talents. My contribution is purely from the sail provision and organization side and perhaps at times a little comic relief. It's always a treat to change it up a bit sailing these wonderful machines.

  • What were the big lessons that you learned?

  • Not sure there were any big lessons involved. We had a few new sails in the LoeReal arsenal that, along with the conditions, made the decision making process pretty straight forward. I spent a few hours with Peter Isler the day before fairing the boats polars and getting up to speed with the latest version on Expedition. Might have been a little overkill for a 125 mile race, but in the end it gave us reasonable confidence we were doing the right things as the day progressed. Only sailing an addition 5 miles seems to bear that out. Not that it's any light bulb lesson, but Enloe really covered all the bases this time around. Having the likes of Cam Lewis and Tim McKegney driving the entire race can't help but increase your odds as well as great preparation on the part of Nat Iyengar, Jan Majer and Ed McCoy. It was gratifying to see Enloe's first to finish goal finally attained. He is stoked.

  • Sounded like the conditions were a dream? Can you describe what it was like?

  • LoeReal
    Actually, they were quite similar to 1998 with Fossett on Stars and Stripes. We started with our A0 in 9-10 knots and didn't see more than 13 the entire race. The wind did veer somewhat but not as much as expected. We pretty much hugged the coastline all the way to Pt. Loma sailing about 135 degree true wind angle until we reached the Coronados at about 5 pm. At his point we had some confidence the wind would hold, so instead of hedging offshore as was originally planned we popped this new A3 that pushed us down nicely to a layline close to Todos Santos. Other than the enjoyment of some great company, including Cam's new bride Gretchen, who by the way used new iPhone Motion-X tracking program to log the ride, this race was an e-ticket 15 knot cruise. Could have been a little sunnier, but no one's complaining too much.

  • Why are there not more multihulls participating in the classic SoCal distance races to Mexico?

  • This is a good question. I am not too tuned in to the multihull racing scene in SoCal so no good answer here. The Corsair fleets are probably still the most active and are a fairly diverse group. I know race organizers for PV and Cabo races have made efforts to attract multihulls. It's difficult to say why they don't participate as I can't think of boats more ideal to race down our coast.

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