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Island boat captures Pacific Cup

COURTESY PHOTO Prospector competing in Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo in 2016.
Prospector competing in Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo in 2016.

In mid-July, Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) members and Island residents Larry Landry and Paul McDowell, along with 18 other team members, won the Pacific Cup on their boat Prospector, an award-winning Mills 68.

The race from San Francisco to Hawaii took seven days, six hours, and 52 minutes to sail. “Not that we were counting,” Mr. McDowell said.

The conditions were “tricky … a lighter wind race than usual,” he added, but nothing the team wasn’t prepared to handle.

Mr. Landry spent “hundreds of hours” researching the course, the weather patterns, and the navigational specifics beforehand, he said.

“Most of the race was won and lost before we even left the dock,” Mr. McDowell said.

Mr. Landry and Mr. McDowell have been sailing all of their lives, but only started considering “bucket list” races in 2013, when a group of their SIYC friends formed the Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners and purchased the first Prospector, a Carroll Marine Farr 60, in hopes of sailing The Transatlantic Race in 2015.

Now “The Prospector Program” competes in races around the world and places 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in almost every event they enter.

In 2017, they won the Pineapple Cup, a race from Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica and they set the course record for the Marblehead to Halifax Race.

Unlike most 58-foot racing boats, where there’s one very wealthy owner and 10 to 15 hired professional sailors, the Prospector prides itself on a mixed crew of amateurs and top-level professionals.

“We’re like a family. As a result of longstanding teamwork, we know what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are, and everyone knows their positions on the boat,”Mr. McDowell said. “When you’re out 2,000 miles from land, you’ve got to rely on each other. There’s a real sense of camaraderie and partnership and accomplishment among the 18 people on that boat. At three in the morning they’ll be up there laughing and telling jokes,”

His partner added that “no matter what happens out there, you have to find a way to get the boat back to shore. It’s fantastic when you’re out on the ocean, particularly at night, racing along.”