Young rookie Ryan Breymaier, the sole U.S. sailor in the Barcelona World Race, is giving seasoned sailors a run for their money as he weaves himself through the pack to a solid fourth with the intention of moving up to a podium finish. 'It was incredible when I first got to Barcelona to have these sailing legends in my presence,' said Breymaier. 'Now Boris and I are fighting our way up in the rankings and exceeding many expectations we had before the start.'
In his first-ever circumnavigation of the globe aboard Team Neutrogena (with German co-skipper Boris Herrmann), Breymaier has encountered 'many firsts,' including the crossing of the Equator, sailing in the Southern Ocean, and the rounding of two famous capes. 'It is incredible seeing life from such a different angle,' said Breymaier. 'Before this, the longest I had ever spent on a boat was 18 days, and we’re on day 61 with about 30 or so more to go.'
In a video conference while at sea, Breymaier spoke of his new experiences with the core group from the All-American Offshore Team (AAOT), a start-up extension of the non-profit U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation. AAOT is currently fund raising to campaign its 2011 Offshore Team, which will bring young sailors into ocean racing and lend expert advice on their endeavors. 'The creation of AAOT is a huge step forward in giving young U.S. sailors the chance to find out if it is the career for them,' said Breymaier. 'It is important to note that there are a range of skills that are essential to all offshore sailors, including intensive physical and mental preparation, good teambuilding skills, safety at sea knowledge, understanding the technical side of the boat you’re sailing, and, of course, sailing and navigational expertise.'
Breymaier’s next great feat, which is expected for Saturday, March 5 will be the rounding of Cape Horn, revered for its heavy winds, large waves and strong currents. 'It’s a landmark like any other but certainly more famous,' said Breymaier. 'There will be a cigar and some whiskey shared, but I’m pretty sure I will be avoiding the sailing tradition of piercing my ear when we round the Horn.'
His advice to young sailors aspiring to reach his level one day, 'Never be afraid to make your dreams a reality. I started off working as a rigger and learned the ropes through repairing boats and listening to experienced sailors around me,' said Ryan. 'Offshore sailing is a serious career path, and if you are willing to put in the grunt work and have the fire to succeed then you can make it happen.'