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Gearing up for the Oakcliff Doublehanded Offshore Race

by Oakcliff Sailing 2 Jul 08:52 PDT
Doublehanded Offshore Race © Francis George

Happy July! It's starting to feel like summer here on the Oakcliff campus now that there's been a steady stream of new trainees entering the Bubble.

This week we welcomed three newcomers, all of whom were quarantined upon arrival as they waited for test results (one trainee spent seven nights on the classic yacht Mischief waiting for delayed test results!)

These trainees will be part of the second annual Doublehanded Offshore Race in Melges 24s July 14-15. The event is a test for the doublehanded offshore event set to debut in the 2024 Olympics. Last year's race garnered significant media attention: check out NBC New York's coverage.

COVID-19 brought high school to a sudden end for this year's seniors, including Oakcliff former media and PR intern Julia Cutajar. We're proud of Julia for being honored in this week's issue of the Oyster Bay Guardian as Salutatorian of Oyster Bay High School, where she mentioned her time here at Oakcliff.

Miss last month's Safety at Sea? Never fear, Oakcliff is here! We are holding another socially distanced Safety at Sea seminar July 11. Get hands on experience staying safe while aboard offshore boats, from lighting flares to deploying a life raft. You can watch our Cocktail Breeze video featuring our last Safety at Sea here.

Although this summer may feel very different with COVID-19, we're still here for you to come sailing (responsibly, of course). Supporters can join Oakcliff for our afternoon sails Friday and Saturday from 12 to 5, with socially distanced coaching from our staff. This includes the Fourth of July if you and your quaranteam want to go for a holiday sail before 4pm. Just like always, you can sign up on our calendar.

Doublehanded Offshore Race returns

Mark your calendars for this year's Doublehanded Offshore Race on July 14-15. The race will be held in modified Melges 24s and continuously live streamed for 24+ hours, allowing spectators to watch every step of the way.

Last year's groundbreaking event demonstrated that doublehanded offshore sailing is doable for the 2024 Olympics - broadcasting and all to bring sailing to the masses.

With help from North Sails, Vesper Marine, and Melges Performance Boat Works, Oakcliff was able to modify their fleet of six Melges 24s for double-handed offshore sailing with live stream capabilities. Modifications included a relatively low-cost live streaming tower equipped with an android phone and hotspot; navigation lights; a Melges 20 spinnaker; and reefable mains.

Race Program Director Patrick Burks designed a special race course and Sailing Instructions that allows the Principal Race Officer (PRO) to lengthen or shorten the course to have the racers finish within an optimal broadcast window.

This year will be better than ever - we are continuing to build on what we learned and will bring you the best possible viewing and racing experience. We are also planning to host another Doublehanded Offshore event in August in conjunction with the ODP.

Watch NBC New York's coverage of last year's event.

Offshore saplings rolling in

This week, we welcome three new saplings into the Oakcliff Bubble: Taima Crean, Jack Bradley and Wesley Bright. Each Sapling went through our vigorous quarantine protocol, with both Jack and Taima quarantining on two new-to-us Oakcliff boats in the harbor until they were given test results back.

All three are part of the offshore program which is ramping up in preparation for the Doublehanded Offshore. Before the program officially begins, though, they've been trying something a little different, sailing 49ers and Nacra 17s - with a little help from High Performance Fleet captain Andres Guerra.

"I feel super lucky to have this opportunity especially during COVID-19," said Sapling Trainee Taima, who hails from Austin, Texas. "I'm excited to face the challenge of offshore sailing and further my sailing knowledge." Pictured above are Taima and Match 40 Fleet Captain Cat Chimney as they work on a Nacra 20 sail.

Acorn and Sapling programs this year are going to be on a rolling basis which means that you get to customize your program when you get here. Oakcliff is offering unique opportunities to get as many kids and adults sailing as possible. Contact Training Program Director Ethan Johnson at to find out how you can get involved this summer.

Grad doing great: Julia Cutajar

Oakcliff has had a number of local high school interns over the years (many of them with the last name Drabin.) Last year, we had the pleasure of having Oyster Bay High School's 2020 salutatorian, Julia Cutajar intern in the media department. Julia was mission critical to helping create the longest documentary Oakcliff has yet to produce: the 2019 Marblehead to Halifax offshore race.

"She was really pivotal to the production last summer," said Francis George, Oakcliff's former PR and Media manager (who's now moved on to development). "Julia really is a kid prodigy. She was organized, creative (often mutually exclusive skills) and tackled any technical challenge with surprising tact."

Julia came to Oakcliff's media department to improve her graphic design, photography and video skills, something that should come in handy as she pursues a career as an architect. She was accepted to her dream school, the University of Notre Dame, and begins in the fall. You can read her whole story in the Oyster Bay Guardian (watch for the Oakcliff shoutout!).

Socially distanced safety at sea (Round 2!)

Join Oakcliff July 11 for the country's only socially distanced Safety at Sea seminar. This two part course (one part online and one in person) will teach all the basics of sea safety, from how to put together a deck vest to how to deploy a life raft and everything in between.

In order to protect participants, the course will be strictly socially distant - classroom chairs will be 6 feet apart, no materials will be shared and everything will be thoroughly sanitized.

"I haven't heard of any of the hands-on Safety at Sea programs being held this summer because of COVID-19 besides the program here at Oakcliff," said course moderator Shelia McCurdy. "US Sailing has changed regulations to allow just the online course, but having physical practice is really what gets the information into your memory."

Watch our cocktail Breeze video about last month's socially distanced Safety at Sea seminar below. Email Program Director Ethan at to reserve your spot.

Get your performance party face cover

Like all great sailors, Oakcliff saw a problem and found a solution. How do you responsibly wear a face covering while striving for peak athletic performance? How do you enjoy an after race cocktail (well, virgin cocktails for this lot)? Solution: the Performance Party Face Cover!

These 100% American-made neck gaiters are the perfect summer item to keep you safe and cool while giving back to the local economy. Rock it on the boat or wear it during happy hour while you're sailing for UV protection and moisture-wicking. These patent-pending face covers are also antimicrobial.

It is available in a combo pack with a metal straw or individually. Buy yours today. They cost $23 individually but we're also offering a team discount: buy five or more and get $3 off each.

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