photo credit – Team Alvimedica
Though we’ve been gone a week and sailed over 2,000 miles since leaving Newport we continue to talk about it often. If emails to the boat from friends and family are any indication, it is clear that Newport misses this race as much as we already miss Newport. But today in America is Memorial Day, a day to remember and celebrate all those who have lost their lives serving our country, and I am reminded of a personal highlight during our short stopover in the USA.
On the Wednesday before leaving all of the OBRs were invited to participate in the MetLife Combat Wounded and Injured Veterans Regatta. We would each join a team of veterans for an afternoon of racing J/22s around the cans off Fort Adams. Without knowing too much I was sure of one thing: it would be an amazing opportunity to spend some time with a group of people that I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I also had a feeling that even under the banner of good fun it was going to be extremely competitive.
I was paired with Danny and Chris of the Marines. While we finished in the top three every time—leading an entire race before sailing to the wrong NO WAKE cone in the channel—results mattered and besting rivals from the Navy, Army, and Air Force was not to be taken lightly. I had a long chat with Chris that morning next to our Volvo Ocean 65, and while he had only just learned to sail three days earlier, his interest in this race, these boats, and the concept of sailing around the world was very real. Sailing to him represents teamwork, communication, and working under pressure, a lot of the same skills he used in combat. In contrast, Dan is a member of the US Paralympic Sailing Team and a likely candidate to represent the United States in Rio for the upcoming Paralympics.
As an OBR I take great pleasure in sharing this sport, particularly with anyone that hasn’t had much exposure to it. It’s what I love and it’s why I do what I do. And to spend a day racing, talking, and laughing with a group of our nations finest was something I will never forget. I lost my grandfather in 2012, a surgeon in the Navy who was stationed in Newport for many years before joining the Marines in the Middle East, during the trans-Atlantic leg of the last Volvo Ocean Race. He will always be my hero.
Happy Memorial Day from onboard Alvimedica. We’re proud and humbled to have sailed the American flag on our transom around the world and we give a huge thank you to everyone that has ever worked to protect its freedom.
– Amory Ross, OBR – Team Alvimedica