Team Hornblower

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Team members: Dan Culpepper
Hometown: Stamford, CT, USA
Race vessel: Angus Rowcruiser Sail Modified
LOA: 19′
Human propulsion: Row
Connect: instagram


If you’ve read R2AK bios over the years, you’d probably assume that this write up would head right to the name; that we’d present you with a few column inches of writing about him blowing his own horn, or that we once threw our back out at summer camp trying to do the same thing. But we’re not going to do that. 

That would be sophomoric. We wouldn’t dare. 

While injury and disappointment sent us in a different direction, the lips of sole member of Team Hornblower have spent a career tickling french brass for money. That’s correct, he’s a professional french hornist. What does he play? If your french horn needs fall somewhere between Beethoven’s Horn Sonata and a foxhunt, Team Hornblower’s skills stand puckered and ready for whatever horning you need. Semper French Horn.

We sat across an opulently set dinner table from Team Hornblower, enjoying a bowl of Katz’s pastrami to talk about aquatic daybeds, wireless fart machines, and what Beyonce’ smells like.

What are the necessary components of a good adventure?

Everything working perfectly is not an adventure. Too much adventure, though, can be a disaster. Be prepared for shit to happen and have a plan. 

What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?

If you are sailing along and these thoughts enter your brain: “Should I reef? Should I pee? Should I avoid those rocks?” $*@#ing do all three in the proper order. Listen to the little voice. That’s experience talking.

What’s your claim to fame?

In my professional time as a horn player I’ve played and recorded with many artists from Sinatra, Billy Joel, Elton John and The Who to Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Take your pick. Broadway shows Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Phantom. Ballet, Philharmonic, Pops and chamber music to keep things legitimate. Blah blah. If that is too boring then I did place a wireless fart machine behind the keyboard player at Phantom. That I am especially proud of. It was beyond funny, I must say.

It’s drizzling, freezing cold, and you’ve missed the tide. The cabin is leaky and the stove won’t light. How do you keep the good vibes going?

Open the waterproof packed letters from my loving family for these times and feel less alone and sorry for myself as my eyes “sweat.” Then move on.

Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?

Driving across the country and sitting aboard my home-built boat at 5am in Port Townsend to start this adventure. The rest is gravy.

Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?

Colin Angus designed it and I bastardized it. Adding an arch and a single 2 reefed, 120 sq ft mainsail. Also added a larger cabin to allow for a jacuzzi, home theater, daybed and the last minute addition of an Olympic Peninsula-sized swimming pool. 


In his application, Dan claimed he’d be “a fine addition to the madness,” so expectations are high. He also promised to blow his own (french) horn at dramatically appropriate times during the race.