Team members: Norris Comer, Scott Wallingford, Li Sung
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Corsair 970 Sport
Human propulsion: “Our secret human-powered device is being manufactured in the Corsair factory in Vietnam as we speak, an international effort on par with the International Space Station.”
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God we love this team—their crew, their boat, their “We’ll build the parachute on the way down” ethos—their whole program has a double or nothing, chips to the middle, death or glory, let it ride vibe that’s like watching a tight rope act, if the goal of a tight rope act was to sprint across the wire before it was all the way attached on the other side.
It started with their race announcement. It was the January issue of Northwest Yachting when we learned that Team Wright Yachts were in this year’s R2AK. They had a fast AF trimaran, a dedicated crew that included experienced sailors, a sales rep for the boat they were going to flog for the money, and the managing editor of that very publication in which we were reading the news. They were all in, stake in the ground, line in the sand, out loud in public; crowbars in hand they were coming for that money we nailed to the tree.
Best part: this was the first we had heard of them.
In a cocksure move evoked an emotion we can only describe as ‘cringe-love,’ Team Wright Yachts announced their entry into the R2AK and stopped short of claiming property rights on the finish line before we even gave them the green light for the starting line. They were all in before we dealt the hand. Such unquestionably questionable levels of imprudence made us love them as much as we didn’t. We started this race with a website, 9 months, and a hunch we could figure the rest out—who were we to judge?
It gets better: they also didn’t have a boat.
Yes, we agree. Much like officially being in the race, a boat is a central part of a successful R2AK campaign.
To be fair, they had a boat. But when we read about it in January, and then again in March, and then again in May, it was still in Viet Nam, under construction by the good folks at Corsair. Team Wright Yachts gets its name from the brokerage firm that reps Corsair trimarans in the PNW. They got together, got beer, got talking, then got the assembly line rolling on a new 970 Sport, Corsair’s newest 32 feet of bleeding edge upsell that has sailing speed freaks salivating worldwide at the promise of a Spring 2018 delivery and the chance to eek out another knot or two of the 970-S’s massive 44’ rig. Beyond the promise of fast, Corsair delivers. The 970-S completed its first oceanic crossing averaging 27 knots. That it was safely inside a container on deck of a freighter is beside the point. More to the point: it arrived on May 26th, unassembled and unsailed less than three weeks to race day. What could go wrong?
It gets better: They are selling the boat. As of now. (Listing here)
It literally just rolled off the assembly line, still has that new-tri smell, and their R2AK is going to be the shakedown cruise, third-party test drive, all rolled into one. We’ve heard they’re considering bringing their grandma along for a once-a-week helm stint so they can legitimately say it was driven by a little old lady and only on Sundays.
Other than the yet-to-be-implemented idea to name the boat the “S/V Make Offer,” and the customized orange and black graphic on their “For Sale” (foresail/for sale, get it?), this is a brilliant sales stunt that may be the hack to the R2AK we never considered.
- Get the newest, fastest boat around.
- Win the R2AK and $10,000 and hundreds of thousands of marketing eyeballs.
- Sell the boat for hefty profit.
- Retire early.
True, this strategy disregards the history of the R2AK’s broken masts, cracked hulls, shredded sails, driftwood that was ‘discovered’ in the night, vessels lost at sea—lacking charts or electronics, you can nearly navigate to Alaska by following the trail of R2AK carnage. No worries, worst case they could always sneak in a joyride north on the down low, patch up any damage, drive it in reverse to roll back the odometer before dad gets home, and no one would be the wiser… a strategy that included recruiting the managing editor for Northwest Yachting as crew who has already written three articles. They do subtle like we do.
Which brings us to the crew: the crew of Team Wright Yachts collectively has the chops to sail the boat they sell, write circles around the fleet while they sail the same, and somehow combine their Navy Diver/PHd in Marine Engineering experience, and the bizarre truth that two of the three crew members were cast during different seasons of Norway’s #1 reality TV show Alt for Norge (we couldn’t make this shit up if we tried.), for a team that is all in, full throttle trip to glory in whatever form they find.
Norwegian TV fame, huckster spirit, sailing chops to spare, fastest boat for sale on the west coast: welcome to the R2AK, Team Wright Yachts. We honestly don’t know what’s going to happen, but we are absolutely fascinated to find out what form your epic takes. There will be stories!