Team Pear Shaped Racing Race to Alaska 2019

Team Pear Shaped Racing

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Team members: Guy Rittger, Tom Kassberg, Duncan Gladman
Hometowns: Sausalito, California, USA / Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Race vessel: Chris Cochrane 10.6m custom trimaran
LOA: 34′
Human propulsion: Pedal drive
R2AK cred: R2AK finishes (Team MOB 2016)
Connect: facebook, website, youtube

While we’re in no way referencing the dirty joke about the mood party, we were deep in Pear Shaped Racing’s application before we realized they were the complete package.

By sheer volume of numbers and abbreviations, Team Pear Shaped Racing’s resume read like a Dow Jones scroll reporting up to the minute updates on how high their sailing stock has risen: Z86, Swan 42, Schumacher 50, J/109, Archambault 40RC, J/70, Open 50, Farr 40, J/105, 505, Melges 24, Mini 6.50, Mini 4.5, Express 27, 360, ORMA 60, and the F-85SR that won the R2AK’s 2nd place streak knives in 2015. The boats, national championship bids and major campaigns—from the looks of the ticker their skill has been recession proof for decades, seriously blue chip stuff here. We’re not sure if it’s part of a retool for a buy and hold or a short sell pump and dump, but the 2019 Team Pear Shaped Racing squad augmented their Fortune 5,000 and attracted a human capital investment from the Swedish part of the EU—Kassberg is a sailor without (frequent) equal and brings Squarehead discipline to the finance side of the program. While he might say it different, from what we’ve seen he puts the F.O. in the CFO of this operation.

The rest of their resume reads like a touring schedule for a regionally significant Jimmy Buffet cover band and/or Beyonce’s tour in the alternate universe where she reps pleated khaki pants: Newport Race Week, Vineyard Race, Key West Race Week, Block Island Race Week, Rolex Big Boat Regattas at the venerable St. Francis Yacht Club. These guys have been sailing their telltales off in the sport’s major-ish races since Dennis Connor was likeable. Two countries, both coasts, for a long time…and then they saw the R2AK from the other side of the sailing world. We tossed our hair in 2015 and they couldn’t look away.

Guy and Duncan learned about the R2AK back when we hit Sailing Anarchy’s front page before R2AK’s inaugural run in 2015. It was love at first sight, at least for them: new race, new format, less rules, more racing. They called each other on the party line and committed to running at the R2AK open armed across a sunny field with the wild abandon and unbridled passion one might imagine for a torrid affair in the Amish or Mennonite communities: these guys looked longingly at the race and churned butter for two years before they consummated, or more accurately, let us know that they were interested and then went not quite half way with us. They were in for a minute, then out, then in, and then out because of cold feet and/or other body parts led to a hypothermic DNF in 2017. And yet, they persisted. The next two years they spent ordering equipment from overseas so they could do it proper.

Staring at their new equipment, nervous and excited in the same breath. Team Pear Shaped Racing searched the dark corners of the globe and found it: “There be Dragon.”

Designed and built by Tom Cochrane in 1997, the 26’ trimaran is so many kinds of fast: hydraulic canting mast, lifting foils, and potentially a flux capacitor. We’re told that it averaged over twenty knots on its post purchase trip from New Zealand. The fact that it was on the top deck of a container ship seems secondary to the point that it might have done it anyway given that it routinely hits 20+ around the buoys and often punches into the 30s. We’re not sure if it’s the blue pills kicking in, but looking at this boat makes us feel something again.

Monster crew, R2AK experience to spare, years of training, and the fastest boat to hit the starting line in years—Team Pear Shaped Racing has a better than average shot at being the first to past third base with R2AK 2019.

Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Pear Shaped Racing. If you make it to Ketchikan, we’ll tell you our safe word. (Hint: it’s ‘Bojangles’)